Feast of the Animals: An Alaska Bestiary (1987)


Written by Sheila Nickerson;

Wood Engravings by Dale DeArmond

Published by Old Harbor Press; Sitka, Alaska

Regular edition of 3000 copies (softcover)

Limited edition of 50 copies (hardcover; signed and individually numbered; contains an original print)

Note: DeArmond knew that if she were to begin to master the craft, she needed a long project that would keep her engraving every day. She made a proposal to Sheila Nickerson, a poet and friend, that they create a bestiary of Alaskan birds and animals. They made a list of the creatures and Sheila created fifty-five short poems in a few weeks. It took Dale two years to complete the matching engravings, twenty-eight of which appear in this book. Some were done over as many as four times. The illustrations shown below appear in this book; click on any image for more information. For volume II, click  here.

The title of this book comes from the Eskimo observance of a feast day to honor the animals and birds who have let themselves be killed so that people can have food and clothing and the many artifacts they make from the hides and bones and beaks. At one point in the ceremonies the hunters return to the sea the bladders of the animals they have killed so that the inuas (souls) can return to them and there will be more animals the following year.

Original price: paperback: $12.95​; limited edition: $50.00