I’ve been riding the groovy surf of an artistic catharsis. It must be impossible – to be in a place like this and not have the creative energies released. There is so much environmental therapy going on, from the stunning scenery and places to explore, and the delicious food you are given by the ocean or the forest (or your neighbours!), to the company of kind and generous people. And there is no traffic, no chaos – no Xbox games! – to be distracting.
So, I’ve been making stuff!
Lots of stuff.
Most of what I’ve been making, I’ve been giving to others. The painting below went to Francois, a second chalk-drawing to Nana, a barnacle-and-seaglass laden necklace to my mom. These pieces say what words cannot about the people I care about.
When my parents were here a few weeks ago, we went up to Masset to tour around and learn a little. We stopped by a shop selling island and Haida art, and ended up in a great conversation with Cooper Wilson, a dedicated local carver whose work is featured both on and off-Island.
Cooper offered to give us a tour of the long house he’s building – which is gorgeous! – and his carving space, humbly showing us the care with which Argillite and other primary materials must be carved. He also had some great stories to tell about his adventures in Prince Rupert and beyond, and by the end he and my dad were talking like old friends. We also met Cooper’s young grandson, who was skillfully wielding a legitimate Samurai sword. In between flashes of light glancing off the sword from the broad skylights, he told me that he looks forward to studying animals (the badass ones, like snakes and Harpie eagles) when he grows up. He knew so much about them already. There’s something uniquely magical about children. We are all born perfect, loving and unbiased, destined to whole-heartedly chase after our own dreams – at least until society breaks our wildness, teaches us mannerisms and expectations, and tries to condition us to its rigidity. But, some of us knew to sink our fangs into that natural feeling of unbridled freedom, never to let it go, and I can feel that Cooper’s grandson won’t either.
After I showed Cooper a small carving that I’d been working on, he gave me a square of Woolly Mammoth tusk to work with. Woolly Mammoths!!! This is insane. I’ve only just drawn the shape I want to turn it into. He invited me up to carve or fish with him sometime, and I’m anticipating that this weekend or next I’ll head back up to Masset and take him up on his offer.
Haida Gwaii is full of artists, and artists just have this tendency to be loving and supportive individuals. A very special haw’aa not only to Cooper, but to my parents for a Dremel with which to carve, and to Jags as well, who has also given me a piece of walrus ivory to work with. My Dremel will be buzzing away all weekend!
I’m still working on a post for the trip I took with a few friends down to Gwaii Haanas on the last Friday of reading break. It was a very powerful, soul-guiding experience, for which I am ironically still struggling to find the right words. I wish I knew more languages, English is just far too much to-the-point sometimes.
Anyways, haw’aa for the read, and for understanding my emotion in that last post, too. Here’s to the beautiful beginning of a very creative springtime!