Columbia River Spirits Vessel – Collaboration with Dan Friday

Blown and Fused Glass

Artists Lillian Pitt (Warm Springs/Wasco/Yakama) and Dan Friday (Lummi) collaborated in summer 2019 to create this work, part of a larger series that will be seen at the Missoula Art Museum. The work was blown and fused by Dan Friday under the direction of honored elder artist Lillian Pitt. Dan brought over twenty years of glassblowing experience, and Lillian brought the aluminum stencils based on Columbia River and Plateau designs that would be incorporated into each piece. By the end of the process the two had fused their concepts and vision together into a brand new series of rich, vibrantly colored vessel that reflect time-honored images from the artists’ ancestors.

The imagery on this series of blown and fused glass baskets was directly inspired from two sources: twined imagery on traditional Wasco Sally bags, and the ancient pictographs and petroglyphs carved on rock walls in the Columbia River Gorge. Petroglyphs (rock engravings) and pictographs (rock paintings) are an important part of the rich cultural heritage of the the Columbia River people. Archaeologists estimate that the oldest of them could be between 6,000-7,000 years old. At one time there were roughly 90 sites along the Columbia River, in the stretch of land between Pasco, Washington to the east, and The Dalles, Oregon, to the west. Many of these sites were either inundated or destroyed when The Dalles and the John Day dams were put into service, and are now lost to the world forever.