John Farrugia





So you’re kind of the “foundry whisperer”…

Ha! When I went to Scotland (to study) there was an old blast furnace and casting setup that had been mothballed for years, and I was able to get it going and it caught on like wildfire. And four years ago when I went down to Jamaica to do music shows — I build reggae sound systems as well…


Of course you do.

…I visited the art school there and they had the same deal, an old foundry that no one knew how to use anymore. They offered me a residency the following year, and I got it going.


Now you’re back in Mono, on the family farm, building a foundry from a pioneer barn base.

Family is a major part of my life. We’re very tight knit. One brother lives on the farm, he’s a doctor in Alliston, and my sister built a house on the other side.

That old barn base was like a pit that we used to throw things like our old Christmas trees in. Spending the first six months clearing it out and rebuilding the stone, I’d spend time up at the Dufferin Museum and Archives. I learned so much about the people that were here before.


And now that the foundry’s up and running?

We’re going to start running a series of workshops this summer. And I’ve been busy with two commissions, both local: one for Rosemont near the Globe Restaurant, the other for a church in Tottenham. One of the unique natures of what I do is, while most sculptors give a design, then hire a foundry, we have a foundry.


Art, farming, they’re connected. They’re work.

It grounds you, the rhythm and routine of chores, the beauty of being around nature. I find that my roots from Mono, being on a farm, are important to my work. I always start from there.