We are pleased to bring you a short interview with master carver Jason Henry Hunt that we performed on February 25, 2016. Our customers, corporate partners, and nonprofit agencies with whom we share our love for sustainable fisheries have expressed a genuine interest in understanding our collaboration on the Artist Series reels, and have wanted to know more about the creative process behind Jason’s amazing art pieces.
BELOW THE INTERVIEW, WE’VE ALSO INCLUDED A SNEAK PEEK AT JASON’S PRELIMINARY DESIGNS FOR THE 2016 ARTIST SERIES. LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!
PEETZ: For those who don’t know much about you, can you provide a short summary?
JHH: I was born in Victoria and am the son of Kwaguilth carver and artist, Stanley Clifford Hunt. Under the guidance of my father and uncles, Tony Hunt and Richard Hunt, I started my development as an artist and carver from an early age. I have a preference to create my pieces just as my forebears did, with classic hand tools and old world techniques passed through the generations from my great-grandfather, Mungo Martin. I am the youngest member of my family to continue this legacy, which has deep roots here on the West Coast of British Columbia.
PEETZ: How do you feel about the success of The Circle of Life hand carved fishing reels?
JHH: I think the response from the community, fishermen, and collectors, overwhelmed me. Everyone who interacted with the reels in any fashion was drawn to the far-reaching impact that this collaboration could have, not only in relation to the fundraising efforts for salmon habitat preservation, but also for raising the profile of West Coast art. It was an incredibly successful initiative and one that we are looking to build on for 2016.
PEETZ: The Artist Series reels have been very successful for fundraising efforts. How do you feel about that?
JHH: I am proud of what we were able to accomplish with the Circle of Life reels. The design, which shows the salmon life cycle from egg to maturity, captures the fundamental reality of survival in the Pacific Northwest. The successful continuity of that life cycle offers profound benefits to humans and many wildlife species along our coast. The design underscores our responsibility as stewards of this land, and of the natural abundance with which that we are blessed. Going forward, we have no intention of curtailing our support and passion for wildlife conservation programs. That is an ongoing commitment for which I am very excited.
PEETZ: Your design has found its way outside of the Northwest into other areas of the United States. Can you tell us your experience?
JHH: Yes, that was another element in our success last year. For nearly 100 years, PEETZ has been a venerable name within the West Coast fishing community. But with The Circle of Life reels, we expanded our reach beyond sports fishermen, to include art collectors, and particularly First Nations art enthusiasts. The Circle of Life reels were purchased in wide range of markets across North America and even Europe. There is an appreciation and support for this collaboration that was maybe a little more than I was expecting. People are buying more than reels. They are investing in Canadian West Coast art while contributing to the promise of a hopeful future.
PEETZ: Our first Artist Series reel released in 2015 was called “Circle of Life” – with a circular pattern of salmon and roe. In an expansion of the theme, we are calling the next Artist Series reels “Chain of Life”, and they will focus on those West Coast species that rely on healthy Pacific salmon stocks for their existence. For the 2016 limited edition “Chain of Life” reels, the Orca will be represented. What do you think is important to bring to this design?
JHH: I’ve been giving it a fair bit of thought. I keep going back to what stood out for me in the Circle of Life, and I want to find a way to incorporate the salmon egg, a seemingly insignificant, yet profoundly impactful life source for mighty species such as the Orca, the eagle and the bear, into every Chain of Life reel. Because, as we know, without the health and survival of the eggs, there could be a detrimental fallout on the health of many other wildlife species. There is something that speaks to me about the connection that such large, powerful animals have to the survival and potential of those tiny salmon eggs.
PEETZ: Can you tell us a little bit about some ideas for the 2016 design?
JHH: The Orca is an important symbol in First Nations culture and storytelling. The Killer Whale is associated with fidelity as they select a mate for life. They are also symbols of family bonds and safety during travel as they live together and travel within pods. Other attributes of the Orca are long life and protection. The symbolism of this large mammal is important as it speaks to nurturing long term relationships.
I would also like to find a way to incorporate the moon in the design as a symbol of transformation of our thoughts, and a guiding light showing us the way in the darkness. It is my vision that this new reel will reflect our capacity to transform and bring about long lasting change to protect, honour and nurture our natural surroundings.
Preliminary Design for 2016 Artist Series Reel
We’ve uploaded some images to Facebook showing preliminary designs for the 2016 Artist Series Reel. We are really excited about the direction of Jason’s design. Let us know your feedback! Your input will likely influence the final design, which is scheduled for release in April.
Sales and Pre-Orders
Pre ordering will be available exclusively to purchasers of The Circle of Life reels with guaranteed reservation of their original reel edition numbers until the official release date of The Chain of Life reels, anticipated for Monday, May 16, 2016. For more details, you call 250.383.5342, or email us.
A small number of limited edition 2015’s “Circle of Life” reels are still available. We are offering a unique opportunity for collectors to purchase both a 2015 “Circle of Life” and a 2016 “Chain of Life” reel at a special price.