It started with a board.
Just a plain hardwood plank.
Measuring 7.5 inches by 86 inches.

I found it abandoned in the garage when we first purchased our home.
Everything else left behind by the previous owners was pure trash.
And treated accordingly.
But there was something I liked about the board.
So I wiped it clean and set it aside.

About two years ago,
I used the board as part of an obstacle course while playing agility games with our beloved Barkus
(then a complete puppy terror).

Once we tired of our game,
I once again tucked the board away.

Fast forward to the present.
I’d been reading up about totem poles.
One article mentioned that totem poles were sometimes created to commemorate an event.
Hmmm… I liked the idea of that….
Suddenly I knew what I was going to do with that old board

Images from Barnyard Totem by Val Chan (2019)

My brother and his family were visiting for the holidays.
I would create a totem pole to represent us and how much fun we had together!
We each chose a barnyard animal as our totem.
The kids drew a rough sketch to get me started.

It’s always sad when the holidays draw to a close.
And lonely to say good-bye to family.
But I tell you what,
working on this goofy mixed media “totem pole” really extended the Christmas time fun for me.

In case you’re wondering:
I’m the goat (tough and stubborn).
My husband is the herd dog (because he takes care of us all).
E is the bull (he’s a big dude in his dreams).
Si is the clever pig.
My brother is the workhorse.
His wife is the farm cat.
My niece the lovable silly green chicken.
And our three dogs are represented by the onigiri shaped mice

Mina’s response to last night’s instagram post showing the completed “Barnyard Totem,”
was
“My CHICKEN!!!!!! I love it!!”

My family.
I love them.
And it cracks me up to show my affection through this medium.