Cultural Fusion – Reading Material

Assignment 1 – Reading Material

Totem Pole IndiansMost of my extensive internet research has been recorded on each post as I’ve gone along, additional internet addresses are recorded on my two storyboards next to the photographs I’ve used from the sites.

The numerous libraries in my Shire had only one theoretical book that I could source relating to totems, unless I spent days scouring all the literature on Australian Aboriginal beliefs and customs which I had already done on-line and at the museums.

The book to the left was in the young adults section and described a lot about the Northwest Indians but little about their totems.American Indian Totem Pole

The picture on the right, from the book, shows an intricately carved pole and these were considered to be the most spectacular achievement of these artists.  This one features a raven at the top and other figures important in a clan’s mythological history.

Brown Bear totem designThey have carried their totem designs into blankets and clothing keeping the simplified, structured and layered look of the creatures as if they were still working on a long narrow pole.  On this woven blanket numerous interpretations of the bear can be seen, both large and small, intermingled within the geometric shapes.

Totem design tunicThe tunic here, made of mountain goat wool, is richly decorated and shows the geometric designs as per the blanket.

Whatever personal or clan totem creature has been adopted it is depicted both by carving traditional ceremonial poles and by being interwoven into practical everyday items.  Perhaps the thinking is that the more in evidence the creature, and the more reverence they give it, the more it will protect them.

The Clan of the Cave BearMy friend Judy told me about the book ‘The Clan of the Cave Bear’ by Jean M. Auel.  It came from my library as an audio book, unabridged over 20 hours and 10 minutes.  Whilst it is a novel, the detail of clan life and the importance of totems within the Cave Bear clan was compelling.

This is the first book in a set of six, collectively entitled the Earth’s Children Series, and is set around 30,000 years ago.  A full write-up of the book, and the rest of the series, can be read by clicking on the hyper-link in this paragraph.  For anyone with the staying power it is a fascinating and absorbing read.

Don E Beyer, The totem pole Indians of the Northwest. 1989.  No publisher acknowledgement.  Printed in the United States of America.  ISBN 0-531-10750-7
Jean M Auel, The Clan of the Cave Bear, Hodder & Stoughton, London. 1980.


About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
This entry was posted in Assignment 1: Cultural Fusion, Exploring Ideas: Books & Reading Material, Textiles 1: Exploring Ideas and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s