Fall

I’m still waiting on the log for the Mosquito Creek Marina carving. Whenever I’m contemplating these bigger carvings, I’m very aware of how rare these big trees are today, and I can only guess at what they have seen in their lifetime. The really good carving wood only seems to start growing on a tree after about 200 years and up, after the tree gets big enough to need to drop its lower branches, and start the clear, knotless growth along most of its height.

I’ve got a design concept so far, a reworking of the thunderbird, killer whale, and bear figures from the original totem pole. I’ll be ‘Coast Salishing it up’, and use our more traditional housepost style, and will want to create a two-sided piece because there is now a pedestrian trail running along our waterfront there, and the piece will be visible from their as well as our village. I will not make final decisions until I see the log, and get final dimensions.

Otherwise, I’ve been working on jewelry lately, and have had a lot of interest in the Mountaingoat horn style bracelets I’ve made. These bracelets were originally carved from the horn, but I’ve made several now, first engraved very close to the original designs, and then onto a couple chased ones, and now I’m working on a couple repousse versions. It is one of the few really old designs, and other Coast Salish artists all seem to take a crack at it.

Peter Lattimer, from the Lattimer Gallery, gave me a extremely small bracelet-sized piece of gold to work on, and I’ve been trying to do the horn style repousse on it. I would not recommend it, in case you were thinking of doing this also. I’ve made some new tools, and had to figure out a completely different way of making this little bracelet; which is the good thing about just doing things myself, without anyone more experienced around, who might tell me that it what I’m trying is either foolish, or impossible.

I’ve also been warming up to making a more figurative repousse bracelet for Chief Bill Williams. It will be two wolves, or perhaps two aspects of the same wolf. I think I’ll need to combine my own hit-or-miss approach to repousse, with what I learned from Valentin Yotkov in New York, and the gems of information which seem to just fall from Phil Janze the times I heard him talk about repousse.

I’ll also be teaching a a bit again, working with my friend Drew Atkins, who I’d gone to Scotland with, to teach a carving course for high school students. Besides that, I’ll be doing a few basic silversmithing workshops, mostly sawing and piercing pendant forms.


_DSC0009
Here is a bracelet I made for my uncle for his chieftenship naming last month. It tells the story of how he got swept along by a surge of dog/chum salmon, while gaff fishing on the Squamish river. My uncle Vern was on shore, and saw Ronny get swept by, literally on the salmons backs, and he said, “That’s the biggest chum I ever saw.”

When the salmon turned into the main river body, they dispersed, and Ronny went into the river, half shocked, half laughing. So he became Uncle Chum to us all. Picking up his name has been something he has wanted to do for years now, so now he is also Sxelapchtn siyam’p, and still one of the best and most generous men I think I’ll ever meet.