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!
Posts Tagged With: Pueblo Pottery
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.
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. (www.innofthegovernors.com)
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 (http://www.roxanneswentzell.net/) 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 email@example.com Preparatory materials will be sent upon registration. If you enjoy learning and creating while traveling, this is the trip for you!
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.
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.
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!