Quinault Spiritual Pole

Since June of this year I have been working with the Quinault Indian Nation on the Pt. Grenville Development. As part of that project we have planned three large totem poles. The first pole has been designated the “Spiritual Pole” and is being carved by James DeLaCruz Jr., a Quinault Artist. I have been working alongside James on this pole helping with some of the research and technical drawings to assist in the design process. The plan is to have a 100ft pole but with the high winds at the point it does concern me some how we will achieve that. I’ve also been working on the structural drawings for the house posts that will form the front of the carving shed as shown below. This system is based on research I have done observing the methods used by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in how they mount their poles. I like to think of these as 21st Century totem poles. The Spiritual Pole will use a similar mounting method but on a much larger scale.

Spiritual Pole at Pt. Grenville


Carving Shed House Post

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Haida Canoe

Been working on a larger model canoe, 6x6x28.5″ in dimensions. Blocked it out on a bandsaw at work and hand carved it. However it is a lot of material removal so I am testing out a new power carver to assist with some of the major material removal, especially with hollowing out the interior of the canoe.

Sept. 18, 2011

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Screen Printing Exposure Unit

Decided to try and build my own exposure unit after reading comments by other silk screen artists and t-shirt makers. Apparently the metal halide light is supposed to be superior to fluorescent tubes, lets hope this latest creation actually works.

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Model Canoe

Last night while my wife was visiting our neighbors I sat down and carved out this little model canoe (7×1.5×1.5). I’ve included some steps in its construction. The blocking out was done with a jig saw, but a scroll saw or bandsaw would have been much nicer. My next model canoe will be about twice this size, when things get too small they actually get harder to carve.

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Spoon Carving

This last weekend on Saturday, took the ferry across to Kingston and spent the day learning to carve spoons at David A. Boxley’s. I only managed to carve out two spoons while Sensei Boxley knocked out 5 in about the time I took to do the first one. Humbling but instructive. Whenever I visit Boxley I always come away with a lot more knowledge and a better appreciation of what it means to be a serious artist.

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Copper Pendants

I’ve already posted up a page on the main website explaining the details on the copper pendants I’ve been working on, but I thought I could give a bit more background here about what I find intriguing about these artifacts that are a part of our culture.

Coppers where made by almost all of the tribes up and down the coast but in particular they were used by the northern tribes. The general shape varies only slightly and is a flaring trapezoid with a round top with a lower straight section divided by a t-shaped form.

Coppers were essential to a number of rituals and were symbolic of wealth (supernatural power) and purity, the state of halayt. Coppers appear to have been made even before contact with the European nations. The copper was painted with black lead and the designed engraved through this coating.
Tsimshian Copper

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Pike Place Market

We started selling at Pike Place Market in December right before Christmas. It has been a bit of a rough start with a very rainy, cold spring but we are really looking forward to the summer and what it will bring. I started with my prints and art cards but we also started offering matted prints to fill the gap between the cards and larger prints.

Pike Place Market - Outdoor Table

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Festivals and a Research Paper

Attended the Muckleshoot Powwow in Auburn a couple of weeks ago. We did pretty good at this festival and had our art cards displayed for the first time. Hope to see a lot of people at the Day Break Star Pow wow coming up this next weekend.

Finally completed a small paper on an ovoid study I have been tossing around for almost a year. I normally vectorize my artwork in Autocad but I found that I was creating too many control points and occasionally creating lumpy ovoids, I needed a better way to do this. I still use Autocad for all of my vectorization work but I’ve now created a simple method of generating ovoid templates using Solidworks and its spline functions. A class I took with David Boxley back in 2007 also helped me clarify some of my own thoughts on the subject. His method of starting with a rectangle that eventually circumscribes the ovoid led me to setting up a similar rectangle with appropriate control points for a spline (NURBS) that creates the charateristic ovoid curve.

Ovoid created with a 4 point spline

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Spring 2010

It has been a while since I’ve posted and a lot has happened. In 2009 we attended and sold product at three different festivals. We also did the artwork for the logo for the Mukilteo Chocolate Company. At the same time I reworked my original crouching wolf design and finally got it to a point that I thought it was ready to be printed. I just got the first batch of prints today, hopefully they will do well. We also started working with a printer up in Victoria to do art cards. We now have 6×9 art cards available with all of my main designs. In Dec. 2009 I designed the first panel of a bentwood dish that Richard (my youngest brother) constructed and is painting. Now I just need to make time so that I can get the other three sides done. This month I have revamped parts of this website and have also put together my online store at Gear.medeek.com. I had originally set it up around Nov. 2009 using Magento (ecommerce shopping cart) however I was having serious performance problems with it so I took it down and have finally replaced it using Zencart. It seems to perform much better. Looking forward to some more festivals this summer.

