A fascination with totems

 Totems #3 - 10"x20" cotton, dye, thread  Photo credit: Scott Massey Photography

Totems #3 - 10"x20" cotton, dye, thread

Photo credit: Scott Massey Photography

For most of my life I’ve been fascinated by West Coast First Nations design. As a teenager I traced images of ovoids, u shapes, crescents and others, carefully filling them in with my fountain pen and black India ink. I love the juxtaposition of the stark contrast of the figures with the inspiration of elements from the natural world.

Spending summers on my family’s sailboat meant we visited many First Nations villages, most of which were abandoned, the beautiful totems at these sites falling into disrepair with the exposure to the sun, the wind and the inevitable rain.

For years these totems have been on my mind, the memory of them waiting patiently to find a place in my work. I’ve created the first 4 in my new Totems series, working to capture the powerfully haunting, yet stately presence of west coast totems. I hope you’ll enjoy these artworks.