Binty’s Prize 

Cheakamus Challenge winners to receive original artworks by original trail builder

Vincent Massey in his office.
  • Vincent Massey in his office.

To experience the original craftsmanship of Vincent Massey pay a visit to the grassroots gallery that sits adjacent to his pottery studio and home in Alpine Meadows, then continue further up the slopes of Rainbow Mountain and ride one of Whistler’s original hardcore mountain bike trails, a rocky vein that continues to bear the builder’s nickname of ‘Binty’s.’

Massey is the definitive Whistler Renaissance man: self-sustaining artist, mountain biker, trail architect and snowboarder; equal parts master craftsman and outdoor adventurer – life and work intertwined.

He moved to the area in 1985 with wife Cheryl, part of the lucky set that got into Whistler when a residence was still in reach of an aspiring artist with a family.

Supplementing his income with carpentry in the early stages of his career provided Massey with the necessary skills to construct his home, studio and gallery on the property. Two decades and two kids later, he and Cheryl continue to reside and work there. A steady flow of clay creations keeps Vincent’s two kilns firing, his robust, functional pieces sought by art collectors, hotels and restaurants both locally and internationally.

Following her husband’s lead, Cheryl has also made her name as an artisan weaver with a repertoire of basket items, and accessories made from natural, hand-gathered kelp, bark and tule rush, which she also displays in the Massey gallery.

Two of the latest items to come out of Massey’s kiln represent the intersection of art and mountain biking. The top male and female finishers in this weekend’s 21 st Annual Cheakamus Challenge mountain bike race will take home commemorative rectangular blue-glazed dishes with an extruded rim, handles and feet – an original creation handcrafted by one of the area’s original hardcore trail riders.

A founding member of the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA), Massey was there that night in 1989 when a handful of riders got together at the Boot Pub to formulate a plan to fight impending trail closures in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The organization has since grown to a membership of over 1,000, and a significant force regarding the direction and development of mountain biking in the Sea To Sky corridor.

Massey has also continued to grow as an artist, driven to innovate, push the limits of his medium and discover new and exciting glazes, firings and forms from the three-four tonnes of clay that pass through his studio in the course of a year.

A fourth-generation artist, born and raised in Horseshoe Bay, Massey discovered an innate interest in the craft of pottery at age 15. His passion for pottery would later take him across the Atlantic to study at the West Surrey College of Art, where he specialized in traditional English and Japanese methods of stoneware using wood, salt and raku firing techniques, furthering his education through apprenticeships with master craftsmen in England and Canada.

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