Title: Hummingbird and Bear Bentwood Box
Artist: David Neel
Release: May 2017
This design depicts a traditional legend of a hummingbird, who, while out gathering nectar from flowers, encountered a bear. This bear was something of a bully, and wouldn’t allow the hummingbird to get near the flowers. Hummingbird tried again and again but bear blocked her every time. Frustrated, hummingbird gathered some twigs and flew inside the bear’s nose and down into his stomach, where she used the twigs to start a fire and then flew back outside. With smoke wafting from his nose and mouth bear ran into the forest and never bothered hummingbird again. This legend teaches us that even great obstacles can be overcome.
The design is in the shape of a cedar bentwood box, which were widely used by all the tribes on the Northwest coast. They were used as storage containers, cooking vessels and were stacked to serve as walls inside the big-house. The sides were made from a single red cedar blank that was “kerfed” so that it could be steam bent and would be water tight. The lid was often decorated with operculum shells that were inlaid in a pattern. The boxes were painted with elaborate designs that are the foundation of Northwest Coast Native “flat design.” David Neel has studied extensively the work of the master artists on the early bentwood boxes, which has influenced his hand engraved jewelry designs, and inspired the design for this print.
Printed at Wachiay Studio, Courtenay, B.C.
3 colours on Stonehenge 245 gm acid free 100% cotton
Size: paper 22x27.5 inches, image 18x22.5 inches
Edition: 70, Artist Proofs: 7, Printer Proofs: 2