Friday, October 26, 2012

altar art

a tribute to my mother and father
Pictured above is the altar that I am displaying at Out North Contemporary Playhouse in Anchorage for the celebration Dia de Meurtos that is currently open to the public.  The altar is a tribute to my parents.  You can see the many pipes that my father smoked and collected.  (Ken, my husband, made the beautiful wooden showcase to highlight the pipes and it is the first time shown in public.)  My mother, Jacqueline, was an avid knitter and a master seamstress.  One of her sweaters is featured in the photograph as well.
detail of the altar
My parents met in Switzerland during WWII.  My mother was born in the French part of Switzerland, Lausanne, and as a war bride, my father wound up taking her back to the states to his home town in Albany, New York.  I was born there too and several years later we moved to the Jersey Shore.  My father was an historian, a linguist and free thinker.  He studied theology where he obtained his PhD at New York University.  The bottom photograph shows them lounging in the countryside of Switzerland.  They were both superlative mentors/parents in my life and I love having the opportunity to dedicate a tribute to their couple.
my parents in Switzerland

Monday, October 15, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

a manifest gift

Never in a million years would I think to be butchering and quartering a moose; removing fat from the meat, grinding it and packaging it into sausages and other cuts made into potential romp roasts, crock pot flanks, fajita strips, and steaks.  Some of the meat has been store processed into specialty jerky and moose bacon. At the end of the harvest, we yielded four hundred and seventy eight pounds of moose flesh!  This took us a week to complete in between our other work.

preparing and prepping the meat
As an artist, I cannot say I enjoyed the entire process but remained neutral most of the time, almost in awe by this activity; seeing the immense heart of the animal, the fantastic ligaments that hold the flesh intact on it's legs, the tongue and the deep, rich burgundy color of the moose revealed it's dense and powerful aura of life.  It is very easy to be hypocritical in this matter especially if you are a meat eater but it was the awful blood shot caused by the bullet which was unsettling to me.
flying into the hunting area, 20 miles northeast of Farewell Lakes, the party stayed at an unnamed lake off the South Fork of the Kuskokwim River
There are restrictions to what you can hunt; the age of the animal, the antler size for example can sometimes make this activity slim picking and am told that these animals often starve to death after many years in the wilderness.  Licenses and permits are expensive for hunters.  If you get a bear for example, once you skin it, the hide and skull must be turned into the Fish and Game Department.  I often hear that it is the idea or concept of going out and experiencing the pursuit that makes it interesting while many times people come up empty handed.  Salmon fishing is accessible to all Alaskans making it an easy bounty and hunting game is the trickier circuit.

Noah carrying the antlers back to camp
When I moved up here from Los Angeles, I never had a clue about subsistence living.  The Native Alaskan has been fishing and hunting for centuries. I am not a hunter and don't promote this activity, however there are reasons for hunting that exonerates this action.  At the time of the killing, Natives give thanks for their reward from the land and feel that this capture was intended for them.  There is great reverence and respect to the fall of an animal.  I feel this way too and give great thanks to the creator for providing us with a life while deepening my spirit.