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6″ Copper Plate Etching on Clay

Tile on the left and copper plate etching/engraving on the right. Click on the copper plate image to see a better quality scan.

The copper plate is an engraving that is used to print onto the clay. I have a large etching press that I use to print on the clay like if it were paper. I don’t have a problem with the clay curling during firing since I make my own clay body and have added stuff to the clay body to counter the tendence of flat tiles to warp and crack.

The image on the right of the tile is a white whale, the center is a half man half seal, and on the left is a swan turning into a salmon. The three are samples of Alaska native art that were once drawn on the bottom of wood food bowls or on skins.

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Object Runway 2011, Anchorage, Alaska

Object Runway 2011, paper coat

What can I say. I got People’s Choice Award for my coat construction in this years Object Runway show. I can’t make tiles all the time. It was nice to do something a bit different while the tile business is slow during the winter. I cut out small animal designs and lined the bottom edge, like the way old time parkas had your area or family designs along the bottom. The coat is made from etching paper, 140 lb cotton paper, sewn together from a design that I got at a Joann store, a former project runway design. The paper is coated with gesso, acrylic medium, and inked in burnt umber, with most of the color wiped off to give it some surface texture. The buttons are made from the local glacial clay from the inlet and fired like two days before the show and quickly sewn on. It was a fun night. My model, Moriah Walker, was beautiful and helped sell the design. I’ll post a picture of the backside when I can, it has a x-ray style, double seal cut out in red.

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6″ Musk Ox

Musk Ox
6" Musk Ox

6″ x 6″ x 3/8″ Musk Ox, $75
Collagraph print on Cook Inlet glacial clay, multiglaze, cone 6 oxidation.
There’s a musk ox farm in Palmer, north of Anchorage, and there are musk ox at the Anchorage zoo. The wool is collected from musk ox and is made into really warm items like scarves and hats, it’s called kiviut and it is super expensive. My iphone dictionary says musk ox are in Canada and Greenland, but we have them in Alaska too.

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Halibut Man

A Shaman in his animal spirit form
6″ x 6″ x 3/8″ Halibut Man, $75
X-ray style shaman in his animal spirit form, the halibut.
Collagraph print onto Cook Inlet glacial clay and oxidation fired to cone 6. I use mat boards with cut out designs to impress images into clay, a raised inked line is waxed and acts as a separator to the different glazes.

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4″ x 4″ x 3/8″ Caribou, multiglaze, cone 6 oxidation, Cook Inlet glacier clay. Hand printed from a collagraph plate. Done in the x-ray style common to the coastal peoples of Alaska.

Sea mammals were the main food staple of my mother’s village of Point Hope, but caribou were important too. I like the old style parka were the caribou skin is worn so the fur is on the inside and the hide on the outside.

Ceramic shards have been escavated from Point Hope that show a ceramics tradition dating back about 5,000 years. The last Inupiaq to build ceramic pit fired pots died in the 1880’s and the tradition was lost. I couldn’t get into a native Alaskan arts sales event because the jurors told me my art wasn’t original to Alaska. The native heritage center had a talk with the jurors and after missing out for two years, they let me in. Crazy, I’m registered with the state as an Alaskan native artist, dig up and process my own local clay, and still run into people who say my art isn’t authentic. Oh well.

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Two Owls

Two Owls, One Winking
Two Owls on Cook Inlet clay, Alaska

6″ x 6″ x 3/8″ on Cook Inlet clay, multiglazed, cone 6 oxidation

Owls will stare for the longest time and then just wink. I liked the owl in “Walk Well My Brother” that led the pilot to the young Inuit girl who had walked off into the Tundra to die, from untreated tuberculosis.

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Fox & Hare

Fox & Hare
Fox & Hare

6″ x 6″ x 3/8″ multiglazed, Cook Inlet glacial clay, cone six oxidation. Caribbean sea green background. This is one village’s tale of why night follows day. The fox is the moon and the hare is the sun and they are in this continuous chase through the sky, so that is why night follows day. Done in the x-ray style common on the coast of western and northern Alaska.

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Polarbear & Seal

"Polarbear & Seal"
Polar bear & Seal, 6″ x 6″ x 3/8″, multiglazed, cone 6 oxidation.
The Polarbear is waiting for the seal at one of its breathing holes. The Inupiat (Eskimo) in my mother’s village of Point Hope, Alaska pretty much survived on seals and other sea mammals during the winters, much like the polar bear. The x-ray style used in the coastal areas sometimes shows the insides of the animals, like the ribs and stomach.