Exploring Glass Art by Native Artists (Art Diary)

The Northwest Coast is a region in which an entrenched and highly valued artistic tradition flourished. Among the highly developed art traditions were basketry and carving. A special residency program at the Museum of Glass (MOG) in Tacoma, Washington, allowed traditional artists to explore the medium of Studio Glass.

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A special exhibit at MOG, entitled Transitions: An Exploration of Glass by Northwest Native Carvers and Weavers, featured the works of some of these American Indian artists.

According to the Museum display:

“Ancestors of the Salish Sea region continue to inspire and inform the next generations of artistic leaders and culture bearers. Translations represents a dialogue between familial generations, and continuing conversations about the evolution of indigenous art.”

In 2015, Native artists were invited to explore glass in a residency at MOG with expert glassblowers Dan and Raya Friday. Among the artists included in this special residency whose works were displayed in Transitions, were the artists of the Miller Family. Gerald (Bruce) Miller (subiyay) (1944-2005) was a renowned Skokomish artist, educator, and spiritual leader. He served as President of the Northwest Native American Basketweavers’ Association.

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Delbert Miller

Born in 1957, Delbert Miller (sm3tcoom) is a singer, carver, drummer, and keeper of the Skokomish tribal ancestral history.

 photo P1140973_zpsv2qhwosx.jpg Shown above is Remembering the Ancestral Law (2018). This is blown and hot-sculpted glass.  photo P1150011_zpsfmy1msvp.jpg Shown above is Sacred Doorway (2015-2018). This is blown and sand-carved glass, painted cedar.  photo P1140982_zpszgjyhiqo.jpg Shown above is Family Outing (2015-2018) by Delbert Miller and Jack-lyn Smith. This is blown and sand-carved glass and hair.  photo P1140984_zpswcp6lofc.jpg Shown above is Yayista (2015-2018) by Delbert Miller and Jack-lyn Smith. This is blown and sand-carved glass.

Jack-lyn Smith

Born in 1980, Skokomish artist Jack-lyn Smith (wa’xWupkaya) has worked in a variety of art media.

 photo P1150057_zpsa9ypa3j0.jpg hown above is Wealth Basket (2004). This is red cedar, raffia and cherry bark, and sweet grass.  photo P1150059_zpsk5em1krk.jpg Shown above is Shared Wealth (2014). This is birch bark, porcupine quills, black ash, and sweet grass.  photo P1150060_zpssotpmnjx.jpg  photo P1150052_zpsyskzof81.jpg Shown above is Untitled (2015) by Jack-lyn Smith, Edward John Smith, and Vera Smith. This is blown glass.  photo P1150054_zps7d6hywah.jpg Shown above is Salmon Gill (2015) by Jack-lyn Smith and Vera Smith. This is blown glass.

Tina Kuckkhan-Miller

Born in 1964, Tina Kucckan-Miller (Bidanakwadokwe) is the founding Director of the House of Welcome Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at The Evergreen State College. She is affiliated with both the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (enrolled) and the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

 photo P1140986_zpsujxdra0g.jpg Shown above is Doorway to the Sacred (2015) by Tina Kukkhan-Miller and Raya Friday (Lummi, born in 1977). This is blown glass.  photo P1140989_zpsqa2cniez.jpg Shown above is Vessel of Knowledge (2015). This is blown glass, wool felt, sinew, and glass marbles.

John Edward Smith

Born in 1973, John Edward Smith (tad3lct) is a master canoe-maker, carver, and weaver. He was raised on both the Skokomish and Makah Indian Reservations.

 photo P1140975_zpsmm9olgdo.jpg  photo P1140976_zpsldfkgvv9.jpg Shown above is Serpent (2015-2018). This blown and sand-carved glass.  photo P1140978_zpshgdjunga.jpg Shown above is Untitled (2015-2018). This is blown and sand-carved glass.  photo P1150008_zpsq8zt2tbx.jpg Shown above is Untitled (2015-2018). This is blown and sand-carved glass, maple, and yellow cedar.

Vera Louise Smith

Born in 2002, Vera Louise Smith (taqWitsa) learned the traditional Skokomish arts at an early age.

 photo P1140991_zps4c5fkjem.jpg Shown above is taqWitsa (2015). This is blown and sand-carved glass, maple, and yellow cedar.  photo P1140993_zpsszgxkvdy.jpg  photo P1140995_zpsrlrzcuum.jpg Shown above is Fox (2015). This is fused glass.

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