Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

a 30 minute history lesson

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • a 30 minute history lesson

    I did not see a 'History Forum' section so I'm posting a carving history youtube video here that you may find interesting.
    I'm amazed at the skills of and the tools used by Kwakwaka'Wakw native carver, Mungo Martin.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMWI...nnel=WoodRidge
    John

  • #2
    The video would make you believe that Kwakiutl woodcarving is part of ancient history. I attended a woodcarving class in 2011 in Campbell River, B.C. where we were taught about the tools and designs of the First Nations carvers. We should be aware, however, that there is a strong resistance to non-native carvers "appropriating" the designs and methods.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by pallin View Post
      The video would make you believe that Kwakiutl woodcarving is part of ancient history. I attended a woodcarving class in 2011 in Campbell River, B.C. where we were taught about the tools and designs of the First Nations carvers. We should be aware, however, that there is a strong resistance to non-native carvers "appropriating" the designs and methods.
      Pallin,

      This isn’t directed at you but at the factual message you present.

      This such a sad concept to me. Does this mean native carvers will fore go carving folk art, flat plane, characters or carvings in the European tradition. Artist have always taken inspiration form other artist. Seems like a lot of these “rules” are one way streets. Shouldn’t it all be a celebration of all the art forms?
      Ed
      https://www.ebay.com/sch/bmart50/m.h...1&_ipg=&_from=
      Local club
      https://www.facebook.com/CentralNebraskaWoodCarvers

      Comment


      • #4
        Some of the First Nations art, such as story poles, is very personal to families or tribal groups. Without a written language, this is how their history, legends, and culture have been communicated for centuries. They are now beginning to see the commercial and cross-cultural values of their artforms. I "attended" a virtual conference called "Carving on the Edge" featuring carvers in the Tofino area of Vancouver Island. Interestingly they are beginning to "appropriate" European carving tools into their carving culture.

        More info: Carving On The Edge Festival – Celebrating traditional and contemporary carving arts with something for everyone from lovers of arts & culture to carvers of all skill levels (carvingedgefestival.com)

        Comment


        • #5
          The art and carvings of the First Nations in the Pacific Northwest are unique and iconic in the world.
          Their images represent cultural things, reputations, legendary beliefs, inheritances.
          It's readily understandable to me why they would not need to have any interest in European styles.
          Even the wood carving tools are unique and a pleasure to use.

          Keep searching and you are bound to find names like Charles Edenshaw, Bill Reid, the Davidsons the Lafortune brothers, Dempsey Bob and the Hunt families. The oldest ones, like Mungo Martin, were largely responsible for sustaining and enabling the preservation of their culture in the face of genocidal living conditions. Talented children apprenticed with an uncle or grandfather.

          There are many more now to carry the work and teach this knowledge (Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art.)

          There are broadly 4 different styles of art and carvings. The design elements change and their assembly changes. North Coast (Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian), midcoast (Kwakwaka'Wakw), West Coast (Nuu Cha Nulth) and south coast around the Salish Sea ( Coast Salish).

          Actually, it doesn't take very long to pick upon the clues which define origin. Best start is Gilbert & Clark: Learning By Designing, voI. 1. If you want to get theoretically technical about the design rules, look no further than Bill Holm's volume: Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form.

          I inherited a short, 4 figure model pole. It was very important for me to have it. Nobody thought to tell me who the carver was (pre-1954) and I have been searching ever since. It is Kwakwaka'Wakw for certain. Hoping to learn more, I have been accumulating any books I can find which illuminate this art form. I don't think I have 40 titles yet.

          In this day and time, PacNW native arts are all around us here. At this moment? My coffee cup, a ball point pen, a carved pewter letter opener are by my hand.

          My carvings show a strong PacNW influence, at least I think they do. To avoid what has become to be known as "cultural appropriation," I always carve some design features unlike any genuine PacNW FN work.
          Brian T

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm not sure I understand the cultural appropriation concept. So long as I do not misrepresent a carving and do it for my own enjoyment, I'm not sure that I see an issue. If I were to make carvings and sell them as indigenous art, then that is fraudulent.

            Comment


            • #7
              Absolutely correct, Tim. As long as you do them for yourself, go right ahead.
              But do pick a style. The hodge-podges I see are dreadful. No stylistic clues at all.

