Posts Tagged With: motifs in pueblo pottery

Landscape, culture, art and fibers in the southwest

IMG_0212Desert, mountains, waterfalls, ancient petrolgyphs and villages long IMG_0149
abandoned..and thriving native communities, opening up their pueblos and art to us….these are the elements woven into the tapestry of our
tours to the southwest! After many visits to the Santa Fe and Taos regions, I find this one of the most exciting places to offer travel workshops. The landscape is stunning, the light
unlike anywhere else, and the shapes and colors in the landscape resonate long after seeing them. After taking day trips to explore the area, meet with artists and visit galleries, we delve deeply into creating fiber art with our memories, photos, and sketches. Felt making is so “user friendly” that people with all levels of experience can achieve outstanding results. DSC_0825DSC_0453

IMG_0254With my ceramics and archaeology background I have been a student of rock art around the world, as well as pottery from many cultures. The abundance of both media in Santa Fe and the surrounding areas is truly amazing, and there is no experience quite like gazing at images pecked into rock, or drawn with oxides, and pondering the messages. One can feel the bond between humans, and our need to express ourselves through art. The pottery motifs date back thousands of years, and the rich contemporary traditions make a journey through the regions’ examples so enriching.

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Some of the patterns represent natural sites, weather, or animals, while other motifs are  sophisticated use of pattern and repetition. On our workshop tours, we bring this imagery back to our hands-on workshop, and hope the art of the ancients will inspire in us new ways to create in fiber.

Santa fe 2013 146A visit to Santa Fe would be incomplete without seeing the contemporary art scene, and plenty of time and opportunity will allow strolls through the Canyon Road and Plaza gallery districts, absorbing the interpretations artists are making of life, landscape and culture.

We hope you can join us on an outstanding tour and workshop in April 2016!

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Fiber art workshop-Santa Fe overview

IMG_0147-001DSCF3970If you love art and travel, our upcoming fiber art workshops are for you! The Santa Fe workshop will take place in April and promises to be a truly unique and in-depth experience. Not only will we be visiting a wealth of regional sites, we will also be creating fiber art pieces to interpret the landscape in our workshop. Each day will be filled with time to explore, absorb and create. We will visit local galleries and learn about the intricate pueblo pottery designs, and visit to the area rock art sites will be sure to inspire.

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We will be delving into needle felted landscape “painting”, using colored fleece to create impressions of the region. I have taught this technique in many workshops, both regionally and nationally, as well as in Ireland. During two week long workshops at John Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, we explored a multitude of ways to work with fleece and create original designs. First, we discuss composition, color and size, and how to create the most compelling design. Students often use photographs or sketches of DSCF8228places we have visited as inspiration, composing from their “visual” notes. After laying the fleece on a pre-felt background, being careful to add enough layers, we begin felting. Layers and colors are built up and adjusted to create a background. 





Then, once the student is satisfied with the layout, more details can be added. All of this is done with various sizes of needle felting tools, and  truly, no experience is necessary to create a sDSCF8206successful piece. We take tie to step back and discuss the progress, make adjustments and continue on. Felting this way is so satisfying and exciting! While DSC_0627landscapes are the focus, we leave plenty of time and opportunity for students to explore further, expand an idea, and go down a creative path.








J. Campbell Felt class 027J. Campbell Felt class 035We hope you can join us for our Santa Fe workshop in April. Art galleries, ancient petrolgyphs, weavers, mountains, desert and valleys, pueblos, and fine cuisine guaranteed!  See all the details on out tour page about Santa Fe.

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Pueblo Pottery

Have you ever wondered what the designs on ancient Pueblo Pottery mean, or what rock art images were meant to convey? Join us for our April 2015 Santa Fe region tour, where we will be delving into the why’s and what’s, seeing the pueblos, and meeting contemporary artists…There is a rich story to be told. On my most recent stay in Santa Fe, I researched the Pueblo Pottery traditions, past and present. There is such a wealth of beautiful work being made today, and what is interesting is that many of the designs that were used originally and prehistorically, have been carried down through the generations and appear on contemporary work.

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These pieces are on display at Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery in Santa Fe- a true “educational” retail experience! The helpful and knowledgeable staff explain in detail much of the mystery about ancient designs and motifs. The piece above on the left is very old, the one on the right, contemporary. (Please see the website for details on the artists)

It is fascinating to look at the pottery and see motifs that suggest clouds, rain, mythological beings, animals and natural elements, such as maize. The pottery tells a story through its design, and the mastery of geometric shapes and placement is amazing.

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We will be visiting the gallery on the tours and delving deeper into these works of art…admiring both the past and the present excellence in artistry. Can you detect flowers, kiva steps, turtles, feathers, waves, animals features…? Most of these designs are made with a small thin brush made from yucca plant fibers, and minerals found in the hills, ground and made into colorants. Amazing!

While I was still working as curator at the Tweed Museum , University of Minnesota-Duluth, I had the opportunity to suggest that we purchase several  pieces to enhance the items that were in the collection. Just above, the bowl on the left by John Montoya (Sandia Pueblo), was one item we purchased, and on the right, Marie Chino’s wedding vase (Acoma Pueblo), was another. We also purchased a beautiful Maria Martinez vase now on display in the ceramics exhibition that I curated. If you happen to be in Duluth, do stop in to see all of these pieces displayed in the museum!

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