Jacqueline Cole                                                                                               7/2006

EDLA 615                                                                                                      Midterm         


My Digital Graphic
Totem/Tree Pole created as a reflection piece project.

         My Own Creative Totem pole is a reflection piece from the book “Touching a Spirit Bear” by Ben Mikaelsen. The book is about a student named Cole who is sent to live on a remote island for his brutal beating of a classmate named Peter. He is sent to this island from members of the circle justice. On the island, Cole created a Totem Pole of all the animals he saw and what they represented to him. He goes through stages to learn abut his angers inside and where they come from within. The child that Cole brutally beaten became suicidal and very depressed, which also ends up on the island with him in the end, so they could heal and learn together. 
        The definition of totem pole from dictionary.com is:
A post carved and painted with a series of family or clan crests or with figures representing mythic beings and erected usually before a dwelling, as among certain Native American peoples of the northwest coast of North America.

I thought to myself I wanted to create my own totem pole of the people that have been there for me and animals I would believe that would have special meaning to me. These people in my totem/ tree would be the people that have been there for me in my life, especially when things were not so good. They are my heroes and I would carve them into a pole to represent that I am rich to have so many people care about me. This piece became very personal to me because I had to think about who was important and who has helped me heal. Below is my own special digital Totem pole I created in Photoshop and then brought to Inspiration. (Download Inspiration file)

Describe the process you went through as you created your project.

I was thinking about the book and trying to put myself into Cole’s shoes. I related it to my own life and my own angers with my father. He remarried and I was the only child and have cut me off from his life due to his new wife. So, the anger part comes out of me and I thought to myself I would want to carve the important people that have always been there for me. I wanted to make my own Tree with images inside of who makes up me as a human being. I feel that this was a great healing process for me to see it on the computer. I thought I would celebrate them with my own dance!

In what ways does your project reflect an important part of the book?

Cole creating the totem pole for every improvement he makes when he sees an animal and carves it. My project reflects him going through this process.

How does this project show what you have learned about the book?

That everyone has a different struggle and different history to ones life. It shows how we all deal with situations and that we are all apart of a large circle in life. When thing affects another thing/person. We all have people that affect our everyday life, past, or going to be present.

When someone views your project, what will they learn about your book?

We all have something that represents us as humans. Totems are like trees and trees represent our life inside of us. They will also understand that all are actions that we do affect others.