Posts Tagged “Isabella”

Bill McLennan talking with Stan Bevan and Chaz Mack

Bill McLennan talking with Barry Sampere, Stan Bevan, Chaz Mack and Ken McNeil

Bill McLennan is an author, project manager and curator for the UBC Museum of Anthropology. He gave a talk today for the students at Freda Diesing School for his exhibit on Charles and Isabella Edenshaw. It was quite informative. Bill displayed photos of bracelets, spoons, weavings and mats by Charles and Isabella, indicating methods that he has developed to verify the authenticity of Edenshaw’s works. Though I won’t go into detail on this, but it was quite interesting.

Bill McLennan

Bill also knows quite a great deal on traditional paints and pigments. He answered my questions on the use and substance of yellow, white and blue pigments in traditional work. Much of what Bill spoke of was not in his book: The Transforming Image. Bill described many of the traditional pigments and binders used. Bill told us that blue earth, used for blue paint, was worth about $20 for a thumbnail in the early 1900’s; that’s about $500 if you consider an inflation rate of 3% a year. It was expensive stuff and usually only used by simoghets–chiefs.

A list of other pigments that were not commonly used were clam shells for white, mercuric oxide for yellow and cinnebar for red. Perhaps this is a good thing, as the last two are considered to be accelerators for parkinson’s disease and a number of other neural disorders.

Bill describes in his book the method that he developed for recovering images from patina covered artifacts: infrared film. Bill mentioned that mineral based pigments tended to show up on IR film much more clear than “trade pigments” from China and Europe. Mineral based pigments, if you’re careful, seem to be better paints than many of the modern paints used. This was also clear from observing the old poles at Gitanyow, where some blue-green and white paint was still on some of the poles.

Dean Heron and a student Getting Ready for the TAG exhibit

Dean Heron and a student getting ready for the TAG exhibit

Also, I am preparing for a group exhibit at the Terrace Art Gallery next month.  The opening is on Friday at 7pm at the Terrace Art Gallery.  This will be a good show.  I have seen some of the work already and it has surpassed my expectations.

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