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My Granny, my Mom, and my Grandpa in the puffin-beak apron
A Splash of Colour
Released March 2011
The splash of colour and the little penguin-like bodies make it hard to believe that these birds actually exist. The fact that they are only really found on remote rocky islands increases the rarity of witnessing them in their natural habitat. Yet, indeed, these little guys exist. In fact, there are three different species: Atlantic, Horned and Tufted. The Pacific Coast is home to two of the three. The tufted puffin almost looks like it has a blonde wig attached to its head, while the horned puffin, depicted here, lacks such flowing locks.
For First Nations on the coast, puffins were sought after for their colourful little beaks. They make such a melodious sound on aprons, leggings and occasionally rattles, that the trouble of obtaining them is offset by the pleasure of hearing them being danced. Before you jump to conclusions, however, and think that we massacred these poor “little brothers” for their beaks, it is important to point out that puffins are one of the rare birds that shed their beaks after mating. The bright orange plates on their beaks continually grow and fall off in order to attract mates.
My ancestors used to go to puffin nesting grounds and gather them up to use in their regalia. In fact, our family once owned a beautiful beaded apron with two facing grizzly bears. Below the bears were four rows of puffin beaks. It is now getting very rare to see or hear these little beaks danced at potlatches as art collectors have scoured families’ private collections to buy them up for their own perusal. When I see beaks on regalia, I think of the splash of colour that must festoon the bleak rocky nesting grounds each spring.
“A Splash of Colour” is a limited edition print using the giclée method of printmaking. This print was released in March of 2011 and printed by Andy Everson at Copper Canoe, the artist’s own studio in Comox B.C. A total of 109 prints bear the title “A Splash of Colour” and are signed by Andy Everson: 99 in the primary edition bearing the numbers 1/99 through 99/99; 9 Artist’s Proof; and 1 Printer’s Proof. The acid-free Moab Entrada 100% cotton rag paper measures 17x22 inches. Image size measures about 11.9x16 inches.