Totem animals - only for the person it is intended...

>> Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Wolf is the Teacher

"The Wolf is the Teacher" - By Melissa Muir. Done in Prismacolor Art Pencils, ink and watercolor. June 2006

Generally when I make a picture, or painting, I make it especially for the person that it is intended for. I take a trait that I see in them, and help their totem come forward.

Totem animals are from Aboriginal culture. Some people are familiar with this concept, some know it as a spirit animal. However you know it (or don't know it), please keep in mind that totems are not to be taken lightly. These are spirits that are here to help you, whether you are aware of it or not. They can be your favourite animal, or one that seems to be around you all the time. Even ones that you are scared of, can be your totem. Sometimes they stay with you forever, some are just there for the particular time in your life and may be replaced with another animal. Remember, they are there to help you when you need guidance. For more info, click here.

The picture of the Wolf is for my friend and collegue, Daryl. I worked with him for two years at my school, and he is one of the best teachers I have ever worked with. We got along really well, talked about a lot of stuff, and he understood alot of the stuff that I was going through during that time, as he had experienced the same thing. He accepted a higher position within the school system, but that meant he had to move to another school. When I heard that, I was happy for him, but very sad, as I would be losing a friend at the school that I would interact with everyday. With that I knew I had to make him a picture.

Since Daryl was a teacher, I figured that the Wolf would be the totem for him. After finding more info about the Wolf, I realized that I found the perfect one. The Wolf isn't just about being a teacher, it's about being willing to be able to teach the hard lessons in life. To be able to incorporate a sense of family where ever you go. Being able to take the lead; be strong and have the intelligence and wisdom to know when you are needed and what is needed from you.

Kller Whale & Wolverine"Killer Whale & Wolverine" by Melissa Muir. Done in Acrylic and Pearl Ex powders. April 2007

This painting is for my friend and collegue, Adam. Previously, he had seen some of my doodlings, and was interested in a painting of a killer whale, or something that would convey "Warrior" or "Soldier". I had that in the back of my mind, while I worked on another project.

Then came the news, Adam was resigning from his teaching position to take a full-time position with the Canadian military. He was a reservist before, and it was his dream to get into the military full time. That was a major shock. I was in his classroom, this past school year, so I got the opportunity to get to know him better as a teacher and person. Adam is a wonderful teacher, and very disciplined with his students. He was always ready to joke around with the kids, and the staff, and had no qualms about letting someone know if something was not right. The staff lost a great teacher, but Canada gained a great defender.

Our school had a big farewell thing for him. Students, parents, media, mayor and members of Parliment were there. Adam was floored. We all wanted to say goodbye to him, and to tell him to take care of himself (Afgahnistan being fresh in our minds). Former students came and teased him about some of the stuff he taught them, others sang songs, others just told him how he impacted their lives.

I knew I had to give something to Adam. I remembered that he wanted a Killer Whale, but I didn't think it really conveyed the warrior sense he wanted. I thought about it, and recalled that one of the fiercest animals on earth is the Wolverine. I researched more about them, and realized that instinctively Adam knew that one of his totems was a Killer Whale, while the other I realized was his warrior-self, the Wolverine.

The Killer Whale holds the teachings of fearlessness, beauty, power and balance. It conveys a hidden creativity that should be brought forth. Also a strong sense of family is tied with it.

The Wolverine is a master Teacher, a survivor, defender of what is right. Encourages you to pursue your dreams, and promotes courageousness, and cleverness.

I wanted this to be in the North West Coast Aboriginal style, since it had a whale in it. I researched long and hard, studied every piece of art I could find in this style. I am really proud of this painting, as it made me stretch my skills, and I used a medium that I was unfamiliar with.

To the recipients of my paintings, may your totems guide you, listen to them and heed them well.


My beginning pieces...

Freshwater Pearl Herringbone Set These sets are my very first ones I had ever made! They turned out great, and are now part of some one else's life. They were part of a silent auction for "Kids Fishin' for a Cure" social, part of the Cancer Care Manitoba Foundation. We have this event every year, and it is always a great success!

