Six-Inch Caribou, $75
Collagraph print on clay tile body made from local glacial mud flats. The x-ray style, the depiction of the insides such as the ribs and stomach, is common to the coastal native Alaskans such as the Yupiq and Inupiaq (Eskimos). The big dipper to the polar Inupiaq represents a herd of caribou. The polar star that people in lower latitudes refer to as the north star is not used for directions in the arctic because it is over head and unmoving and doesn’t help in determining directions. I’ve seen caribou carcasses in yards in Point Hope, my mother’s village. They were frozen and being eaten by dogs – a kind of old school dog food.
The two newer glaze colors used on this tile are nutmeg for the background and tenmoko gold used for the body. I mix my own glazes and these two were made at the same time, and each glaze, when wet looks like the other glaze’s fired color. It was confusing. This one potter at a craft show asked if I was a “purist” when I told him about making my own clay and mixing my own glazes. I do it because people like that the materials are local and the imagery is a contemporary take on traditional designs. Also, now that I know that hand built, pit fired ceramics were made in my ancestral area of Northwest Alaska for thousands of years, I will someday, test some of that areas clay for use in my tile work.
Fox & Hare, 6″ x 6″ x 3/8″, $75
One villages 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, and that is why night follows day. This is a revision of an earlier design which had the hare sort of upside down. The collagraph plate was about seven years old and wearing out, so it was a good time to make a new printing plate with a slightly different layout. The xray style is indiginous to the coastal areas of Alaska.
The red is new, it is a majolica base with red stain and without the opacifier. Also new is the temuko gold for the background. The clay is from the mudflats next to Anchorage, Alaska.
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.
Sedna is the Inuit Goddess of the Sea
8″ x 8″ x 3/8″, Cook Inlet Glacier clay, multiglazed, cone 6 oxidation.
A small sub planet was named after Sedna recently. A google search will turn up lots of stories related to Sedna. She is the mother of the whales, seals, and fish. If you see sea weed out at sea, they say it is Sedna’s hair. A young lady bought one of the Sedna tiles and told me how she drown as a little girl and some paddling guy saw this interesting looking sea weed and when he grabbed it, he pulled her up and was surprised, but he did revive her. Cool.