Shawnigan Lake School Sculpture Unveiling, B.C. Canada

On October 26th, 2013, the larger-than-life bronze sculpture of C.W. Lonsdale was unveiled on the beautiful Shawnigan Lake School campus in B.C., Canada. To experience the days’ events, please view BELOW the photo slideshow or enjoy the video. 

On the day of the sculpture installation the sun shone brightly, making it a perfect day for the arrival of the first headmaster in bronze. The installation was done by a crane and went smoothly, considering the three granite slabs and bronze statue totaled 15,000 lbs! Many curious students, faculty, and administrators came by to witness the placement of the sculpture, and once it was finally assembled everybody agreed that the design, size, and location couldn't be more fitting. 

There is something different and special now as one passes through the wrought iron gates to Shawnigan. The once empty grove of old cedar trees, visible at about a hundred yards, holds the hint of someone new as you approach the main campus building. There stands C.W. Lonsdale and his beloved dog, appropriately just outside the Headmaster's office and adjacent to the Alumni Garden.

Founder's Day began with a service at the Shawnigan chapel. After the service, hundreds of students, alumni, and faculty gathered around the veiled sculpture for the unveiling ceremony. The keynote speaker was Mr. Dick Lonsdale, who spoke of his great uncle C.W.’s journey from London to the western coast of Canada, and his ultimate founding of the new school in 1916. Many more of Lonsdale's extended family were in attendance to witness the unveiling. It was a beautiful and very special day for all who attended. 

My heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the three gentlemen (and Shawnigan alumni) whose vision is now realized, and who have earned my respect, and my lifelong friendship: Stuart Milbrad, John Burr, and Francois Elmaleh.


Photos by Stephen Lane, Margot Allen and Paul Tedrick

To watch a video of the event click HERE

To read more about the event you can visit the Shawnigan Lake School website  

Artist Mardie Rees Set to Unveil Latest Commissioned Sculpture

The larger-than-life sculpture of a beloved teacher and his dog will be installed in British Columbia, Canada

GIG HARBOR, Wash., Oct. 23, 2013 – Internationally acclaimed figurative sculptor Mardie Rees, will be unveiling her 1,000-pound, 8-foot tall, bronze sculpture of C.W. Lonsdale, founder of the elite Shawnigan Lake School in British Columbia.

The sculpture, comprised of Mr. Lonsdale and his German shepherd, will be unveiled on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. at the main entrance of Shawnigan Lake School in British Columbia, Canada. For more information, visit

Crafting the sculpture has been a 4-year undertaking with Rees using live male models with Lonsdale’s physique, photographs of Lonsdale, a suit from the 1930’s, and a German shepherd with period-specific anatomy. Documentation of the entire process can be found on Rees’ blog.

“Mardie really immersed herself in Lonsdale’s spirit. She spent time on the campus and interviewed myself and other former students,” said Stuart Milbrad, a Shawnigan Lake alumnus. “Her work is amazing and I admire her methodical approach to learning about Lonsdale--a giant of a man.” Milbrad notes the incredible likeness of the sculpture to his late mentor, teacher, and friend.

Rees is leading a revival of the intensely personal medium of figurative sculpting using wooden tools and raw earth in her hands. “I like working big,” says Rees, and explains “My work is about connecting stories, characters, and emotion to create art that people can relate to and with which they can identify.”

The 300-acre lakeside campus and Tudor style architecture will provide a spectacular backdrop for the large-scale bronze sculpture. Founded by Lonsdale in 1916, Shawnigan Lake School is a co-ed boarding school that believes in cultivating a student’s character and unique talents through instructional excellence. 

About Mardie Rees

Mardie Rees is an internationally recognized figurative sculptor based in Gig Harbor, Wash. Her work brings the classical figure into today’s context with an emphasis on emotional dialogue. The relationships between her subjects and their circumstances bring a life to her work that is tangible to its viewers. 

Mardie Rees is currently developing a WWII U.S. Marine Raider Memorial sculpture commissioned by the U.S. Marine Raiders Foundation. She is resident artist at Real Carriage Door Company. For more information on her work, visit


Postlude: Sculpture Unveiling

The unveiling of sculpture, C.W. Lonsdale, at the Real Carriage Door wood shop

Gallery photos from the party on January 17th & 19th, 2013

Thank you to all who came! It seemed everyone had a wonderful time at the Real Carriage Door wood shop which was transformed into a sparkling winter party. Beer was served by local 7 Seas Brewing; jazz music was played by Zizzy Zi Zixxy, with the unveiling of the sculpture as the focus of the evening. Locals browsed the gallery of sculptures by Mardie Rees, while drinking beer and chatting with friends. Children joined the fun by dancing to the jazz music in front of the band. Many doors were displayed for enjoyment to add to the creative mood. At 6 pm, Beth Rees introduced a new video about Real Carriage Door Company (viewable on a large screen held aloft by a forklift). Thursday night, the current Headmaster from Shawnigan Lake School, David Robertson, shared some background about the school and expressed their excitement in receiving the sculpture of their founder and headmaster, C.W. Lonsdale, and his faithful German Shepherd. Sculptor Mardie Rees was later introduced, and she elaborated on the process of creating the monumental sculpture over the last three years. After much anticipation, Mardie spoke the key words, "Let's take a look," and upon the count of three, the canvas was dropped to a round of applause.

The sculpture will be at the foundry (Two Raven Studio in Tacoma) through the end of the summer, and the official unveiling of the sculpture cast in bronze to be scheduled for October 2013.

Finishing Dog Feet

I'm finishing up the details on all 4 feet of my sculpture of a German shepherd dog (representing the many dogs C.W. Lonsdale had as Headmaster). My model for the body and feet is a white German Shepherd named, Finn. He is the sweetest and most well behaved dog I have ever had modeling for me. Julie (Finn's owner) does a good job keeping him still. Usually he models for me a couple hours at a time. 

Home Stretch

The Fall brought beautiful weather with sun and warm temperatures. The last three months has been the homestretch for a project I have been working on since the beginning of 2012. Because we had an indian summer, I was able to work with the large roll up door open and the sun streaming in my studio (at Real Carriage, Gig Harbor - WA). My German Shepherd Dogs (I have two of them) spent many hours in my studio modeling as I worked out the kinks and sculpted the portrait. It was a lot of fun working with a live dog in my studio! 

Then as life would have it - the rains came in late October (just as I begin to return to the portrait) and it got cold, so I had to figure out how to once again work with artificial lighting. 


My dog after many adjustments

In late September my husband, Jeremy, help me install the platform under their feet. 

foil on the feet to protect finished shoes from getting damaged from dropped tools and clay when I'm working up high. 

Getting the lighting right so I could properly work on the portrait has been a challenge. Tools, scaffolding, lighting, and over tiredness are all things that you have to work to overcome so that the Work doesn't suffer.