John Boxtel



In the late 1970s, John Boxtel s in his mid-forties, with a rising career as a sculptor. But he is  also caught in an entrenched obsession. He has found the woman of his dreams, but she has made it clear her dreams follow a different path from his. Boxtel’s solution: to embark on a solitary six-month odyssey by bicycle around the Mediterranean. He covers thousands of kilometres on the continent and the Spanish and Greek islands, rebuilds a hillside casa in Ibiza as a studio, and renovates a VW camper, all in the hopes that his beloved will join him.  


Based on Boxtel’s meticulously kept diary, complete with many sketches made during his journey,  Broken Spokes is the memoir of an extraordinary long-distance wooing and a man’s endeavour to make himself worthy of a transformative love. The outcome is both predictable and astonishing.


ISBN 978-1-7750092-3-8
$24.95 paper  illustrated in colour and b &w




An overture from a mysterious female admirer takes sculptor John Boxtel on a disturbing journey into dark places in the human heart.   

MEMOIR/AUTOBIOGRAPHY ISBN 978-0-9940172-3-9 $14.99 pb

Available at Novel Idea Bookstore, 156 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7L 1B1, 613-546-9799,

Or order copies at

Born in the Netherlands, John Boxtel studied architecture at the Technical School in Tilburg, the Netherlands. After emigrating to Canada in 1954, he began working as a carpenter in Whitby, Ontario, and then studied sculpture at the College of Art in Toronto, the University of Toronto, and the Artists' Workshop in London, Ontario. Beginning in 1967, he taught art, first at high school and then at college level. In 1980 he moved to an island in the St. Lawrence River to work full time as a sculptor. John’s commissions for public monuments in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, and the United States include a series of sculptures erected at the sites of Ukrainian internment camps in Canada during the First World War, the cenotaph at East Gwillimbury, the Molly Brant memorial in Kingston, and a number of private sculptures around the world.

John has had gallery exhibitions in Toronto, Hamilton, Montreal, Kingston, Boston, and the Netherlands. He is the subject of the documentary film Moving Target (Van Osch Films 2008).

John's retrospective on his life work,
STUDIO, was published by Cowdy House in 2015.

Also by John Boxtel:

Go Fly a Kite: The Kite Builder's Manual
Under the Wing of an Angel
Thousand Island Pioneers