In First Nations tradition, the salmon, once so abundant off the West Coast, is believed to be the giver of life. As indicators of wealth, and the cycle of life, the fish are usually carved in pairs for good luck. As the salmon are now threatened, we as a society are only now realizing how lucky we are that they have survived this long. This image, titled Good Luck, illustrates traditional Salish carving style. Although it is an original Susan Point design, it is highly classical in nature.
Perhaps more than any other artistic method, the process of creating a reduction woodcut such as this one is as fascinating as the final outcome and requires a bit of luck on the part of the carver. In Good Luck, the full circle in the spindle whorl was printed first in a light tone of red. The central area between the two salmon, in this instance, was then carved away, and what remained was printed in a slightly darker shade of red. Finally, all the elements within the two salmon were removed, and the last uncarved areas were printed using a third, darker shade of red. For each colour, the wood plate is inked on the surface, revealing a relief image or texture. Any of the cuts, gouge marks or indentations from the carving process do not appear. Because each previous level is destroyed by the next, there is no chance to go back and make corrections in this process.
—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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