I'm posting this spoon first because I am so pleased with it. I have a real love for the art of North West Coastal First Nations artists. Aside from being astonishingly beautiful, it is invariable packed with symbolic meaning and 'back story'. Being a lovespoon carver who also uses his designs to 'tell stories', I find that aspect of various art forms very exciting and interesting.
But North West Coast art is NOT easy. To master it requires years of dedicated study and practice and a real knowledge of the stories and legends which go into it. Because I can never truly know how to create that art, I tend to enjoy it from afar. But this commission gave me the opportunity to have a stab at combining NW Coastal style with Celtic. To mask my deficiencies in the NW Coastal style, I kept that particular part of the design to a careful minimum...but I'm pretty confident with my Celtic knotwork and I let that become the bulk of the design.
My Eagle is fairly simple and straightforward and I very much hopes at least captures the essence of the NW style. The bird's wing combines the two styles as much as possible and makes heavy use of the 'stylization' which both forms use to great advantage.
The paddle shape is based on a Haida canoe paddle but is rendered with Celtic knotwork to lighten it visually. Elsewhere, the design relies heavily on Celtic knotwork and shaping for its form.
We took advantage of the surface found on the back of the eagle to include a very personal inscription which had significance to both the recipient of the spoon and the commissioner. Sometimes a little bit of text makes a nice, poignant surprise when the spoon is turned over!
I'm pretty confident I will never be a Bill Reid, but I am very happy with how this spoon has turned out and how I have managed to unite two very different art styles in this little spoon!