Client: Lac Du Flambeau Nation
Location: Lac Du Flambeau, WI, United States
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $36,000
Sweet Medicine Studio
Levin Art Design
Dimensions: 10′ x 15’h x 12’d
This art commission by the Lac Du Flambeau Tribal Council for placement outside of the main entrance to the Lake of the Torches Casino in Lac Du Flambeau, Wisconsin. This large-scale public art installation was carved from a 19,000 lb. redwood stump. The theme for the sculpture was a representation of the seven Clans of the Lac Du Flambeau band of the Lake Superior Chippewa. The seven clans are represented in seven animals, which are eagle, marten, bear, deer, crane, loon and fish. was reclaimed as it
The goal was to create a sculpture that would be placed on a recreation of a sacred site called Strawberry Island, outside of the casino.
The Lac Du Flambeau tribal chair and CEO of the Casino were looking for an artist to carve a monumental sculpture for placement outside of their newly renovated casino. A friend overheard the conversation and suggested that it would be appropriate for a Native artist to create it. I was contacted to submit a concept drawing of the 7 clans and was invited to share it at the next Tribal Council meeting. The project moved forward requiring submission of a 3-D model done in a 1:25 ratio out of clay. The tribe approved the project and covered the expense to fly me to California to retrieve redwood material suitable for the sculpture. I was able to find a tree that had fallen into the Pacific ocean, and had surfaced on some private land. It's to believed that the tree had rolled around in the saltwater for many years. I arranged for transport back to Wisconsin, and the project took one year to complete.
I felt particularly connected to this project because of my own tribal affiliation. I'm not an Anisinaabe but I am an Abenaki. We're the people that the Anishinaabe refer to as "The Eastern Door Keepers." We come from the States of Northern New England and also Quebec, Canada. My own family (on my Father's side) are from the Abenaki of Quebec. I refer to my Studio as "Sweet Medicine Studio" because I find making art and viewing art as therapeutic. It heals the soul. Thus, sweet medicine. I also find that the music made by the instruments I make (though not only the ones I make!) to be calming and therapeutic. My caskets, however, are labeled under the moniker of "Humble Crossings," a name that just came to me as I was contemplating making caskets.