July 23, 2012

Isabel Rorick Spruce Root Weaving: Bear Paw Rattle

Prominent Haida weaver Isabel Rorick is well-known for her beautiful spruce root weaving and has been creating pieces since the mid-1960s, when she first began learning from her grandmother, Selina Peratrovich. Her work has been featured in Sharon Busby's Spruce Root Basketry of the Haida and Tlingit, a book describing the history and techniques used in spruce root weaving.

Isabel begins her spruce root baskets and hats with a three-ring pattern skip stitch, which represents her three sons. This pattern is her signature and continues to be featured in all of her works. Over the years, we have seen a number of Isabel's pieces pass by through our gallery, including her Spring Emerging rattle that was included in our 25th Anniversary Show, Silver.

Rattles, along with drums, are the main percussive instrument used during ceremonies. Traditionally, the sound of rattles is said to contain magic and may be used to calm and tame wild dancers during some ceremonial performances. 

Currently in the gallery we are carrying one of Isabel's spruce root rattles, titled Bear Paw. The story behind this piece is a playful embodiment of a Bear during berry season. The darker design, woven with maidenhair fern, represents a Bear paw track as he searches for berries. A band of three-string twining represents the sky, a band of two-string twining represents the earth and the triangular shapes along the rattle head represent salmon berries, as do the garnet stones. The handle of the rattle is carved from yellow cedar and is adorned with abalone inlay. This piece measures 6 1/2" x 3" x 3" and is available for $6,400.00 CAD.

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