Taking a Walk Off the Beaten Path with Taos Potter Camille Bernal

Part of the fun of SWAIA Indian Market is seeing what’s going on and off of the Santa Fe Plaza.  As a matter of fact, most stores and galleries have something going on that rides on the coattails of Indian Market.  On Saturday, I stopped into Keshi, a Native American art cooperative gallery, to see a friend and discovered the pottery of Taos artist Camille Bernal.
While Bernal uses traditional means to create her work, the end result is anything but traditional. As a matter of fact, her work is a tribute to ancient Egypt, Japan and Mesoamerica.  Her favorite subjects are insects and floral patterns.  She also favors shapes that deviate from the traditional “perfection” of pot shapes as one usually sees in Pueblo pottery.  Her deep, bold incised designs are very intriguing and beautiful.
While Bernal has never applied to have a booth at Indian Market, she is a regular at the Native Treasure show that takes place in Santa Fe every spring.  When she is not appearing there, her work can regularly be found at Keshi and online at http://www.keshi.com/.
Camille Bernal made time between talking with her admirers at her first one woman show at Keshi to talk about her pottery.  Watch my VIDEO INTERVIEW HERE:

Sur-Mound-ing Obstacles For Artistic Exploration with Public Donations

A greater awareness of ancient mound builder sites in the United States exists, especially amongst artists who use indigenous iconography in their work. But, do they really understand the meaning of the symbols they represent?

Two Native American art scholars and artists will explore ancient burial mounds in the United States to do just that–gain understanding.

What if you could help them? Well, it’s funny because now you can. On Saturday, September 10, America Meredith, Swedish-Cherokee painter and great, great niece of legendary cowboy and actor Will Rogers, and Choctaw-Hopi artist Linda Lomahaftewa will take off on an amazing journey through the ancient Southeastern Woodlands.

The purpose of the trip is to connect with the lands of their people that they have heard about all of their lives. The two artists will also sketch and photograph approximately twenty mound sites, which will become subjects for works in two exhibitions–one at Tribes 131 Fine Art and Gift Gallery in Oklahoma and another at Ahalenia Studio in Santa Fe in May 2012. The photographs will also be posted online for other educators and artists to use in their research.

Now through September 27, you can help these ladies fulfill their passion by donating as little as a dollar to their cause on the Exploring Ancient Southeastern Woodlands project site located on Kickstarter.com.  You can also follow America and Linda as they post updates about their journey.

Watch a video interview with the artists/educators HERE:

2011 SWAIA Indian Market: Layering the Past in Beads with Emil Her Many Horses

Every year at SWAIA Indian Market, it seems that I am fascinated by another genre. This year, it was bead and quillwork. Having discovered this past year that my heritage may very well include an Eastern Woodlands tribal background probably has something to do with it. Additionally, the artistic vision and discipline of these artists is amazing to me. Naturally, I was instantly drawn to the work of Emil Her Many Horses.
When Emil is not working full-time as a curator at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., he spends the remainder of his day working on stunning pieces of art for Indian art markets around the country including SWAIA Indian Market.  Born and raised on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, Emil is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe.  He began learning bead and quillwork when he was in junior high school. He saw an item that he wanted to purchase, but could not afford it, so he decided to make it instead. By enlisting tribal women to work patiently with him until he, in their estimation, had exceeded the quality of their work, he mustered the confidence to secure his fate as an artist.
Emil finds nontraditional “exotic” items that made their way onto reservations in bygone days fascinating. As his submission piece for the 2011 SWAIA Indian Market, and in celebration of the work of his predecessors, he chose to transform a vintage phonograph by decorating the horn with beads in the Eastern Sioux floral style.  It is inspired by a similar phonograph found in the Denver Art Museum which is rendered with porcupine quills.
He was kind enough to talk to me about his work, how he learned bead and quillwork, and how what was once considered to be women’s work was ultimately embraced by men as well.
Watch my interview with Emil Her Many Horses HERE:

Laura Cardenas: Putting the ‘Arte’ in Jewelry Design

If you live in the Phoenix, Santa Fe, or Albuquerque areas, you might be familiar with the jewelry of designer Laura Cardenas.  She started her company ArteSania five years ago after she began making jewelry for herself that appealed to her own sense of style.  Since then, she has been taking the art show circuit by storm with her beautiful chunky bracelets, pendants and rings inspired by her native Ecuador. From shells to indigenous stones to horsehair weavings encased in sterling silver, designs by Laura Cardenas inspire and bring the natural beauty of South America to admirers of her jewelry.  Her work is carried by galleries throughout the United States and South America as well as online at http://www.artesaniajewelry.com/.

She is definitely one of my favorite jewelry designers, and now you can have the opportunity to get to know her personality and work. I caught up with her at the Labor Day art show that takes place every September on Santa Fe’s historic Plaza. 

Check out my interview with Laura Cardenas HERE:

2011 SWAIA Indian Market: Doll Maker Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty

Detail of Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty’s Award-Winning Piece

Every year at SWAIA Indian Market, I have a new favorite artist.  This year it is is Assiniboine Sioux doll maker, bead and quill worker Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty. In addition to her breathtaking art work, Juanita is also one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.   It was by chance that I ended up at her booth at the 2011 SWAIA Indian Market, and she warmly welcomed me under the white tent to talk to me about her work and her family’s history participating in Indian Market.  She has been juried into the show for the last 26 years, and is a protege of her award-winning mother and collaborator Joyce Growing Thunder.

Joyce Growing Thunder

This year, Juanita won “Best of Division” and “First Place” in the “Diverse Arts” category for her soft sculpture Native American riding a horse adorned in full regalia.  She was so kind to let me film her piece, photograph it in detail and talk to me about what went into making this award-winning exquisite work of art.

Watch my interview with Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty HERE: