Pacific Rim Salmon

To celebrate my latest piece of fibre art and to honour Salmon, I made a lush supper of teriyaki-style wild Keta salmon for dinner tonight.

First off, I was asked to make a needle drawn Haida salmon for a Christmas gift.  It is for someone who loves Haida artwork and  has a collection of carved wooden Haida masks.  I had to think about it for awhile, mainly because I am not Haida.   I needed to think about cultural misappropriation.  If I base a piece of artwork on a Haida design, am I co-opting or stealing from a culture that has been robbed of so much?

I love Haida artwork.  I first encountered it in 1986 when I visited the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology.  In the end, I came around to the realisation that I would make a piece of artwork based upon an Art Nouveau or Arts & Crafts design, because I love the artistry and craftsmanship.  I am not claiming that it is mine.  It is going to a collector who admires the artistry of Northwest Coast art, which will be beautifully and sensitively executed by my hand, in my medium – fibre.  So I commenced.

Painted Haida designs often use black and red paint on a white background


I worked my design in chocolate brown fleece on a cream felt background.  Northwest Coast art is distinguished by the use of formlines, and the use of characteristic shapes referred to as ovoids, U forms and S forms.

Some of the shapes reminded me of salmon bones and flesh.

pacific rim003

I painted a border of rich, earthy red mixed from Cadmium Red Deep and Raw Umber onto the mount board to separate the felted piece from the matte.  A bit difficult to see in this camera phone photo, but it is the perfect complement to the dark chocolate fleece.

pacific rim002

Time for some supper, I think .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

Pacific Rim Salmon


  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 4-5 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 1 small chilli
  • 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 chunk of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 sheet of egg noodles
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • extra lime juice

Preparation method

  1. Heat some sunflower oil in a pan and fry the ginger, garlic and chopped chilli.
  2. Add the zest and juice of the lime and pour in the soy sauce. Add the maple syrup and cook for 1 minute or until reduced and sticky.
  3. Meanwhile, pan-fry the two pieces of salmon until cooked through.
  4. When the sauce is reduced, add the salmon to the teriyaki sauce frying pan.
  5. Cook and drain the noodles, adding the sesame oil and a squeeze of lime. Serve the salmon on a bed of noodles.

    pacific rim004


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