© 2018 by Janine Gibbons. 

Healing up

July 13, 2018

It's a beautiful foggy morning here in Southeast Alaska.  The tide is mid way out and the water for my coffee is boiling.  I can barely see the mainland but just a little sliver.  There are patches of blue sky above peaking through.  Had a really nice evening with my mom stopping by.  She's checking in on me as I am healing up.  The kids and I did go down onto the beach yesterday afternoon and played with the seaweed.  My strength is coming back. 


For the last year I haven't been able to access numbers very well in my mind and the infection really kind of brings it together for certain things I was missing and was hoping to regain.  Amnesia might be a good word.  I was really thinking it had to do more with divorce and the stress of changing my life, which it very well was as well, but now I am able to read again more than just a few paragraphs at a time and concentrate.  I started dry-brushing my skin again to stimulate my lymphatic system.  I'm also a big fan of sauna alternating with super cold showers.  I'm going to give it a few more days before I get back into that routine.  Possibly I'll do some fasting after I'm done with the antibiotics but I'll just play it by ear with how my body is feeling.  


Yesterday I decided that I was going to illustrate all of the Haida stories whether or not I had the funding to do so.  Recently someone was posting something on Facebook talking about my "brand".  I don't really think like that anymore.  I'm just me.  I've accomplished a lot in this life and I feel good about that.  Maybe a few years ago when I wanted to be in a bunch of stores and galleries after all the years of working nonstop but I don't have that drive at all anymore.  I'm just trying to be a good person and help preserve heritage that was almost extinguished.  I've lost a few friends along the way that couldn't understand... and that's totally okay... because I can see how much it has healed my own family.... on my mom's side.  I can see the light in the eyes of kids when they have books that relate to their heritage and who they are.  Those are the things that fill my heart... seeing my kids sing and dance and make friends and they all share who they are.  If I had a prayer for them and me it would be that we could travel the world together and meet people of all cultures and share those things that are the beauty of connection.  Anyway, illustrating all the Haida stories was a  thought at the very beginning of last year when I visited the Museum of Anthropology at University of British Columbia.  They have an amazing collection of Haida and Northwest Coast art there.  I was reading about Bill Reid, one of the most well known Haida artists of our time, and in his writing he spoke about how he wished he would have asked the elders more stories when he was young.  Then they passed away and those stories were gone.  Vanished into time.  He did collect a lot though!  Here's a bit from the Bill Reid Gallery website https://www.billreidgallery.ca/pages/about-bill-reid


"Bill Reid (1920-1998) was an acclaimed master goldsmith, carver, sculptor, writer, broadcaster, mentor and community activist. Reid was born in Victoria, BC to a Haida mother and an American father with Scottish German roots, and only began exploring his Haida roots at the age of 23. This journey of discovery lasted a lifetime and shaped Reid's artistic career.


The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art was created in 2008 to honour his legacy and celebrate the diverse indigenous cultures of the Northwest Coast. Bill Reid infused Haida traditions with his own modernist aesthetic to create both exquisitely small as well as monumental work that captured the public's imagination, and introduced a timeless vocabulary to the modern world.


Reid became a pivotal force in building bridges between Indigenous people and other peoples. Through his mother, he was a member of the Raven clan from T'aanuu with the wolf as one of his family crests. Raven is known as a mischievous trickster, who also plays an important part in transforming the world. Many of these traits matched Bill Reid's personality. In 1986, Reid was presented with the Haida name Yaahl Sgwansung, meaning The Only Raven."


We are also Raven clan and the wolf is also one of many of our family crests.  Bill Reid's death and my son, Reid, almost on the same birthdate but different years.  I like to think that that has meaning since my son is a connector of symbols as well.  He's always drawing things morphing and upgrading likely because of Pokeman.  I'll have to find some of his doodles to share.  Before he could talk in sentences he was drawing numbers and letters and could recite the alphabet and spell... talking in words consisted of grunting and pointing... until his sister was born.  She's the embodiment of Raven..a trickster... a collector.... a schemer...always making something really beautiful though and connecting people.  Yesterday I thanked her for taking initiative washing the dishes... she said I didn't have to thank her... that I deserved someone helping me.  She's so sweet.  I really have so much gratitude that these kids have opened my eyes to.  Anyway, I've got to get some "work" done.  I'm painting today again and need to ship out packages and make a few pairs of earrings before these kids wake up.


Have a beautiful day!












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