Sunday, December 28, 2008

Running in Place

I've finally been in one place since December 15. I spent 2 weeks vacation at home in Seattle for Thanksgiving, and was back home for a week and a half before traveling to Anchorage for our Shareholder Christmas party and then our staff Christmas party. For Thanksgiving, it was just my partner Bren and our friend Dora & I - so I roasted a duck for our dinner. It was perfect! Turned out golden brown - using the orange glaze that came with the duck. I stuffed it with bread and apple stuffing, and roasted some garlic-crusted whole white potatoes around the duck the last hour.

I finished some masks early this fall. Last weekend I participated in the Last Chance Christmas Bazaar at the Alutiiq Museum. I made a selection of little wooden boxes, and a bunch of cards using 4 of my designs from the past years that I used for my personal holiday cards.

Here is my collection of little boxes for the bazaar. They are carved out of cottonwood bark - and range in size from 1" across x1" deep to about 3" across x 1.5" deep. They all have glass bead inset, and some are decorated with painted petroglyph designs from the south end of Kodiak Is. :

The three Alutiiq masks I finished earlier this fall include:

Alutiiq Whistler, cottonwood bark, spruce root, oil stain; 11" h x 7" across (at base of hoop).

And Red Whistler, cottonwood bark, spruce root, oil stain; 9" high x 5" wide:

Alutiiq plank mask: cottonwood bark, spruce root, copper wire, oil stain; 6" high x 5.5" wide at head-dress.

These are all replicas of traditional Alutiiq masks that were collected from Kodiak Island in the 1890's. An exhibition of Alutiiq masks was on display at the Alutiiq Musuem this May-September - a group fo people negotiated with the museum in France where the masks were place after being collected by Alphonse Pinart in 1890. Pinart took the masks back to France, where they are now a part of the permanent collectedion of the Chateau Musee in Bulogne su-mer.

The last piece I finished this fall was this one, which I call "Caribou Guardian". It's from a Yupik mask in the Smithsonian collection. I was searching on Google this fall when I came across this article: . It thrilled me, as my work on the mask was in progress - but it was based only on drawings from a Dover book. The notes about the piece in the book were few, and there were no color notations. I had made my best guess on which colors were used before I found the article on the Smitsonian work. It was really timely that I found this article just as I was finishing the piece - and made me appreciate it even more.

Caribou Guardian, cottonwood bark, spruce root, oil stain, feathers; 8" h x 10" w. He bears two caribou on his forehead, flanking a seal. The hole in the center of the forehead signifies both the hole in the ice the seal came through, and a portal to a Spirit world. The mask face is flanked by 'doors', the one on the left illustrating two seals. The hands are typical of the 'spirit helper hands" of the tuunraaq, or spirits that were said to control the fish and game supplies. The holes in the palm allow some of the game to escape to supply food for humans, while the rest remains safe in the Spirit realm, so there will always be plenty.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dia de los Muertos Art Show

A local gallery and framing shop owner sponsored an ATC show for Dia de los Muertos. The show opened Friday Oct. 17, and runs through November 11. I actually took some time during my travel season to make a few pieces for the show. It was great to work on some art again! The holiday holds special meaning to me, as my twin brother, Guy, passed away in Mexico City on the Day of the Dead about 8 years ago.

My first ATC for this month's show:
"Calavera" - gouache on watercolor paper, mounted on poplar painted with acrylic. 3.5"x2.5"

"Frida" - carved painted cottonwood bark, copper wire, glass beads, mounted on poplar. 3.5"x2.5"

"Blue Skull" - collaged papers on painted poplar. 3.5"x2.5". This was my trade piece.

I have a bit more traveling to do - next weekend to Anchorage, the following week, to Anchorage again, then on Nov. 14, to Seattle one last time this year. I just returned from Seattle last Tuesday, and the week before, we were in Soldotna, then San Diego and Portland. I've sure racked up alot of miles on Alaska Airlines! At least now I'm MVP, so I can upgrade to 1st Class. That makes all the air miles a bit more tolerable!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Okay I've been doing a bit of traveling lately. It's part of my job. I haven't had a minute to work on any artwork since...early August, I guess. I did teach a 2-day mask carving workshop at a Kodiak gallery: The Artist's Eye. That was fun! Then I finished up a few masks I'd started this summer - since finally receiving my tools from home (my other home in Seattle). I haven't had a chance to photograph those 3 new masks, but will endeavor to do so this weekend.

