When do icons become mythic? When they move out of the literary tradition and get told about round the fire? When we sing songs about "Glory, glory, halleluyah?"

Glooscap is the Trickster/Culture Hero in the Abnaki tradition. He stands somewhere between Capt. John Smith and the Cthonic Orogeny in an American Pantheon. Like all mythic figures, he personifies inner aspects of all of us.

In this time of Native American militant politics, do I have any right to claim Glooscap as one of my icons? Of course. He's the arch in my eyebrow, too. The gestures I make with smoke and feathers. The Great Fog-Maker offshore. The myths resonate in all of us.

This piece is huge, by my scale. Maybe that's because it symbolizes the Maine Landscape. Glooscap's Stone Canoe is the Maine Island, which moves by its own volition across my inner landscape –– or is it The Trickster's volition? The Stone Canoe appears to be a pan-Woodland motif, floating across the Indian waters from Cape Breton to Minnesota –– throughout the Canoe Country. The Great Peacemaker who brought the tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy together travelled by stone canoe.

I'm drawn to the notion of cultural unity –– Peacemaking –– coming out of the fog to the east. Laughing with Raven's voice. The Idea of an America where the cultural dialectic brings everyone to the table is still appetizing.

The biggest challenge in conjugating this piece was finding a sculptural gesture for Black Spruce. Trees in this scale are tricky anyhow, and the habits of spruce don't match my carving habits. After a few false starts, I went out to Hupper Island for a couple of days with Mr. Mann to do drawings of spruce. They are all verticals, fine details, open patterns. All the things that don't work with my crude carving techniques. My work is all crude curvilinear masses. Eventually I found a stylized image that fit. I think it's the shadows cast which make these little spruce live.

Glooscap took the longest of any piece in this series. I began to think it was The Trickster teaching me about "Indian" Time. Every bit of it was like working in stone. Of course. In the end, though, it was my first carving with smoke and feathers.