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The black canoe: Bill Reid and the spirit of Haida Gwaii

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating account of the making of a masterpiece. 11 May 1996
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who knows and loves the work of Haida artist, Bill Reid, will be fascinated by this behind-the-scenes account of the modelling and casting of 'Spirit of Haida Gwai'. Modelled first in clay, then cast in sections into bronze, the completed work is an enormous canoe full of figures from the mythology of the Haida Indians of the Northwest Coast of North America. The figures of the Eagle, the Raven, Bear Mother, Mouse Woman and Dogfish Woman are exquisitely carved in a style which is unmistakably that of the Northwest Coast, yet it also has a distinctly contemporary feel that reflects Reid's ability to draw upon his heritage while remaining creative and original in his work. The construction process is documented in detail with over eighty black and white photographs, while the text explores the symbolism and meaning of these tantalising figures from Haida mythology who share the canoe and a common cultural ancestry. The making of this wonderful sculpture must surely be one of the greatest achievements of Reid's long and successful career as a highly talented and original sculptor and jeweller. For those who know Reid's work this book is a must, providing a fascinating record of his working methods. For those who have not yet encountered Reid's work, this book provides a golden opportunity to meet some of the characters which dominate his work. All will marvel at Bill Reid's skill as a sculptor in producing this beautiful, immense, and impressive piece of work, a process which has been beautifully and sensitively recorded in the pages of this book. (Reviewed by M.Simpson
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Glimpse at the Making of an Iconic Work of Art 13 Jun. 2011
By A. Porter - Published on
Format: Paperback
The author occasionally lapses into overly academic prose - the sort of thing you have to read 3 times before you can glean any meaning from it. Having said that, the book is very informative and insightful and leaves the reader with much to think about. I appreciate that he didn't assign any specific meanings to the work; he provides the mythical and historical context which allows the reader to begin to think intelligently about the layers of meaning in the choice of characters and their placement in the canoe. I say "begin to think intelligently" because you can't absorb the full symbolic meaning, importance, and relevance of the applicable Haida myths, stories and history from one book. This book is a great place to begin the journey to a greater understanding though, and I know I'll have a much deeper appreciation of this amazing sculpture next time I visit its counterpart, the Jade Canoe, at YVR.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Northwest Coast Art 6 Jun. 2014
By Eileen - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book. It is my coffee table book. I put different books on that table but nobody looked at them until "The Black Canoe" by Bill Reid. The pictures in black and white are so elegant. Very readable. I give it 5 stars!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 22 May 2015
By Ronald R. Bartlett - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great book !
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