The Life and Times of the Pickle Forks

Monday, July 29, 2019

By Elizabeth Rogers

They've been decorated, climbed and pranked. They graced the Hagey Hall courtyard for almost 44 years before disappearing into limbo (or rather, a UWaterloo storage facility) to await their fate. Now the beloved “pickle forks” are enjoying the sunshine once again, just in time for the start of the new academic year.

These iconic sculptures were a part of the Arts landscape until April 2015 when they were removed to make way for the Hagey Hall Hub. In the interim, artist Ron Baird worked with Plant Operations to reimagine their arrangement to what has been described as “a single Swiss-Army-knife-like sculpture”.

Some feared the pickle forks had suffered the same fate as “David of Sassoun”, which disappeared never to be seen again. But on Friday, July 27, the new multi-tool made its appearance, thanks to the care and hard work of Plant Operations (and a crane).

Fun facts about the pickle forks

  • The work is actually called “A Sculpture Environment.”
  • But even the artist calls them pickle forks.
  • It was the second public outdoor work of art on Waterloo campus. (The first was Baird’s “Triad”.)
  • The work was in storage for approximately four years and three months - the Hagey Hall Hub will soon celebrate its third birthday.

Over the years, many have speculated about the purpose of these sculptures (a couple of which are NSFW). We agree with the Imprint's 2006 article that these sculptures should “remain enigmas”.