"Art of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest Coast"

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"Bear Totem"

(acrylic and stain on wood and masonite 24x29)

Original - $1,650 U.S.

The crest of the Bear Clan has its origins in one of the most widely told of all Haida legends - that of Bear Mother. She was born a chief's daughter and through various events, became the wife of a handsome young bear who was nephew to a great bear chief. After giving birth to twin cubs, her husband was killed by her real brothers on condition that they would take the bear crest as their own, thus beginning the bear clan. This helped to maintain the good relations between bears and humans and has forever established the bear as a highly respected and powerful clan crest.

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This detail (from a frog totem) gives you a closer look at how this piece was made. The totem is first sketched onto wood and then each piece is cut out by hand, sanded, primed, and painted or stained. The reddish pieces are stained with a red oxide and abalone inlays are added as highlights in the eyes. The totem is then reassembled on the painted masonite. They are shadowbox framed using flat black or natural oak mouldings for a striking appearance but other options could be equally effective.

These totems have a very contemporary look while owing their origins to traditional design structures. They have the appearance of paper sculptures and their appearance can vary from subtle to dramatic depending on the lighting source.

This technique is perfect for artwork needed for large home areas and corporate settings. They can be made to fit virtually any size requirements and take approximately 3 weeks to construct. Special considerations can also be made for any personal preferences. Feel free to contact me via e-mail for further information and I'll answer any questions you may have.

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