              Years back, a member of this parish was carving alder masks and he was really good at it.
              As he said, he would never dance the masks so his wall-art was his to enjoy.

              Part of this got going decades ago with a silk-screen print artist, C.B.Gruel.
              He did appropriate FN designs and sold the prints. Very popular. Did not take the
              FN communities too long to catch on to sell the "real thing."

              One way that cross-over can happen in an acceptable fashion is in the carving of "story poles" which describe events or adventures. I have several that I'm slowly trying to finish.
              Brian T

              Comment


              • #8
                As Phil stated, would be the same as a non-Christian who carves Christian items. There is an element of spiritual belief missing that makes good art in any form. Same as the depth of a low-life person carving spiritual things it is missing the point to tourist throw-away items. This is why some countries do not permit religious items sold out of the country as tourists items. Most native art has a story, meaning, deeper respect for the land. Perhaps in-depth respect is needed for higher art forms and their meanings? Should one learn the whole ball game is a very long conversation. Until respect and deeper meaning are shown, as nothing to do with race but the depth of character and respect we have for its real history.

                All kinds of work out there, work just to make it fast and sell it. Work which is made to mass reproduce and sell it. Some work is just made for the pleasure of the artist. There are carving that has a story and history. Work just for fun and craft. Work that makes you feel a higher presence of art. And tons of throw-away items that are meaningless. It all depends on where your head is at and what you value in this ever-changing world of ours.

                Plus this has nothing to do with learning an art form, as that is a matter of education and time.

                I do know the nonnative artist who has more respect for the work than long ago native as they are super education in all matter of the creation. Perhaps a thought to ponder of the depth of soul of the carver could be addressed?

                Comment


                • #9
                  While I respect the thoughts of my fellow forum members, it's my opinion that all of this "consciousness" is a tempest in a teapot. I say carve what you want, just don't plagiarize or misrepresent and give credit where it's due. In today's silly "woke" atmosphere there are people actively searching for anything imaginable to be offended, so don't sweat small stuff and small minds.

                  I agree with Ed's statement, " Does this mean native carvers will fore go carving folk art, flat plane, characters or carvings in the European tradition. Artist have always taken inspiration form other artist. Seems like a lot of these “rules” are one way streets. Shouldn’t it all be a celebration of all the art forms?"
                  Arthur

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    PacNW First Nations totem poles are not decorative art works at all. The pole stands in front of your house, facing the water/ocean. From the bottom up, the figures describe who you are, who your family is, maybe your skills and reputations. It's your family address label in the community.

                    I'm drifting in the direction of story poles, anybody can carve anything for those. Lessons about the environment that you might teach children. Use the pole as a reminder. The big new pole in Jasper townsite is a story of an adventure of 2 brothers.
                    Brian T

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Here is a fine example of a new story pole, some 37' tall.

                      https://hashilthsa.com/news/2021-09-...Ilrq37bCF80AIM
                      Brian T

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for sharing. I wondered what their carving tools were made with since they didn't have metal. Elk antler must be able to sharpen up nice.
                        Anders.
                        https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackBladesNW

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Museum collections show stone tools, adzes, made from Nephrite Jade. That is one tough stone.
                          Shells, horn and of course, beaver incisor teeth are great for ripping logs apart.
                          For canoe building, it appears that small fires at the base of the western red cedar
                          would make the tree become a push over eventually. The core of the log would get progressively burnt out as well.
                          Antler point is used traditionally as the barb in a PacNW First Nations halibut hook.
                          Much easier to sharpen a 4" iron nail instead.

                          The Japan Current swings right across the entire Pacific. It has been dumping Asian rubbish on the BC coast for many centuries. That means iron. Not much of it but iron nevertheless.
                          Pieces of buildings and wharves, chunks of boats and the like.
                          Even the European explorers made note of the fact that the natives (eg Haida) welcomed the quantity of iron but they were familiar already with it for tools.

                          So it's reasonable to imagine that the carvings in design, skill and technical rendering really began to proliferate.

                          One of the more exquisite trophies is a hand blown glass fish net float from Japan. From grapefruit to basketballs. I have one, still with the cord netting, maybe 6"diameter. The tsunami and the current at the time that the Fukushima nuclear plant blew up delivered all sorts of things including a big motorcycle packed in styrofoam. The Japanese owner didn't want it back.

                          Brian T

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X