"The Spirit Of Manoomin"
By way of a blog series called "REFLECTIONS OFTHE GREAT LAKES", accompanied by paintings, graphic art, and jewelry designs, my artistic partner Simone and I aspire to capture, and pay homage to, the spirit and beauty and majesty of GICHIGAMIIN, the Great Seas of the Anishinaabe People. A natural resource of immense proportions once respected, revered and held sacred, yet nowadays unappreciated by many, its ecosystem largely being exploited by a myriad of big mining corporations.
This “story bracelet” I made of sterling silver, 18K yellow gold, and turquoise; the piece has inlay of turquoise, white shell, mother-of-pearl, red coral, 14k and 18K yellow & red gold on the inside.
INLAY is a technique initiated by Native silversmiths from the American Southwest, in which a decorative pattern of stones or shell is set into the silver or gold interior or exterior of a piece of jewelry. Charles Loloma’s early "height bracelets" for instance were characterized by multi-colored relief patterns, with the inside of the same piece sometimes lined with intricate mosaic. Irregularities in sizes and shapes of decorative stones were equaled by free forms in the total pieces of this master jeweler, the old and the new always meeting in his sophisticated work.
It is a world that can best be visualized by closing one’s eyes and imagining the peaceful sounds of paddles slicing the calm waters of a lake on a quiet autumn night - or of bawa’iganaakoon, smooth cedar rice vanning-sticks, gently knocking on stalks of manoomin in the daytime.
This image of the startled bird visualizes the relationship between the waterfowl and manoomin and the People who so heavily depend on both.
Giiwenh. Miigwech gibizindaw noongom mii dash gidibaajimotoon.
So the story goes. Thank you for listening to me today, to let me tell you this story.
Image of painting: The Fire Within #2, detail, acrylic on canvas by Simone McLeod.
Click here to read #6 in the series Reflections of the Great Lakes.