Porcelain Dentalium, Hemp, Wool Yarn, Leather

Fabrication Theory

For “Fabrication”, I made oversized porcelain dentalium and fashioned modern regalia. Dentalium are a type of mollusk with long cylindrical shells, that were harvested by the First Nations for food and their prized shell.

Dentalium Shell 1/2"-2"

The shell was then used as currency to acquire goods from neighbouring, interior tribes. Traditionally when the shells were adorned it was an obvious symbol of wealth and high stature. Through “Fabrication” I wanted to see what happened when I counterfeit or fabricated Dentalium in mass quantities? With contemporary methods and medium I am able to make and mass-produce a form of currency and symbol of stature. This is my attempt to comment on contemporary culture where one can fabricate thier personal image.

Reference photo: Tahltan Neck Piece
Dentalium Shells, Leather, Glass Beads, Wool Yarn
c. early 1900
Collected by ethnographer George T. Emmons

All rights reserved, Tsema Igharas, 2018