Broken Wing

Totem Pole

Regarding Totem Poles:

I have been mulling over ideas for glass totem poles for at least 2 or 3 years.  

I created the idea of the glass animal and pet totems that I custom make from a customer's photographs.  

I would love to see a full size mountain animal totem pole erected in my town and maybe some day I can get a grant or funding for a public art installation of one.


So, when one of the logs we carried home recently had a couple of sections that were of decent size in diameter and pretty darn straight I decided to take advantage. Keeping in mind that I wanted to be able to carry this piece easily to shows.

We cut a length about 32" then cut a flat face for most of the length on one side to apply the glass to.  I mulled over some ideas of what should be on my totem pole and looked at images online every evening.  I had originally imagined it with wild animals similar to what I have done in a smaller scale in the past.  But the faces I found online really took me to the crux of what I wanted - raw, bold colors and shapes.



I sketched out some faces and an eagle body.  Then I cut the glass to fit the shape of the wood.   Many traditional totem poles have an eagle or "thunderbird" on top. In this vein, I drew out an eagle head and wings.  The glass will be applied in segments with the head and wings added on in a unique way.  You will see as this progresses how it all comes together.  

Working on a flat surface as opposed to the artists and craftsmen that carve into the wood was more of a challenge than you might think.  It's hard to get the feeling of depth and shadow on a flat surface.  I am hoping the shading stage of my painting gets that feeling across.

For now, here is a taste of one of the segments in the making--


I should be finished with this totem in time to have it at my booth at the Art on the Lake show in Big Bear this coming weekend.  I will post more progress and finished pics here, but if you are nearby please come and let me know what you think.  Maybe this piece will speak to you or I can make another one that suits you.