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A New Wheel

June 24, 2013

raven wheel

raven wheels

During my years as an easel painter, I often drew from culture and art forms of the Tlingits of southeastern Alaska.  My wife is half Tlingit and I was honored to be adopted into a clan many years ago.  I greatly admire the clean lines and symbols of the art, both painted and carved.  Susan commissioned me to make her a wheel, one that is fairly contemporary in approach.  While the art of the northwest coast is ancient, it is also timeless and fares very well in this contemporary world.

The first photo shows a nearly finished wheel hanging precariously from the unfinished frame.  A black painted raven design circles the hub area.  Since black and red are the two principal colors used in this style of art, I decided to make the hubs from the red padouk wood.  You can see how this will look in the second photo. The frame itself will be stained dark, which will increase the drama and be a wonderful backdrop for the other padouk accents.  At the top will be a carved raven head for the handle. I will use abalone accents too, as it was highly valued among the Tlingits and other native people of the coast.  Enjoy!



  1. Anne permalink

    This is beautiful! What a fantastic mix of tradition and modern style. Wow.

  2. Thanks Anne, It is a way different approach to the wheel than yours was. I like them both!

  3. Rebekah permalink

    What a beautiful wheel! BTW, I wondered for a brief second when you’d painted easels!

  4. Have you looked at my easel lately? Its aged like a fine wine, and has many layers of paint. Occasionally I’ve had to surgically remove a half inch or so just so the paintings sit level!

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