Labor of Love

Laresa's used drum by Gert

While I have been working on taking photographs of all the artwork that will be going into a show this coming fall, I have been surprised by the sheer volume of work that my mother and her family of artist’s have at their fingertips.  This piece, an Unangan drum, made by my mother for my daughter,  shows Gert’s brilliant workmanship; each component of this musical instrument is a work of art in and of itself.  The drum consists of a piece of bent wood to form the drum head.  The drum handle, ingeniously attached, was crafted from wood and ivory.  The drum, itself, is a piece of worked goat hide, placed on the drumhead in such a way that the skin can be adjusted to accomodate humidity, thus keeping the tone that you want.  The drum stick was made from a searched out piece of driftwood, covered by a piece of soft leather.  The paint for the drum is red ochre, made by grinding the stone and mixing it with a medium.  Brachiopods, collected from our beaches, decorate the handle and add their own sound.  The design on the skin is a traditional Unangan design.  The smudges on the skin were made by my daughter as this is a drum that is used for singing in Unangam tunuu and dancing our history.

Carve

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAvia Daily Prompt: CarveCarve

Lined up around the edges of the studio, rough cut stone takes up the under spaces along the walls.  Under the finishing desk, mounds of stone hunker down, seemingly forgotten.  Under the ledge that acts as a shelf.  Bone and wood haphazardly stacked on shelves along the wall.  A moistened finger brings out the color of the stone… a piece of soapstone with the colors of jade.  Back in the corner, a find of alabaster.  I am always fascinated when she “sees” something in a clump of stone; amazed that she won’t pull a piece out until her vision is clear.  How does her mind work to decide to make that first cut with the handsaw, taking off the stone she won’t use?  Completely self-taught, she finds a balance, not only in literally making the stone stand on its own, but in the other materials that she brings to the carved stone, each piece a brilliant carving in its own right; each piece a part of herself, the story she is telling about her people, past and present, and the environment in which she thrives.