Salmon Trout Head Mussel Rattle

Alder, Paua Shell, Pigment

The salmon trout head was described by Bill Reid in a lecture on formline design as “a very abstract version of a human face in profile.” It is a fundamental element in Northwest coast formline design and it is the one which lies at the heart of and facilitates the portrayal of almost any creature face in profile.

The appeal of the mussel rattle form is its beautiful curves and sensuous shape. It wants to be picked up, held and shaken. It also lends itself to an endless array of design possibilities, but the biggest attraction for me as a carver is the fun of dumping all my paua shell pieces onto the desk like jumbled jig saw puzzle pieces and hunting for the ones that will make that beautiful band of blues that encircle the rattle.

Robert Barratt