By Molly Bryant, Puyallup Tribal News
Puyallup Tribal member Amber Stephens’ art was recently featured in the new coloring book, “Coloring the History of Gig Harbor.” The book is published by the nonprofit Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance and focuses on the city’s history with engaging scenes for all ages.
Stephens first heard about the opportunity through Language Department Director Amber Hayward. “The Gig Harbor Waterfront Alliance was looking for Native artists to do the original history of Gig Harbor representation,” Stephens said.
Stephens said she was given two pages and was asked to make them “easy enough for kids to color, but cool enough for adults to also like it.”
She focused on Indigenous-themed art that included descriptions of the people who inhabited what is now known as Gig Harbor. She included Lushootseed phrases, creating an interactive learning experience for anyone who colored in the book.
Stephens says she has been drawing since she was little but became interested in Indigenous art around 2010 when she started practicing Haida formline, a style that originates from the First Nations people in Canada. Formline differs from Coast Salish art because of its use of ovoids and u-forms, she said.
When asked about the overall experience, she said it was “really fun to be able to do it.”
The title of Stephens’ piece in the new coloring book is “tul’al čəd txʷaalqəɫ” (I am from Gig Harbor).
The coloring book is free and can be downloaded online at www.ghdwa.org/coloring-book-project.