Posts Tagged With: prehistoric art

Workshop AND Tour! Felting the Southwestern Landscape

Download the Brochure: Felting the Southwest Landscape


Authentic Travel and Tours presents:

“Felting the Southwestern Landscape”

A  workshop and tour in Santa Fe, New Mexico

April 17-26, 2016


The landscape of southwestern New Mexico is rich in color, form and ever changing light, and beautifully lends itself to interpretation is art. In this workshop we will explore ancient petroglyphs and pueblos where the past and present merge, learn about the history and culture of Santa Fe and surrounding areas, and experience the rich and vibrant art scene with visits to artists and museums. All of this experience will be brought back to our hands-on felt-making workshop focused on “Felting the Southwestern Landscape”.

Felt-making is an ancient art, used for thousands of years to create clothing, shelter and tapestries. In this workshop we will use needle felting to create art by painting with the fiber. Your instructor, Joan Molloy Slack, learned to felt in Ireland, where she has led art and cultural tours for 15 years. After exploring the variety of ways of working with fleece, from Turkish rug making to creating hats and mittens, she became fascinated with the possibilities of using the fiber “pictorially”. She has taught workshops using this technique for over 14 years, and enjoys using symbols, mythology and personal imagery in her landscapes. In the workshop we will bring our experiences in the landscape into our felt-work, and Joan will discuss and demonstrate how to bring a personal, unique and exciting dimension to the landscape format.  DSC_0422-001


The work shop will be held at the Inn of the Governors, which is our accommodation as   well. Amenities include a lavish breakfast buffet, complimentary afternoon tea or      sherry, computer use and free wi-fi in lobby, heated outdoor pool, and lovely rooms    decorated with a southwestern flair. There is also an on-site restaurant and bar.

Located just 3 blocks from the Plaza, it provides easy access to the vibrant city center,  with shops, galleries, museums and restaurants to explore. (

Local guides will enhance learning the history through a walking tour, and several day trips to surrounding areas will be included. We will make frequent stops for photography and sketching the desert, mountains, gorges and architecture that will be used from inspiration for the workshop projects. Visits to ancient petroglyph sites and pueblos, Georgia O’Keefe country, weavers and fiber artist galleries, and the entrancing Chimayo church and village will be sure to inspire. There will also be time to visit the excellent museums of the area, such as the Georgia O’Keefe museum, Contemporary American Indian Art Museum, and the Museum of Folk Art. A typical day outing will begin with a visit to artist Roxanne Swentzell’s gallery ( followed by the Poeh Center, which provides a visual description of pueblo life as well as an outstanding gallery of native art. We’ll travel the Rio Grande route, stopping in view of the mesa and Rio Grande gorge bridge to photograph and/or sketch. In Taos, we’ll visit the Millicent Rogers Museum and have some time to walk in the plaza and have lunch. Next, we will visit the Taos Pueblo and have a guided tour. We return on the High Road through the mountains (more photo opps!) and will spend time in the Spanish village of Chimayo, a sacred pilgrimage site. Robert at Ortega’s Weavers will demonstrate his art as we wind our way back to Santa Fe. A stop at a local winery for a wine tasting will complete the day.

One of our day trip guides will be Tom Gallegos, who also leads tours for the Story of New Mexico program at the University of New Mexico. He is awaiting publication of his first novel, Secrets to Tell about the early years of the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. Tom is a native of Taos and currently lives in Santa Fe.

In the workshop, we’ll use the inspiration of our outings to begin the fiber “paintings” that we will develop throughout the week. All levels of experience are welcome. Needle felting is not difficult to learn, and one can expect successful results with no experience. However, those with felting experience will find the opportunity to delve deeper into new techniques, exploring composition, light, dimension and symbolism. We will begin with smaller pieces, experimenting with using specific themes, dimension and texture, and will develop these ideas into a large 18 x 24 landscape. All materials and equipment will be included.  If you have questions about the content of the class and tour please contact the instructor, Joan Slack, at 715-277-4224 or  Preparatory materials will be sent upon registration. If you enjoy learning and creating while traveling, this is the trip for you!

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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!

Categories: All posts, Prehistoric art, Santa Fe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rock art and Adventures Around the World

My interest in art and archaeology has been worldwide, and rock art- the images created by the first people in cultures everywhere- was one area of graduate study that deeply intrigued me. I had always been interested in this area of study, but became more intensely focused upon drawing connections and studying the images.

JOM 1st scan 051 JOM 1st scan 054  After seeing the carved stellae depicting such unusual and sophisticated images in Monte Alban, Oaxaca, I began to study rock art images in the United States. Pictographs and petroglyphs abound, particularly in the west and southwest, though they do occur all over the continent. I began by studying the rock art images around the Great Lakes, where I live. I have visited sites, and read many books describing the images and possible meanings. OF course, one thing leads to another, and the prehistoric rock art images from thousands of cultures and time periods began to occupy my research. Lucy Lippard’s book OVERLAY brought a fascinating discourse about art, prehistory and contemporary artists into play, and not only brought fresh ideas to my studies, but also affected my own artwork and exploration of concepts in my work. these are the libraries of prehistoric people, from whom we have all descended. I wanted to know all I could about what they were communicating, and of course, we can never really ascertain that we know the truth for certain.

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My travels took me to Orkney, Scotland, to several World Heritage sites, including Skara Brae, where an entire prehistoric village had been covered for thousands of years and revealed when the sand was blown off in a storm. IT was fascinating to see the way people had lived-not so unlike us today! They even had toilets built into their homes, 5,000 BC. I continued to travel around Ireland, recording the stone carvings and imagery created there during the same era. Certainly sun, moon, and stars were depicted, but the carvings go beyond that realm. Soon I’ll write about the experiences in the cairns, seeing the images as possible trance inducing languages.


I also studied in and traveled to France, and visited the caves (called grottes in French) where people even longer ago, 30,000 BC, left their hand prints,stories and images on the walls. All of these experiences led to developing tours, acting on my desire to share all I had learned with people. Which leads me to Santa Fe…where the same practice can be seen in many places. On my tour there we will visit Bandelier Monument, where amazing images have been carved, pecked or drawn on stone, and try to understand just what the ancestors were communicating.

Categories: All posts, France, Ireland, Prehistoric art, Santa Fe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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