Angling Art: Heavy Metal Trout


“Rise to Mayfly,” Pewter, gold leaf, brass and copper

For an artist who uses traditional metalwork techniques, capturing the complexities of living game fish seems like a tall order. There’s a lot of detail to render if you want the finished work to suggest motion and life—not to mention the subtle beauty of, say, trout skin. But from his workshop in Perthshire, Scotland, Sam Macdonald combines pewter, gold leaf, brass, and copper to create stunning relief sculptures in which the fish seem to almost leap off the background.


“See the Moon,” Pewter, gold leaf, brass and copper

Macdonald fished often in the Scottish Highlands as a boy, and his art naturally led him to express his love of the sport. Twenty years of fly-fishing for trout in the remote Orkney isles in the far north of Scotland gave him plenty of material, as well as the time to contemplate the directions his art would take. He recently began traveling to cast for bonefish, tarpon, and permit, and these species have made their way into his repertoire.

In this country, Macdonald’s work can be seen in the Vision West Gallery in Bozeman, Montana, and there are extensive galleries on his gorgeous website.

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