Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cover your eyes, its a mask!

 Hi everyone! It has been a while since I actually sat down and wrote, but things are finally starting to slow down as Thanksgiving break rolls on through. I've been keeping busy with art shows and more projects to work on; my dragon was displayed in the "Great day in the country" fair here in my home town. I was very excited about seeing my art work in a show, along with many others from around the county... but to my disappointment someone broke my dragon. I am going to invest in some serious heavy duty super glue this weekend and try to fix what was damaged. Other than this I have been working hard for my All-County flute auditions which I had on Thursday. I did very well, probably the best I have ever done .. I think it was because I did not get nervous. I find out if I made it into the band on Monday; either way I am happy to end my flute season on a "good note"! In my art class we have just begun a new project. My teacher told us to make a mask that we can either wear or put up for display on a wall. The mask is supposed to be an historical piece and we are to look at ancient masks as references. Since I am just a little bit (by a little bit I mean less than that) Cherokee Indian on my mom’s side I decided to look at some Native American masks. My very distant ancestors created masks that resembled the images of bears, wolves, buffalo and otters, and they were used to appease the animal spirits. They were often worn in dance ceremonies conducted before the hunt, to ensure that the hunt would be fruitful. The Native American people have always had a special place in their hearts for the bear. The bear represented a symbol of power, strength, learned humility, motherhood, teaching, healing and even dreaming. By Northwest Native American tradition, a bear that is killed by hunters is taken to the house of the tribe's chief and treated like a guest of honor. Eagle down is sprinkled on the bear as a welcoming gesture. Dances and prayers are made to the bear's soul in order to ensure that no harm would later come to the hunters. One of the most widely told Haida legends is that of the Bear Mother. She was a daughter of a tribe's chief who fell in love with and married a young handsome bear who was the nephew of a great bear chief. After the birth of twin bear cubs, the Bear Mother's brothers killed her bear husband during a hunt. As a result, the tribe agreed to use the bear as their crest which is how the bear clan started. This agreement maintained good relations between the bears and humans. The twin cubs, who had the ability to transform from bears to humans at will, became guardians of the land's people. The bear clan became one of the most respected of all Northwest Native American clans. The mask I am working on is going to be a mixture between ancient Native American works and current, I want to be sure to include a lot of the same style as the ancient people but at the same time I want it to be of my own work. Here are some pictures I’ve taken along the way, as well as some of the traditional Native American masks. I hope you enjoy them and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
  - Heidi

                        Here are some traditional Native American masks.

A painting by a Cherokee artist, it is called "Two Bears"

Here is my mask. Now that I have the shape I plan
on engraving some Native American looking designs 
on one half of the face and leaving the other side natural.

My art teacher always has us sketch out our design
before we actually start in clay.

Here is a penguin I made for fun to match the new snowy
background on my blog : ). He is only 2.54 centimeters tall,
holding a sled and chilling on my miniature easel.


  1. So sorry about your dragon.
    You mask and illustrations are amazing. I can't wait to see it all finished.