So, where have I traveled to since late June? Well - Anchorage, two weekends in a row, then Seattle, then all of the villages around Kodiak Island, which are: Larsen Bay, Karluk, Ouzinkie, Port Lions, Akhiok, and Old Harbor. I just got back yesterday from my second trip to Seattle this season. Next week, I travel to Kenai/Soldotna, then San Diego, Portland OR, Seattle, then in October to Seattle, Anchorage, Anchorge again, then in November to Anchorage (again), then Seattle. Hmm...then I think I wanna take a vacation to...somewhere warm and sunny, which will require travel again!

Not a whole lotta art involved here. But I'm thinkin' on it.

So - here is one work of art that came out of me - my son Alex. I got to visit him in late August, on a day trip I took on Amtrak from Tacoma to Portland. He's sporting his tats he acquired in Thailand earlier this summer.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hot off the Workbench

I just finished these three pieces. The first is the first carving I've finished since I've been back in Alaska I call this piece "Story Fish". It was inspired by a traditional Yupi'k fish that was originally done in bone with scrimshaw on it. The original had tons more drawings, entire hunting and animal migration scenes. My fish is red cedar driftwood with a pickled stain and drawings in acrylic. Glass beads are inset for the eyes. The fish is 12" long by 3" wide, and is mounted with a brass rod on a natural driftwood base, so it can swivel to show the other side.

The drawings on this side are, top to bottom: sandhill cranes grazing on the tundra, a seal chased by a big fish, traditional design.

Story Fish side B
Sandhill cranes in flight, reindeer herder followed by his dog (at the base of the tail), his herding dog, and two reindeer, numerous fish swim along the bottom, framed by traditional design elements.

The other two pieces are more of the shadow boxes. The first one is called "Greet the Sun". It is gouache on paper, with a root tree, covered with brass wire and glass beads. The robin is carved cottonwood bark. You can't see his nest very well, woven of copper wire, with three blue glass bead eggs. The box is hand-built of poplar, with acrylic paint and glass beads. Size is 12.5" x 5" x 3" deep.

The third piece is "Sockeye Run". It is goauche on paper, with carved cottonwood bark salmon. The box is hand-built of pine with acrylic paint and glass beads. Finished size is 12.5" x 5" x 1" deep.

View from the top showing skeleton fish - painted on all four sides. It's spawning season when the reds run upriver!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

More New Works

This one is titled: "Houses on the Hillside"; it was also a view from my cousin's living room - accross town, looking toward Barometer Mt. This box is a little smaller than the others - about 5.5" x 5.5", hand-built pine, gouache on paper, carved wood, glass beads, acrylic on wood.

Side view showing painting on frame.

Here's another piece I did this spring - titled "Secluded Cove". Gouache on paper, wood box, glass beads.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New Work

This winter, I worked on a new series of shadow boxes. Since I didn't have my carving tools or any wood to carve (since everything was under several inches of snow at any given time), I made some gouache watercolors, then built the boxes for them. I sold the first two below at the Crab Festival Art Show over the last weekend in May.

"Tidepool Starfish", 6" x 6", gouache on paper, poplar box, glass beads. acrylic.
Front view.

"Kodiak Winter Crows" - 6" x 6", gouache on paper, poplar box, glass beads, acrylic, carved cottonwood bark, root.

The view from my cousin's living room is of the Baptist Church. All winter, there was almost always a crow or eagle perched atop the steeple. All of the birds were hungry, and hanging around town looking for scraps and garbage.

Front view.

And here's the Father's Day gift I made for my dad:
"Little Red Dory" - 5" wide x 9" high; gouache on paper, carved cottonwood bark, foil paper, glass beads.
Front view

Side view

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New Zoo Review

I'm baaack! Well, technically I never went anywhere, but my Blog sure did! My original Elderberry Dreams Blogspot page got zapped from my Google account, through some inexplicable reason. So, please join me in my new Blog venture - which is really just a continuation of the old one! I will post photos of my recent artwork soon. I just participated in the 7th Annual Crab Festival Art Show - and sold 2 of my new shadow boxes!

Here is a picture of my new home - an old Kodiak house that was probably built in the 1930's or so - it's right in Town, I can walk to work (and get there faster than driving and finding a parking space!) Commute time: 2.5 minutes (compare to my former commute time of 60 minutes each way daily, not counting the waiting time for the bus in Seattle!).