In the olden days, cedar bentwood boxes stored our clan regalia. Cedar boxes are/were the perfect natural insecticide against moths who have appetites for the woolen regalia in the Chilkat, Ravenstail and Button blanket robes and accessories. Nowadays, many of us use the Rubbermaid plastic tubs for storage, unless of course, you can afford your own work and grace one’s self with carved cedar boxes, or you trade with an artist friend to carve one for you!
When I carved the bentwood box, it was my very first introduction to Northwest Coast Art. Peter Bibb encouraged a number of us Native students to take up our own art because there were very, very few people still carrying on the traditions. He provided us Bill Holm’s “Looking at Northwest Coast Art” book, and if I am not mistaken, the design of this box comes from that particular book. ( I don’t know for sure because I eventually gave that book to my son after my mother passed so I don’t have it on hand to confirm design origin.) Peter kept close watch on my carving; at one time he grinned “…young lady, it looks like you’ve got a natural skill at this…(he chuckled)…who woulda known a little thing like you could do this!?”
When I carved this box for my Mamma, I did not imagine 40 years later I would have it sitting on one of my work tables; it stores woolen yarns as I have begun to learn how to knit.