Art Terms and Information

Giclée Print

Photo-Montage

Etchings

Silk Screens/Serigraphs

Birch Bark Baskets

Trade Beads

Giclée Print

A Giclée is a high quality reproduction of an original piece of art, and is the modern digital equivalent of the traditional Lithograph which involved using a metal printing plate and press. Modern Giclées are printed on archival quality paper or canvas with ink that will resist yellowing and fading.

When an artist decides to reproduce their artwork they must first decide what type of print it will be. These are the basic types of Giclée prints you will find in the Gallery:

Open Edition

An Open Edition means no restriction is set on this print “Run” and the artist can print as many editions of the image as they desire.

Limited Edition

A Limited Edition means the print “Run” is limited to a predetermined amount (Decided by the Artist) this can be as few as 20 or as many as 1000, the fewer prints in the run the more desirable the print is thought to be to collectors.

Artist’s Proof

Once the Artist has decided to produce a Limited Edition, the printer will produce a small run of prints. These prints are the first to be produced and “Proved” by the artist as being an accurate reproduction of their work. This is generally a small run of prints (maybe 5 or 10) and are not included in the Limited Edition; instead, they are numbered separately and lettered AP. The AP’s are normally released once the edition is sold out, making them more desirable to collectors.

 

Photo-Montage

A Photo-montage is traditionally an image created by joining and overlaying multiple Photos. This has evolved from the Double Exposure possible by taking two shots on a film without winding the image on, to being a complex digital art form that has no "Original" so to speak. Artists may overlay and alter photos, and even add computer generated imagery, to create a new image that evokes a certain feeling or idea. These can then be printed on canvas or paper

 

Etchings

Etching is a way of creating an image on paper with ink that does not involve drawing. The image is created in reverse and in negative by scratching into a zinc or copper plate, this style of dry point etching means shading can only be achieved by cross hatching lines. The plate is dipped in acid, the acid “Bites” into the exposed metal deepening the marks and giving them the ability to carry ink. The ink is spread on the plate and the excess wiped off. When the plate is run through a heavy press with damp paper the plate pushes into it picking up the ink. The lines print black and the ink free plate remains white. Rosin can be used to apply washes that will repel the acid to varying degrees, thus creating a brushed looking tonal range, this is called Aquatint. Etchings can be worked into after printing with watercolour to give each one an original flair.

 

Silk Screens/Serigraphs

Dating from just over a hundred years ago, silk screening is the process of using a woven material mesh as a printing screen. Traditionally, the material would have been silk; however, in modern times, polyester fabrics are used. This kind of screen print is sometimes referred to as a "Serigraph". Screen printing is an art process in itself rather than a way of reproducing existing paintings. A design is drawn onto a transparent sheet, or more recently, printed from a computer. The image is transferred onto the screen in negative with emulsion. Paint is then applied with a rubber squeegee. The emulsion blocks the paint around the image, forcing it through the screen to create a crisp picture. This procedure is repeated for each colour.

 

Birch Bark Baskets

The women of Fort Liard have been making and using birchbark baskets for centuries. Painstakingly hand-crafted, today these baskets are considered a work of art and are sought after by collectors all over the world. 

The History of Birch Bark Baskets 

For centuries, birch bark baskets were used for storing food, picking berries, storage for sewing and beads, and other carrying needs. They were also used for carrying water and boiling food. Birchbark contains natural waxes that make it waterproof, remarkably rot resistant and flammable. A birchbark container could be made waterproof by sealing the seams with spruce gum. 

There were two methods of cooking in birch bark baskets. Often the bark was used as a temporary container made with the brown side of the bark turned outside. Water and food would be put into the basket to hang over the fire. The fire needed to be watched very carefully to ensure that the basket did not flame while the food was cooking. At other times, baskets were buried in the ground, filled with water and very hot rocks were dropped into the water to bring it to a boil. New rocks were continuously added to keep the water cooking the fish or meat. This way the container could be reused. Cooking pots were made by pressing clay mixed with dried grass against the sides and bottom, them dried well.

The Bark

Late spring or early summer, large birch bark trees with few limbs are searched out. Bark has to be harvested while the sap is running to ensure that it is easy to peel. When the moisture is right, a three food vertical cut is made in the tree and the bark is carefully peeled off around the tree. The brown inner bark is left on the tree so the peeling does not kill it. Sometimes a specially carved piece of wood is used to assist in separating the outer layer from the inner layer. Once the bark is peeled and rooled, it must be stored in a cool place so that the bark will not dry out.

