The Creation of the “Breadfruit Leaf.”
• public art collection, Napili Kai Beach Resort, Maui, HI, USA
In 2006, Michael Binkley was commissioned to carve a sculpture to honour the memory of the founders of the Napili Kai Beach Resort on the island of Maui, HI, USA. His patron, Elizabeth Warren is the daughter of the late founders, Jack and Margaret Millar and Elizabeth has been a collector of Binkley’s work since his very first exhibition. He am truly grateful for her support and dedication over the years.
After many suggestions for subject matter for the sculpture, Binkley and Warren agreed upon the image of the breadfruit leaf, but done in a fashion so that a person could sit in the leaf, like a chair. Pictured is the concept sketch for the sculpture. Binkley hand selected the white marble while in Italy, while he and his wife, Michelle were living and working in Pietrasanta for the month of April 2006. The Breadfruit Leaf is carved from marble that comes from a quarry in the mountains above the famous town of Carrara, Italy. Binkley had the block shipped to his studio in North Vancouver and when he finished carving it, he shipped it on to Hawaii. It is amazing that a piece of the Apennine Mountains was taken out of Italy and went halfway around the world to land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, via Canada!
Binkley began work from a 3 foot cubed block of marble. Using the distance between opposite corners to maximize the length of the leaf, he first removed the two remaining opposing corners. Here, the sculptor uses a water cooled diamond bladed angle grinder to fret the marble. Then he removed the mass from the top of the leaf at an angle and began to hollow the interior. Then tipping the piece back and forth, her rounded the bottom and sides of the sculpture.
Binkley then switched to diamond cup wheel angle grinders to smooth and shape the surfaces of the sculpture. He used pneumatic hammer and chisel and pneumatic rotary die grinders to carve the details of the breadfruit leaf pattern. Using cloth wheels and tin oxide, he polished the leaf surface to a high gleam.
After completing the creation of the sculpture in his North Vancouver studio, he had the piece crated and trucked to the Vancouver shipping docks. The “Breadfruit Leaf” traveled across the Pacific and was delivered to the loading dock at the Resort. From there, workers laboured one morning with only a pallet jack to get the sculpture across the Resort property and up a hill to the grassy knoll where it was to reside. The Binkley’s had plans to visit Hana on installation day, so they do not have photos of it being craned onto its pedestal.
The Binkley’s returned two days later to find the sculpture in situs (bottom right).