There is no better way to delve into the minds of people who lived long ago than through their art, symbols and stories represented visually. We can learn so much about a group of people by absorbing and studying what they created. Rock carvings and paintings, ancient pottery, and design motifs still seen in weaving all speak to techniques handed down from parent to child. What is so interesting to me is that so many of these motifs are seen in cultures around the world, as if there are symbols and designs that all people are drawn to making. We are so fortunate that some cultures have honored artistic traditions, so in a way, we are looking back in time when we see contemporary art. Notice the same wave pattern in these examples of pottery from the Andrea Fisher Gallery in Santa Fe. While on our Fiber Art tour and workshop in April, we will be spending some quality time at the gallery, seeing older and newer pottery from many pueblos and discussing the intricate patterns, decoration and symbolism. At the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture we’ll hear a guided talk about the even older art and explore the symbolism and motifs used in the past–fascinating! I am looking forward to seeing how being immersed in this beautiful art can be applied to our own creative pursuits in the workshop. I have always been interested in universal symbols- the spiral, square, circle, equidistant cross and triangle, and came across a book by Angeles Arrien called Signs of Life. The book explains the use of these symbols cross culturally and shows artwork that uses them. We’ll be discussing this in the workshop and hopefully, be inspired to explore the meaning of the symbols in our own work. I have done a series of felted pieces exploring this, as in this example: You’ll see several of the universal symbols represented- I wanted to see how they might affect my mind and composition as I worked, and found it very enlightening. I look forward to the Santa Fe workshop and tour, and sharing the richness of the art there with you!
Southwestern Art and Universal Symbolism