Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gilper Fish

These plasma cut and welded steel sculptures are my latest in the “Gilper Fish” series. Marieke inspired me to make more of them. She has one of my favorite “Gilper Fish Biggies” displayed on the outside of her home. When I was up at her house a couple weeks ago, I was flattered to see the big ‘ol fish being display so prominently. She calls them “Ugly Fish,” but only in the most admiring way. I think I’ve mentioned my fascination of the Coelacanth Fish and you know how much I LOVE our “Big Gulp Fossil Yunomi” by Bruce Gholson, they both remind me of my “Gilper Fish.”  Probably the best thing about the making of my Fish is the majority of the steel used to embellish the sculptures are pieces I 

cut from my huge scrap pile. Every artist that comes over WANTS my scrap pile, it’s really cool looking and is always evolving and shape shifting. For the new sculptures I wanted to make some new tags using scratchboard illustrated fish. On one side would have my usual artist info, the Gilper Fish name with the illustration and on the other side the story of the “Gilper Fish….” Of course the story on the tag will be edited for space and clarity :o)

This is a true story. When I was in second grade there was a boy named Brady who antagonized me to no end. He would taunt me, making fun of how tall and skinny I was, calling me a name over and over, every day.

At recess he would come running up to me saying (spraying) “Hey Gilper Fish! You look like a Gilper Fish!” he would laugh and point his chubby little finger in my face, spin on his small leather heeled shoes and run off. His British accent enunciated the word “Gilper Fish” until it was seared into my brain. One afternoon while waiting in line for recess, Brady was in front of me, looking more flushed than usual, and grinned at me. Out from his khaki trouser pocket he pulled a ring. A huge, antique looking, platinum, rectangle cut emerald ring (something from his

mother's jewelry box kind of ring...) with diamonds on each side. Even at eight, I knew bling when I saw it! His pudgy hand quickly presented the ring to me. He said “this is for you my Gilper Fish!” I was so shocked at the beauty of the ring and his sweet face, I took the ring to get a closer look and when I did the teacher shouted “all quiet and what are you two doing?!” panicked, I popped the ring into my mouth and before I knew it I had accidentally swallowed it! At only eight years old, I was too embarrassed to tell my parents what had happened, let alone the teacher, and not knowing the intricacies of the digestion system, to say the least the ring was never to be seen again. And that’s the story of the “Gilper Fish.”


This picture of my Sandhill Crane sculpture and the moose are especially for Peter in New Zealand! A good client sent us the photos after the pair of Moose and Magpies seem to enjoy the company of my large

steel sculpture. The clients have a beautiful home situated on a bluff overlooking Cook Inlet, perfect for viewing an abundance of wildlife, steel or real!


Anji Gallanos said...

I love your story. I am just imagining his mother, sister or who ever it was that discovered one of their rings went missing. Never to know it's fate. What a perfect story.

Orion Designs said...

What a great story Cindy! Thanks for sharing.

cookingwithgas said...

My morning laugh- youth!
It is funny that you would bring full circle those fish!
I love them.
And what a treat that real animals would come and keep your crane company.

ang said...

that is one crazy story...!, love the gilper fish sculptures....

cindy shake said...

hi all-thanks for reading. I think of Brady's mom often as my own kids were growing up, I did check my jewelry box often!

Peter said...

Those are lovely fish, and a great story (although being taunted at school would not have been fun for you at the time!). Now, when I look at the Gilper Fish with their bubble-like washers, I can think of water, bubbles, and swallowed rings!

Thanks so much for including the photo of the Moose and the Sandhill Crane sculpture, it was nice of you to think of it, and delightful to see the Crane with company. Actually, the Crane looks to be defending its territory.. is there a Sandhill Crane egg hidden in the long grass?!

José said...


Your works are great and they transmit talent, good taste and preserverance.

Best regards,


Patricia Griffin said...

OMG, what a great story! But, I gotta know... What actually happened with the ring? (Though my hubster tells me I'm rude to even ask...)

The fish sculptures are incredible.