The Roots

White spruce roots is used to sew the basket together. The best time to gather spruce roots is on a rainy day in June, as the bark comes off easier then. Roots are harvested from medium sized trees with very straight and long limbs. Straight roots are easier to split and long roods are better in that the basket maker does not have to stop and add new roots frequently.

Roots with red bark are the best as they are the youngest and strongest. Black roots are too old and will break. The roots are coiled and put into a plastic bag to keep them moist. If they are not to be used immediately, they are dried and moistened again when ready to use.

Making the Basket

Thin branches of red willow are gathered and peeled of bark, then trimmed with a knife to an even dimension. The willow is coiled and soaked in water to be used later, to keep the shape of the basket.

Spruce roots are soaked overnight to make them pliable. Starting with the thick end of the root, a knife is used to begin a split, then half of the root is held in the teeth while the strip is pulled away. The bark is then peeled off and the root split again. The root is cut at any knot as it will dry and break there later anyway. The ends of the roots are sharpened to a point for sewing.

Next, the bark is cut using a pattern to shape the basket. When decorating the basket with quills, a pattern is drawn on the bark, holes punched with an awl, and quills inserted one at a time.

After the design is completed, the bark is dampened with a wet cloth and held over a fire to soften it. A sharp awl is used to poke holes through the bark, and small pieces of wood are inserted to hold the bark together in its new shape until dried. the basket is then braced on the inside with two crossed willow stocks to help the basket keep its form.

A piece of birch bark trim is cut and fitted to the top of the basket. Holes are poked in intervals with an awl. The willow is then measured for the top edge of the basket with the ends tapered to fit together when they are joined.

Marks are made where the holes are to be made. Holes are then poked through the two layers of bark, and the sewing begins. The root is laced through, up and over the willow, lashing it to the basket for added strength. The willow stitches are offset, some short, some long, in a pattern to create a design. when the row of stitches is completed, the end of the root is tucked under a stitch and the basket is complete.

(Information source: http://www.fortliard.com/bbb.htm)

Trade Beads

Much of Canadian History is not recorded, but is learned from stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. The First Nations people of northern Canada have collected and traded beads for hundreds of years and they were an integral part of the Canadian fur trade. Much of the information on the significance of these beads, has been told in the stories that have been passed down through the generations.

We do know that prior to settlement by Europeans, most North American natives shared an appreciation for beads. At least 8,000 years before Europeans crossed the Atlantic, native people were making, wearing and trading beads of shell, pearl, bone, teeth, stone and fossil stems. As explorers came to Canada, one of the significant items brought for gifts were glass beads from Europe. Using glass beads to win native friendship was a prevalent custom in the days when European countries vied for control of the northern territories.

Scattered all over the vast northern regions of Canada was the fur trading, Hudson’s Bay Company. The native people learned the “barter system” from them. To the native people, the beaded necklaces with variation of colors were truly things of beauty. The natives hunted for the furs and in turn were given beads. It has been said that “a six foot long strand of tiny seed beads were exchanged for a simple beaver skin”. These beads were widely sought after by the native people for their colors and ease of use. Beads were also compact and easily transportable. In today’s terms we can compare it to the desire to own and wear “diamonds”. We pay thousands of dollars for a small clear stone.

The red bead or “White Heart”, soon became known as the “Hudson Bay” bead. The Hudson’s Bay Company bought thousands of these beads and used them as their trading commodity. They carried an exchange value of six beads to one beaver pelt. The Russian American Company used the “Russian Blue” as their bead of choice for trading with the natives. Many of these beads can still be found in the Pacific Northwest Region of British Columbia and the Yukon. Although the name of these beads imply that they were made or came from Russia, most of the trade beads were actually made in Europe and bought for the purpose of trading with the native people.

Native people soon grew to understand the “white mans” monetary system and concluded that they were being “had”. As a result, beads began to go out of favor as a medium of exchange and instead were kept as ornaments and decorations. The native people still believed that they were truly beautiful and treasured them.

Beads that have survived over the years have grown even more beautiful as their colors have mellowed into lustrous shades which modern man cannot duplicate. Beadwork continues to be an integral part of native artwork.

(Information source: http://ponderosajewellery.com/?page_id=181)