This week I came up with floral design for Caribou Mandala for our First Hand series based on original Gwich'in design patterns. I got Alex's approval and started the “bead-work” on it.
Photoshop beadwork is fun and feels almost like real embroidery process but is a bit faster of course:) It took me three days but the result was worth it and it looks cool in the end. I did six design variations and Alex and another producer Karen liked them all yay!
If you have a look at the design you will see that red “lily-hooves” form a cross. This symbol is widely spread all over the world and as we see it is used not only by Catholics/Christians but by Native Indian tribes as well.
For first Nations cross symbolizes Four Great Primary Forces and their interaction with the sun; Medicine wheel; Nature elements -Air, Fire, Water and Earth; the four directions, and the four seasons.
Here’s some more information on Native American cross symbol: http://www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/native-american-symbols/cross-symbol.htm
And here’s interesting book that I am using a lot as a reference for First Hand and for my 4th year film called The Sacred Tree. It was created by a Native American inter-tribal group of the Four Worlds International Institute that is located in BC, Canada.
It helps me to understand the meaning behind Native American symbols and gives a glimpse on Spirituality of indigenous peoples : http://books.google.ca/books?id=yNGrqIaaYvgC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
When I finished my beadwork on the Caribou Mandala Alex sent the file to Norma who did the voiceover for the film and who is actually is a real person and “Norma’s story” is Norma Kassi’s real story! That’s so amazing! I feel so proud of the project and lucky to have a chance to work on it.
While working on Caribou mandala I felt the rising responsibility over my design, because for Gwich'in people Porcupine Caribou and anything related to them is sacred.
Here’s an interesting article on caribou that claims that all of Santa’s reindeer are probably cows :) because Porcupine Caribou are the only cervidae (deer species) in which both the male (bull) and female (cow) grow antlers, though the bulls possess much larger, even massive, antlers than females. Cows shed their antlers later in the season than bulls, in theory so they still have them for protecting calves. Only cows still have antlers as late as December. haha cool to know :)