Susan Point: Spindle Whorl

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Susan Point: Spindle Whorl


28 × 23 cm | 9 × 11 in
130 ills | 160 pages

Editors: Ian Thom, Grant Arnold
Foreword: Kathleen S Bartel


Susan Point: Spindle Whorl surveys the works of Coast Salish artist Susan Point that employ the spindle whorl. Coast Salish refers to a disparate group of Indigenous peoples settled in the Pacific Northwest; in the US they reside in the states of Washington and Oregon, while in Canada they reside in British Columbia.

The spindle whorl is a carved circular plate attached to the end of a wooden spindle that acts to lend weight during the wool-spinning process. In Coast Salish tradition, spindle whorls are carved with powerful symmetrical designs that blur and merge as the spindle turns.

In Point's work, the spindle whorl is frequently used to make two-dimensional work, such as paper screen-prints, in addition to being used with the traditional three-dimensional mediums of glass, wood carving, rawhide drums and wool. Due to her mixed-media use of the spindle whorl, Point is widely credited with introducing the tool into modern art. 

Point's work is discussed in the context of Canadian modern art in a foreword by Kathleen S Bartels, director of the Vancouver Art Gallery. The project is overseen by editors Grant Arnold and Ian Thom. Arnold is currently curator of British Columbian Art at the Vancouver Art Gallery, where, over the past 30 years, he has organised more than 60 exhibitions of historical, modern and contemporary art from British Columbia. Thom is a senior curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery. In 2009 he was awarded the Order of Canada for his work in advocating for Indigenous artists.

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