Monday, October 1, 2007

Contemporary Coast Salish Art

Coast Salish artist Shaun Peterson spoke in Friday Harbor last night in the Gubelman Room at the San Juan Community Theatre. His talk cleared up the mystery as to why Coast Salish art has not been as prominent in the 20th century as the art of northern Northwest Coast tribes such as the Haida or Tlingit. Peterson explained that traditionally the northern tribal arts were crest driven and had to do with tribal identity. Conversely, the Salish arts were ceremonial and considered private. One common motif in contemporary Salish art is the spindle whorl form as used in traditional Salish weaving. One reason for this is that the spindle was a functional tool and safer for contemporary artists to use without garnering the criticism of elders who may disapprove of revealing art motifs of a more ritualistic and therefore private nature. The spindle whorl has beautifully inspired the Coast Salish artist Susan Point.

Ancestral Guardian - Susan Point – Arctic Raven Gallery
Carved and Slumped Glass Spindle Whorl with Carved Red Cedar Base

"Although many of her contemporaries were producing designs which were representative of more northern native groups, she chose to concentrate on the designs of her own people. Consulting with her uncle, Professor Michael Kew, an anthropologist at the University of British Columbia, Susan began to investigate traditional Coast Salish art forms. One of the forms that intrigued her was the Spindle Whorl, a wooden disk, elaborately carved, which was used in the spinning of wool."

Excerpt from Susan Point's website Susan Point

1 comment:

  1. I would love to know where you found the spindle. It is BEAUTIFUL!