10 April 2010

making totems

As of late, I have been really interested in Pacific Northwest and Native American heritage and art. I've always seemed to like the one thing that stands out the most (to me), totem poles. When we visit Disney's California Adventure, our favorite place is the Brother Bear playground. I love how it embraces the beauty of the outdoors and incorporates the rural look of wooden totems and such.

After watching X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I fell in love with the scenic views they had in the movie. Part of the movie takes place in Canada and they show this sprawling, panoramic view of the Rockies and my heart just swooned. After a little searching and reading things online, I finally decided I would draw my first totem. I completed it yesterday and quickly scanned and colored it. I have the original still, that I will work a little differently. I drew a wolf first, holding a mouse. Above him is a bear with a bee and hive and the top most animal is an owl. At the very top is the moon. I also began to think of simple totem crafts Nat and I could do together.

I found the meanings of different animals and such on this children friendly site, Paper Totem Poles. Since I've been sharing my love of wolves as late, I decided he would be the animal I drew first. According to that site, a few attributes (or symbolism) of the wolf includes intelligence and leadership. I had the wolf holding a mouse because it's attribute is the ability to notice the little things in life which I was particularly fond of. Next, the bear, which two of the attributes listed is motherhood and teaching. I also liked the story of bears transforming into lumbering humans to marry human princesses. The bee is for honesty, pure thinking, willingness and drive. The owl not just because they are my favorite but also for wisdom and the ability to see beyond normal view. Of course, too, I had to add the moon because the moon simply is beautiful to me.

I wanted to share some beautiful totem works I found via Flickr. Please click on them for link and credit:

Family totem poles

Family Totem Poles

Totem Pole

Totem Pole, Gingolx BC

Pioneer Square Totem Pole 1

Stanley Park Totem Pole 1

Yesterday evening, Nat and I began our first little totem craft made from a toilet roll (recycling too!). We both drew a bear and an owl, I drew on one side and she drew on the other. She colored while I began to make the wings which I later glue on through slots I made on the sides. I cute a square for a base and wrote a few things on the bottom of it:

I don't think in any way that I am done being inspired and influenced by these traditions. You may see some more work from me with these beautiful and time honored elements.


Helena said...

This is one of my favourites of your artworks! I have always been fascinated with totem poles as well and yours is positively spellbinding. I'm always in awe of your talent, my friend!

the wild magnolia said...

Totems draw us to them. They are mysterious and beautifully crafted. We know they are symbols of the indian life. They all seem ancient to me.

I love the totem you and your daughter made. The bear and the owl are our teachers. There is so much to learn from the indian culture.

Thanks for sharing.

andrea the pomegranates said...

thank you thank you ♥ ♥ ♥

Caitlin said...

What a beautiful little illustration. I just love the bear holding the beehive.

andrea the pomegranates said...

thanks so much caitlin!

Sparrow's Nest said...

I love this so much I think I want to get it as a tattoo! Is there any way you could post a color free just outlines version? Please, please, please!!! I want to experiment with different colors.