As I write this post, my very first commission piece is sitting on a desk, ready to be wrapped and tucked under the Christmas tree. I had the pleasure of delivering it today, and I can’t wait to hear how it is received on Christmas Day!
The recipient is a film producer, a lovely woman that is in the middle of a film project called Raven Steals the Light. It’s a live action film interspersed with animated segments that are based on a traditional Haida myth also called Raven Steals the Light.
Her husband asked me if I would consider making a Haida style raven cuff for her, as a Christmas gift. I said yes, and then started doing some research. Haida style, sometimes known as Northwest Coastal art, is very specific style and I wanted to be respectful of the art form while paying homage to the story and the film.
I spent many hours researching and looking at a lot of gorgeous Haida artwork. This led to a few sketches and then, a final design. Modern Haida art utilizes many mediums, including glass, paper, canvas and precious metals. Haida artists traditionally worked in wood, stone and copper. Copper was the perfect material for this piece, and I had copper stock that was almost the perfect size, ready to go.
I chose a raven head, with patterning and lines influenced by the flow of traditional Haida design but not a true copy of a Haida piece. Raven is surrounded by a ring that represents the light he stole. On each side of the raven head are groupings of stylized eagle feathers, a nod to Eagle that pursued Raven in the myth.
The copper cuff was etched, then formed and patinated to bring out the design. Once final polishing was done, the piece was coated with successive layers of Renaissance Wax to protect the patina. The wax will also prevent the cuff from turning the recipient’s wrist green, a natural (but unwelcome!) reaction between the metal and the wearer.
I documented the creation of this piece from sketch to final polish.