Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

On the Edge (2000)


As the title suggests, this spindle whorl piece explores the delicate nature of pushing boundaries, as depicted by two mountain goats poised on the edge of a craggy cliff. It illustrates a moment of decision and commitment. The precarious nature of this decision depicted in On the Edge is symbolized by the fragility of the glass whorl anchored, with only a light stainless-steel spindle, through to the rough and unforgiving base fashioned from Texada marble. The face of the woman in the centre of the design, the weaver tying all of these elements together, is in keeping with Salish tradition, as whorls from the time of European contact often, but not always, contained a human component.

Each of the elements in this piece symbolically relates, through function, to other elements. The spindle whorl was traditionally used to spin wool from mountain goats into yarn. The mountain goats need to challenge the stability and treachery of the mountain to find food. The spindle whorl must be able to spin freely and delicately, precisely balanced and without security to be effective. For each, the success of the relationship is never easy or guaranteed. For those of us exploring On the Edge in the relative comfort and safety of a gallery or book, testing extreme limits and pushing boundaries is merely a theoretical concept. For the mountain goat, however, it’s part of life.

—Susan Point as told to Vesta Giles

Susan Point

Susan Point


Coast Salish (Musqueam)

(1952- )

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.