Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Our Cultural Specialist, John Smith, introduced us to the moietes of Tlingit culture and showed us how to draw some of the basic motifs used in the distinctive style of Northwest Coast Native Design, like the ovoid, u-form, s-curve and trigon. We learned that Raven artists design for Eagle clans and Eagle artists design for raven clans. After practicing a step-by-step Raven or Eagle head, we created our own design, or copied a master design, and carved it from rubber cove molding, donated to TMHS by Valley Lumber (Thank you, Valley Lumber!). This was easy to carve with lino-cutters, giving us an idea of what might go into carving traditional designs from wood. We were then able print our designs multiple times, so we could try to unify our designs in table groups, and as a full class. This exercise helped us understand that a strong, unified form-line design is not just a collection of random images made of ovoids and u-forms, but a thoughtful design process, constantly balancing negative and positive space for harmonious effect and emphasis.