Mukilteo Chocolate Company Logo

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2008 Summary

The lot has happened this year, where to start? This summer we finally got serious with the merchandising and started a new line of t-shirts. We did some silk screen t-shirts and some embroidered that we sold to the K’san up in Hazelton. Honestly the small embroidered Medeek shirts are my favorite, I guess I like to have subtle uses of the artwork. I also attended a couple of festivals this year and sold both prints and shirts at my little booth, that was fun. Met a lot of neat people and it was good exposure. Interestingly we also found our t-shirt model that way as well, crazy how things work out.

It has been a long time coming but I finally got a new print out after having a bit of a drought for well over a year. We printed the Wasco in October. Not sure on its reception just yet but we are hopefull it does well even in this rough economy. We printed it in three different color combinations with fairly low edition numbers. I don’t think the tri-color print will be around for long, that one is my favorite, the coloring came out amazing, thank Cindy and Rory for making it happen.

We also began to place more product with the native casinos here in Washington, we still have alot of work to do on that end but we have definetly opened some doors. Suquamish and Muckleshoot Casino both display both my prints and t-shirts.

I haven’t done much carving in the past so the beginning of this month I did a small carving to hone my abilities it was fun. I borrowed the design from the tail of my Wasco print. I really like the Killer Whale Drum design, and the carving came out pretty well considering it has been a long time since I’ve done any serious carving. Hopefully, I can find the time to do some larger pieces. I will say that it takes alot of work to make one of these pieces, especially to do it good. The biggest problem is just being careful so you don’t mess it up. Practice makes perfect…

This year has been a good year for us. Things were a little slower than this year due to the economy and the high gas prices during the summer months but overall I think we have accomplished alot. We are looking forward to an even more productive year for 2009. Our many thanks to our patrons, galleries, shops and all those who support and love the art of the northwest coast. Thank-you.

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Website Move and New Baby

I have finally moved my website off of the old NPSIS servers (previously owned web hosting company) and placed it on my new server. I should be adding new drawings and content in the near future now that I have unlimited space and complete access to my own server. I have also updated this blog software and will also be replacing the guestbook with something a little simpler and easy to use. Feb. 2, 2008 our 5th child was born: Edmond Matthias Wilkerson. My wife says he looks a lot like me. You can view picture of him and whole family at www.dropshots/cjwilkes

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Holiday Trip

Drove up to Whistler over the holidays, placed some prints with Black Tusk Gallery and finally met Bill owner of the Black Tusk, enjoyed our visit. The drive was really nice up until the road between Horseshoe Bay and Whistler, hopefully they get it finished before the Olympics. It was really nice to get out of the house with the kids, after being cooped up since christmas, I think we all needed to get out. Cindy is almost full term with Edmond so we had to cut the trip short even though I was hoping to stay over in Vancouver and take the kids to Stanley Park the next day.

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Move

Just finished moving from Lacey Washington. Unfortunately, our stay was quite brief but in a relatively short time this summer we have managed to work with a number of high quality galleries and shops. Most of my original prints are about half sold out now, so it is time to start looking at what comes next. I have a number of concepts I have semi-completed as well as other drawings that are not currently posted on the web. A number of these have some potential, it is just the choosing that is hard.

At the beginning of Sept. I started attending a carving class put on by David Boxley. I have already learned a significant amount of new material and things that I was previously unaware of within the artwork. David Boxley is definately a master of the craft and an excellent instructor, unfortunately my recent change in employment and subsequent move has really taken a toll on my attendance, hopefully I can get back with the class and continue where I left off.

I am particularily interested in learning more of the three dimensional carving as well as becoming more familiar with the two dimensional art form as well. I recently purchased a new set of carving knives from Kestrel Tools. I just need to finish assembling them now. I ordered them unassembled since I want to customize the handles some.

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Wasco Commission and Museum Exhibit

Alot has happened in the last couple of weeks.

