Collaboration is a unique work that demonstrates its title on different levels. Separately, the whorl and the woven blanket are outstanding works of art. Together, they become something exceptional. They tell a story about two opposites coming together in a working, balanced relationship.
Perhaps the most obvious collaboration is that the piece depicts a large wooden spindle whorl piercing an intricate Salish weaving. The traditional function of a spindle whorl is to spin wool into yarn for weaving. This piece is an example of the relationship between the tool and the final product it is used to create. On a more human level, it is also the result of a collaboration between Susan Point and her niece, Krista Point, a prominent Coast Salish weaver. The incisions within the whorl shape, which allow for more interaction with the woven design, depict two human head silhouettes, illustrating Susan and Krista working together toward a common goal. Two works become one, as do these two unique artists.
Collaboration also achieves a strong balance between the hardness of the wood and the soft, supple nature of the weaving, between the round shape of the whorl and the square of the textile, and between the personalities of the two artists. Krista Point has been weaving for nearly twenty years. Inspired by traditional designs found on baskets and woven pieces in the collection of the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology, she has become skilled at combining a strong sense of Coast Salish style with her personal aesthetic. She is particularly fond of the dominant zigzag pattern used in this and other pieces. “It has a few different meanings—a trail or a snake as well as lightning,” she says. “It has a lot of strength and power.” As seen in the border of the weaving, Krista uses the Salish butterfly pattern in most of her weavings. To find the perfect colours for the patterns, Krista hand-dyes her yarns, using natural dyes derived from onion skins, dandelions, goldenrod flowers, stinging nettles, horsetail, red onion skins, red alder bark and even lichens. “The colours,” she describes, “are energy forces that affect us positively or negatively, altering our moods and awareness.”
“As the years go by, I’m more and more inspired by the many different designs I have used on the blankets, shawls, bags and pillows,” Krista explains. “Every project I do is special to me and I strive to do better with each one.”
—Krista Point as told to Vesta Giles