This first one is my Freshwater Pearl Herringbone set. Made with 8mm White freshwater pearls, 4mm Swarovskis in Crystal, 3mm Sterling silver Stardust beads, and 24 guage Sterling Silver wire, with Cubic Zirconia headpins. It turned out beautiful! It has received many compliments. I love the pearl and silver look. The wrap around the pearls is called "herringbone", hence the namHarem Sete. I learned this technique from Eni Oken's site. She has a number of tutorials that you can drool over!

This one is called my Harem set. It has a bit if the exotic vibe going on. I used a pattern from Artistic Wire, but modified it because I didn't like the sqiggly thing on it. Then I made earrings to match. It came out very well!
Made with 22 gauge Sterling silver wire, 3mm Sterling silver Stardust beads, Turquoise chips, wood heishi beads, and Coconut round beads.

Whoever's got them I hope they enjoy them!


I had better put some Jewelry on...

>> Monday, July 30, 2007

Spiral Pendant Since this is about my jewelry, I had better post some!

This piece is my Spiral Pendant. It's my first time doing wire wrap with anything. I just studied pictures mostly to figure out how to do this technique when I started out. My greatest inspiration was/is Eni Oken.

This is made with 20 gauge Sterling Silver wire, with 24 gauge Sterling Silver wire to make the wrapping. Swarovski bicone crystals (4mm) in Cantaloupe, Crystal and Rose. White, and dyed cranberry freshwater pearls complete the circle. Diameter is 4.8 cm (1 7/8 inch).

I got hooked onto this type of jewelry making over the 2006 Christmas holiday season. I was very sick from about November to almost February, and I wasn't allowed to do anything! Not that I could, just walking around had me coughing my brains and lungs out. Eww.

I had strung beads before, as I have a scar on my neck from thyroid surgery, and store bought necklaces didn't hit the right place to cover it. But as I was sitting / covalescing on the couch, I wanted to do something more. So I surfed the web...ALOT. I found examples, and tutorial, and a wonderful forum where people got together to talk about jewelry making.

I think I found my passion!


Well here goes...

Rock Wall LoonI think I will start off with a couple of pictures of a mural that I did where I work. This is only a small part of a bigger mural, which measures 26' x 10'. I didn't post a bigger one because, the pictures that I took of it were horrible. So I only took pictures of different portions of the mural.

The mural is for a rock wall at the Junior High, where I work as an educational assistant. The Vice-Principal wanted an image where the students could gauge where they are while climbing the rock wall, but wanted something that would reflect the school. I was really excited to do this mural. It was a big job, bigger than I have ever done before. I wanted it to be colorful, and full of Aboriginal symbology. Our Junior High has a high Aboriginal population, so I wanted to incorporate this within the school. Also it didn't hurt that I am of Aboriginal descent myself . It doesn't have a title unfortunately. Maybe someday. Mineral. Plant. Animal. Human.

This image here with the man, animal, plant and rock are from a Hopi Indian legend.

"There was the cycle of the mineral, the rock. There was the cycle of the plant. And now we’re in the cycle of the animal coming to the end of that and beginning the cycle of the human being. When we get into the cycle of the human being, the highest and greatest powers that we have will be released to us. They will be released from that light or soul that we carry to the mind. But right now we're coming to the end of the animal cycle and we have investigated ourselves and learned what it is to be like an animal on this earth."

-by Lee Brown, 1986
Continental Indigenous
Tanana Valley Fairgrounds, Fairbanks, Alaska

I really identified with this particular legend. I feel that everyone has the potential to reach their highest goals. I work with so many students who feel that they aren't worth it, or they're stupid, but they are not. I wanted that to be a symbol at our school, that with a little guidance you can do it.


Time to get this show on the road...

Okay first ever blog post. Just trying the thing out. Hopefully this will do what I need/want it to do. I plan on blogging things about my artwork, past and present pieces. Also, I want to showcase my jewelry that I have done. When I get organized, you'll see some pictures up here!!


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