First, my hummingbird and medeek print were both submitted and entered into the exhibit currently showing at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, WA. This is my very first exhibit, at least as a professional artist. My wife and I attended the opening and were impressed with the other entries and the overall layout of the exhibit.

Second, I received a commission to design a piece for a boat. The subject was decided to be a Wasco. The completed drawings are already listed in my concept gallery. As you can see I came up with two different concepts. The first concept was not long enough to fill the space properly on the boat so I stretch him out a bit and ended up reworking the tail and a few other elements. I’ve talked to quite a few people already about which one they like better and it seems to be evenly split. Adding the tertiary color (blue-green) was an after thought and as I have been studying the use of blue-green in the artwork recently I wanted to employ it in a few of my recent drawings.

Please feel free to email me with comments or suggestions on these two drawings and their two variations and which one you would prefer if you were to purchase it as a print or a card.

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Salmon Concepts

Started working on some different Salmon concepts this weekend. I’ve been collecting different salmon ideas from various artists, so far I like Bill Reid’s salmon the best and also a salmon design done by Robert Davidson, hence my first concept looks similar to Bill Reid’s famous “Skaagi”. However, I am looking for a design which better represents the movement and dynamics of the salmon. I will continue creating more sketches until I have achieved this.

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Yet another Trip

This weekend we drove up to Port Townsend and visited with Ancestral Spirits Gallery, it looks like the season is starting to get busy, we could barely find a parking place. We visited the Chetzemolka Park with the kids, it was a bit windy but Miriam had fun collecting shells and being scared by the crabs. This week I will be taking a break from sales and concentrating on completing some of the concepts that I have been working on. I am hoping to pull some new prints in May if my work schedule will allow me to get away for a few days.

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Weekend Trip

This last Saturday and Sunday we spent some time on Vancouver Island visiting the I-Hos Gallery in Comox and the Campbell River Museum in Campbell River. We received a warm reception and were able to place some prints in both respective galleries. On Sunday we travelled to Whistler and were also able to place some prints in the Path Gallery as well. On our way back we stopped in Horseshoe Bay and let the kids play at the park in front of the Spirit Gallery.

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Move Complete

We have finally completed our move to Olympia and are getting settled in. I have visited some of the local galleries here and in Portland and placed prints with them. I will start working on some new designs this coming week and also plan a trip for the Prince Rupert / Ketchikan area later this spring.�

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Trip to the Northwest

I am currently in Vancouver, almost finished with my first sales trip to the Seattle/Vancouver/Victoria area. I am amazed at the number of native art galleries and stores there are here. So far the reception has been quite positive. I have been able to sell or consign quite a few prints. Tomorrow I will be visiting a few more galleries in North Vancouver and possibly one store in Tsawwassen. If I have any prints left I will visit Victoria again and visit a few more galleries there as well. Unfortunately during the trip I have been suffering from a nasty cough but I have still managed to accomplish quite a bit.

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Packaging

Working on packaging some of the new prints today. Each prints comes with a signed COA that is numbered and stamped, as well as a short bio and legend. Assembling all of this is quite tedious but it is kind of fun to see the complete package come together. Ordered in pre-cut cardboard backers for the 30″x6″ and the 15″x18″ prints. I tried cutting the backers myself but this was sufficiently difficult that I decided to pay a little extra and order them in pre-cut.

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More New Prints

Just finished printing the Killerwhale in (Black and Red) and (Black and Blue). I will be adding these new prints to the site in the next few days. We have printed quite a bit in the last couple of months so now it is time to concentrate on sales. We will probably not print anymore until March or April. I will also be taking a trip to Vancouver, B.C. Canada in the next week or so to do some marketing and to visit some different gallerys up that way.

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New Prints

Wednesday evening we finished printing the abstract piece (Black and Red), we also printed the hummingbird (Gold and Copper) on black paper. Registration on the hummingbird was critical and getting it just right was tedious, but the results were worth it.

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New Blog and Recent News

Just installed this new blog software. Thought it might be kind of cool to keep a sort of online journal of what I’m working on and what I’m doing in addition to posting some of my concepts into the gallery.

Trying to finish a batch of prints (Killer Whale and Abstract) sometime next week. I’ve taken a bit of a vacation over Christmas and New Year’s so its time to get back to work and get some new drawings put together.

I’m also hoping to take a trip up to Vancouver sometime this month to place some of my prints in galleries throughout town. Not sure what the reception will be like but at least that is the intent.

Any thoughts or comments on this let me know.

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