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.


marja-leena said...

Beautiful work! I wish I could see them in person, to hold your tiny boxes. Glad you've enjoyed some holiday feasts as well. All the best of the season to you and a Happy New Year!

Elderberrystudio said...

Marja-leena: Thank you! I trust that you and your family had a wonderful Christmas holiday. Best wishes for a Happy New Year!