Skookumchuck Narrows, the West Coast body of water that inspired this intense, carved glass spindle whorl, is wild, dangerous and a magnet for thrill-seekers of all kinds. Located on the Sunshine Coast, at the entrance to Sechelt Inlet, this tiny section of water, known by locals as “the chuck,” is a remarkable example of nature’s version of extreme engineering. Every six hours, the unstoppable swell of the ocean tide attempts to push in through the narrow, rock-walled inlet, slamming straight into water thrusting in the opposite direction as it seeks to escape from the inlet. The result is a torrent of eddies and whitewater that has claimed the lives of numerous kayakers and other adventure-lovers over the years.
Because Susan Point and her family enjoy thrills, Skookumchuck Narrows is a favourite getaway spot. She explains, “We often challenge the narrows with our jet skis. It’s often terrifying.” The area also provides many quieter activities that the family equally enjoys. They fish, gather oysters and clams, and explore the immense beauty of the region, taking trips, by boat or jet ski, into Princess Louisa Inlet. “The inside inlets [Narrows Inlet, Salmon Inlet, Sechelt Inlet],” Point marvels, “are sometimes dead calm on the inside and small seal colonies and beautiful camping spots are found there.” The design of Skookumchuck Narrows accurately reflects the exhilaration that comes from encountering the wildest forces of nature. The central design, two sharks swimming in opposite directions, are included in the piece, because mud sharks, or dogfish, are often caught by the family when fishing. Surrounding the sharks are cresting whitewater waves and deep eddies or whirlpools, which are symbolized as smaller whorls with their centre holes completely piercing the glass. The overall effect, is heart-stopping.
—Susan Point as told to Vesta Giles
Coast Salish (Musqueam)
Susan began making limited edition prints on her kitchen table in 1981 while working as a legal secretary. She received several early commissions, which established her reputation for innovative proposals and for completing projects on time, on budget and at the highest level. She took courses in silver, casting and carving, all of which led to monumental sculptures in mixed media, and she was the first Northwest Coast artist to work in glass. She continues to release a number of print editions each year, but her focus has been on commissioned sculpture.
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