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Book Reviews

by W.F. (Bill) Judt

Learning by Doing: North Coast Native Indian Art
Learning by Designing: Pacific Northwest Coast Native Indian Art


Bill Judt is a full-time carver and teacher, author of two books on relief carving, owner of the Woodcarver List and the founding editor of WOM. Visit Bill's home page at wwwoodcarver.com or email him at bjudt@sk.sympatico.ca


Two new books of interest to woodcarvers have come to my attention. Their interest lies not in the manner in which they teach or illustrate woodcarving , for they don't do that at all. Rather, they illustrate the design concepts involved in creating the original and genuine Northwest Coast Native Art. Any woodcarver, using the concepts and images from these books, can design and carve unique pieces that accurately reflect this art form.

The first book, "Learning by Doing" presents a curriculum for teaching the basics of NW Native Indian Art, with the aim of training artists who can then work to revive this art form. The aim is to teach artists how to employ the abstract images of animals and spirits in nature to illustrate and interpret any story or legend. Over 300 black and white detailed illustrations and 32 photos enhance and clarify the straightforward instructions.

The second book, "Learning by Designing" is a reference book a catalog of sorts which seeks to organize and illustrate the wide range of two dimensional images that have evolved over the centuries in NW Native Indian Art. Artists can view and select images and shapes from this catalog for use in painting, sculpture, mask and relief carving.

Carvers who are serious about creating authentic NW Native Indian Art will want to purchase both the curriculum and the catalog. Together these will allow the carver to be "up to speed" on the cultural and artistic components of this art form.

Carvers who are interested in more casual carving, and who are less interested in producing authentic carvings will be quite happy with the second of these two books the catalog. It is full of 800 clear, detailed illustrations plus instructions on how to combine and connect these to produce excellent patterns for carving.

These two books are in black and white no color images. But don't let that dissuade you from considering them for your carving book library. These images work best in black and white, especially for the woodcarver who can then use the color indicators to properly assign color (usually red or black) to their finished carvings.

The quality of the drawings and images are excellent, and both are amply accompanied with detailed explanation. The authors have been careful to provide the reader with a description of the history, culture and geography of NW Native Indian Art. This is type of information is indispensable if one is to produce carvings that convincingly reflect this art style.

I intend to introduce my carving students to these books. No doubt, a few will see the potential in these books for producing beautiful, creative and evocative carvings. I am already excited to see what comes of this.

You can find out more about these books and the Raven Publishing at:
www.ravenpublishing.com/products.htm; email: artandculture@ravenpublishing.com

Learning by Doing Northwest Coast Native Indian Art
by Karin Clark and Jim Gilbert
PRICE: $29.95 Cdn. plus shipping / $19.95 US funds plus shipping
Durable soft cover, 160 pages.
Bulk discounts available.

Learning by Designing Pacific Northwest Coast Native Indian Art,
Volume 1 by Jim Gilbert and Karin Clark
PRICE: $34.95 Cdn. plus Shipping / $24.95 US funds plus shipping
Durable soft cover, 224 pages.
Bulk discounts available.

Call toll-free 1-877-333-0723 to place orders.

P.O. Box 325
5581 Horne Rd.
Union Bay, B.C. Canada V0R 3B0