This is our Transformation Mask Ring displayed in the winter show at the Stonington Gallery by Walker Goldsmiths. Owen and I made this custom creation for a client. It is a 14kt yellow gold Human Face with 2 – 8pt. Diamonds for eyes. I carved the wax sculpture and Owen cast the ring, assembled it and set the diamonds. A Raven mask is hinged over the Human Face. Human hands carved inside the Raven mask symbolize Raven’s ability to transform from Human to Raven and back. Raven in the natural world exhibits many human characteristics like survival, curiosity, feistiness, greed and a general rambunctious nature.
In the winter longhouse dances and gatherings Transformation Masks are used to tell stories of these characteristics and transformations from human to animal or bird. In some of the dances it’s quite remarkable to watch the dancer imitate a Raven’s walk, voice, mannerisms, and then dramatically the mask opens to reveal a human being. Then suddenly the whole dance changes to human characteristics; movements and voice. Our friend Gene Tagaban, native Tlingit storyteller, musician, and educator, dances an incredible Raven. If you ever get to see him dance with his Raven costume and mask you won’t forget it. Raven is one of the two moieties of the Tlingit and Haida people, the other being Eagle.
“With the Winter Solstice looming, the time for ceremony and gathering begins on the Pacific Northwest Coast. Masks danced by firelight illuminate the darkness and engage our imaginations with stories, myths and magic.”
Transformation Mask Ring by Owen and Janet Walker, Walker Goldsmiths.
For a Sahman, right?
Editor, do you mean a Shaman? It would be a good one for that!
Janet makes “assembly” sound really simple and easy. Creating a hinge for two curved surfaces, that will actually open and close is anything but easy. It took me several days and at least 20 different welding operations to get the whole mechanism working properly, but the results are very much worth it!
So since Owen got so adept at the hinge challenge, I designed and carved 2 more for him to “assemble”! Another Raven and Man/Sun face and a Volcano Woman Mask that opens to reveal a beautiful glowing green Chrysophrase cabachon. Sold them both!
I love this ring! WOW!!!!!
Thanks, Victoria! It’s a fun one alright! It was a real challenge, but we done it!
This ring is absolutely fantastic! The transformation stories of various NorthwestCoast aboriginal groups are mystical. I have a couple of questions about this ring that Id like to discuss in email when you get a chance…im wondering if you can make one for me that is wolf transforming to killer whale, or bear transforming to frog.
PS: i love my nwc box ring! Im in Vancouver right now wearing it and i get lots of great comments about it.