Wednesday, December 28, 2005

New Octopus

All of the masks in this post are my original designs, inspired by Yupik masks. They are all made of cottonwood bark, which I found as driftwood on the beach.

Here is a photo of the new octopus mask that I recently completed. Unlike the first piece, this one has beads inlaid in the arms, and glass bead eyes.

Here is 'Sol' - she is more of a doll than a mask. She has parrot feathers, copper wire, and glass beads for her hair.

This is 'Magic Woman Three'. She was inspired by the male shaman figures from traditional Yupik masks. In my culture, a shaman could be male or female. She has raffia hair, and glass beads for eyes. She also bears the traditional chin tattoos of Yupik women. Her innards are visible to show the duality of being a Shaman represented. She could be both in the physical world and the Spirit world at the same time. A shaman could travel to the animal spirit world as well, and communicate with her 'spirit-helper' animals, or other spirits. Other depictions of shamans in Yupik art show them with animal and human features, such as bird wings or caribou legs, and with their innards revealed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Three-faced Mask

This is my own version of a Yupik two-faced mask collected from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. For some reason, I just wanted to add one more face. In Yupik art, the frowning faces depict women, while the men are always depicted as smiling. Can't imagine why women were always frowning... :{ The images of women also often include chin tattoos - they look like sun rays radiating out from the lower lip, but in soot-black.

Sorry for the Lag in Posting Your Comments, Dear Readers

I have been playing with the settings for posts to my blog. I have had problems with spammers posting ads - so when you see there is a delay in your post going up, it's because I chose to have an e-mail go to me to approve the post. I can always delete unwanted posts - but hate to have that spam stuff up there for a day or so until I get around to deleting it.

So - sorry if it is a bother!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Some Older Masks of Mine

I am so happy to be playing with inserting photos into my blog! Since I am at work (naughty me) , I am limited to inserting the photos that I happen to have stored on my hard drive here (naughty, naughty). They aren't the greatest photos - I haven't Photoshopped them or anything. I had a cool website that I put together when I first moved to Seattle, before my unemployment insurance ran out, and I had to go back to a 'real' job. But the site crashed a few years ago, as did our computer hard drive, and I (dummy) did not have backups of all the meticulously-edited photos of my work that I used on the website.

This is a Shaman mask/figure which I made probably over 10 years ago. He was inspired by a Yupik shaman figure. I have made a number of figures since, which I guess you could call 'dolls'. I have made some female shamans, whom I call "Magic Women".

I made the hand 'masks', below, for a friend who gave them as a wedding gift. I made a similar pair of hands a few years ago, for a co-worker who commissioned them as a Christmas gift for her husband. They are inspired by a pair of traditional Yupik masks which would be held in the hands, upright, like dance fans.

Here is an original piece called "Evening Star". I used parrot feathers sent to me by a friend.

I still make masks, but also have a body of mixed media pieces. Much of my work is influenced by the Yupik and Alutiiq symbology found in the traditional masks. My heritage is Alutiiq (Koniag). I use found materials in my work, ususally cottonwood bark for the body of the piece, and other driftwood, including yellow and red cedar, alder, and spruce root. The feathers are all 'legal'. A good friend of mine has numerous pet birds: parrots, cockatiels, chickens, and he saves feathers for me. I've also aquired feathers from my nephews and friends who hunt, and from dead birds (like ptarmigan) found in the wild. For pieces that I sell, I use store-bought feathers or from domestic fowl.


I recently finished an Octopus Mask very similar to the one above. The one in the picture I created a few years ago. My buddy Vicki proposed a swap - I wanted one of her pieces, she wanted an octopus. So I made a new one for her. It is hanging next to my fireplace at home, waiting for me to pack it safely into a box and mail it off to Montana. I will upload a picture of the new Octopus when I am home (and not at work, blogging, instead of working!). Ugh. Holidays are difficult for concentrating on work.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bah Humbug!

Okay - I admit it: I'm a horrible blogger. Or a non-blogging blogger. When I decided to get my own (free) blog - I thought it was a great idea at the time. Why just be a lurker, when I could engage in witty repartee on my own journal? Hmmm... then reality sets in. I don't have time to write in a blog every day. When I do, I can't think of a damned thing to write about. I'd rather just leave comments on other's blogs, thus fulfilling my desire to engage in witty repartee, or dispensing sage advise. Also - I admit - I am loathe to lay bare my soul to prying eyes of strangers. And even more loathe to bare my sould to nosy, judgmental friends. That, and add in the frustration from hours spent trying to figure out how to do simple tasks, such as upload photos onto my blog, and you have a severely unhappy, pissed off even, blogger. And that's just not fun.

I guess my original intent was to have an 'artist's journal' wherein I could share ideas/thoughts/questions about my artwork with interested readers. But I realize that I don't ask people for input about my artwork - I don't like sharing unfinished artwork with anyone, even my partner. But since my 'studio' is in a corner of our 2-car garage, it's not like I can hide works in progress, unless I cover them with a gunny sack or something. I'm not that secretive. I just don't have some burning desire to ask for feedback until the piece is done, or pretty near done. I do like talking with people about my pieces at art show openings. But that's another topic.

So - should I turn this blog into some other type of animal? Should I share juicy stories about my love life? Wax poetic over the beauty of sunsets? Spill my deep dark secrets out accross the Internet? What are you, dear Blog Reader, looking for in a blog?

And if I do spice things up - just remember: it gets a little lonely out here in cyberspace. Especially when all you can hear are the crickets chirping, and the sound of your own breathing.


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