George and Colleen Hoyt have been collecting northwest coastal art for the past four decades, and they are eager to share it with others.
"It's no good having this stuff and not sharing it," Colleen said, while she and George discussed their collection during a recent interview in their Cherryville home, which is adorned with masks, prints and other pieces made by Northwest native peoples. "People seem to be fascinated by it."
Pieces from the Hoyt's collection will be on display at the Estacada Public Library, 825 N.W. Wade St., through Thursday, Oct. 12.
Several of the masks in the Hoyt's collection are from the Kwakwaka'wakw winter dance, an event in which participants from 17 Northwest tribes celebrated their heritage.
"(At the winter dance), they would wear masks and tell stories," Colleen said. "(Initially,) there was no written language, so storytelling was the only way to tell the kids the history."
Though the library will provide a temporary home to 18 of the Hoyt's masks and framed prints, their collection has 325 pieces.
George noted that he enjoys having multiple pieces from a single artist.
"I like finding an artist's early work and then seeing how it evolves," he said. "When I find a new artist, I get excited. You buy a book, read up on them, and they become your favorite until the next artist comes along. You get to know them, and it's like you're friends with them."
Colleen said it's interesting to see the ways in which the art has changed over time.
"It's been interesting to see the evolution of the art and learn about the evolution of the coastal area," she said. "The early masks were black from charcoal and white from clam shells because that's what was available (to artists)."
George added that he "likes the geometry" of the pieces.
"It can be made up of circles and ovoids (egg shapes)," he said. "You can see them in the pieces. The consistency shows."