Totems erected, each one marking a story.
My Totem Poles are made out of components as opposed to traditional monuments that were carved out of single tree trunks. Not having access to a kiln large enough to fire the entire totem pole as a single piece I made individual ceramic cylinders to be assembled on completion. I used each cylinder to experiment with different surfaces and textures. Some are build using handmade coils allowing movement and uniqueness of form. Others appear more uniform having been extruded using templates that predetermine their size and shape.
I experimented with an unconventional firing technique using an outdoor, handmade barrel kiln. Copper oxides and coarse salt yielded surface colours of red, ochre and peach while sawdust and wood produced black and greys from carbonization. These colours create a sense of decay, rust and weathering.
Research revealed that totem poles are carved and erected for different reasons. Some tell a story, others celebrate a person’s life, honor the dead or symbolize family ancestry.
The making of my Totem Poles was a process of healing. Through engaging with repetition of form, mark making and employing variations of the same technique I found that the slowing down of time gave space for meditation. By assembling the individual components I erected a monument to mark my story.