NATHAN GILLESTOTEM POLE
Description of the Totem Pole...
Fred wanted to carve a mask that would represent his Mom, siblings, himself and the Chookaneidee Clan they belong too. As Fred was thinking about the symbols and stories that he could draw from, He decided on a story of How the Chookaneidee earned the right to use the Devilfish.
Fred carved a small mask of a Human face with the Devilfish on its forehead and tentacles hanging down where the hair would be. He used this mask as a prototype for the larger mask. The larger block of cedar gives more room to tell the story. Fred chose a cedar block that is 4ft tall, 30 in. wide , and 19 in deep. This extra room allowed him to add all 8 Tentacles with options of how they'll be carved. The larger mask will have elements of the smaller mask, but it's going to have a look of its own. Now the fun begins! True to his method of carving! This mask was going to be no different
This is a picture of the Tlingit Kaa or Tlingit man face.
Fred carved the Tlingit Kaa's face (Human) first, then started on the Devilfish lay out. As he carves there are areas where he stops to to think about next move. He calls this "Finding my Way".
He carved the tentacles down to the eye area of the humans face on both sides. When Fred carves, he talks about getting into a Creative zone. While in that zone, 3 hours can go by and you wonder where did time go?
Inspiration often comes while carving. It also comes through Dreams & Visions, all a part of the creative process.
Fred & his Son Seexwait Fred Jr. standing next to the Devilfish mask.
This is a good picture to explain how the tentacles design evolved through inspiration. They started out going to be straight like the small mask. But with all the extra space Fred didn't want to waste it, so he decided to curve them wrapping around. As they took shape, circular area's were created. These areas when cut out create negative space. Fred decided to leave them and carve small spirit faces.
Carving the Suckers
The simplest design is to cut circles to imply suckers. Next option, after the circles are cut, carve the tentacles down around the suckers, this will pop them out. Option 3 is to carve the suckers concave like in the picture. Option 4 is to add Abalone to the suckers. Fred chose all 4 options.
Using clamps to patch areas that need it.
Picture shows tentacles final design before painting. As well as the abalone inlay.
There was this Devilfish that would swamp canoes and claim lives of the Hoonah people.
A Chookaneidee man named Kaa Kooch decided to go after it and end these killings.
When he got to the waters where the Giant Octopus reined. He tied Daggers to his hands. The Devilfish swamped his canoe and they fought each other, both dying in the battle. Kaa Kooch had cut through the ink sack during the battle . When they retrieved his body it was covered in black ink.