Prince Edward Island designer Jody Racicot likes to redefine high design with his playful, intriguing creations. His piece 6 Foot Ladder is a sentimental favourite that marked his turning point as an artist.
“I was inspired to take more risk in my work following a recent trip to the Sculptural Objects and Functional Art [SOFA] show in Chicago where I was exposed to artists stretching the boundaries in all craft mediums,” Racicot says.
He attended the show with a group of Maritime fine craft makers led by Bernard Burton of Craft Alliance Atlantic, an association supporting Atlantic Canada’s craft industry. “The trip to SOFA convinced me there was an audience for innovative fine craft born of clear vision,” Racicot recalls. “I began building the ladder in earnest upon my return from that show.”
Intrigued by the lines of this everyday object, he built the ladder from scratch by combining teak wood with parts from two salvaged plastic laminate tables. The ladder is fixed in a dynamic half-open, half-closed position to accentuate its angles and suggest the need for movement.
His unique design captured attention at the Atlantic Craft Trade Show in Halifax. “It both confounded and delighted people when it was shown recently in Gallery@Acts,” says Racicot. “It is an unexpected object to see in a gallery as art. We look at ladders everyday, but not in this way. ‘Why is this ladder standing here? Did someone forget to put it away?’ It’s a brightly coloured, six-foot tall, plastic-covered ladder stuck in limbo, utterly useless and craving attention.”