Artist Profile: CENTER OF CREATION by Deborah Jojola

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Deborah Jojola is the artist behind “Center of Creation,” the 2018 addition to the Pendleton Legendary series of blankets. An Isleta Pueblo and Jemez Pueblo Native American, Ms. Jojola is an expert in a variety of media, including painting, frescos, printmaking, ceramics, and bookmaking.

Her work is influenced by Surrealism, popular culture, Native culture, and her own personal experiences. She has received many prestigious awards, and is self-taught in her ongoing study of fresco, as part of her mission to bring back the lost art of Isleta Pueblo frescoes.

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Said Jojola of Islaeta traditions, “There was a pottery tradition, but it died out. There are contemporary artists that do the contemporary pottery, but it is only taught to family members. I see none in the collections of the many museums I visit. Basket weavers made willow baskets, but that medium is lost, too, no one weaves.” When Ms. Jojola was commissioned to produce a floor mural, she took it upon herself to research traditional designs on pots, kiva walls, and baskets. Her research led her to identify five key Isleta elements:

  1. Flower
  2. Seed pod
  3. Wind and clouds
  4. Lightning/spirit arrow
  5. Seeds flying in the air/circle and dots, also used in body painting by dancers.

These five elements were associated with the nearly vanished pottery tradition. Ms. Jojola used them on the mural, then turned to the art of the fresco, revitalizing the process with these ancient Isleta designs.

To make a fresco, the artist starts with earthen plaster that she screens and cleans. She gets her earth from a nicely cultivated field in Pueblo Jemez. This has been an agricultural area for many thousands of years, and it’s been carefully tended and enriched to stay fertile, so the earth is super fine.

She mixes the earth with a secret ingredient recommended by her mother, a binder that combines the earthen plaster and binds it to the surface that she’s going to plaster. She always uses distilled water to keep her colors clear of chemical contamination.

A framed panel is covered with burlap, which she then covers with the earthen plaster. There also a fiber involved in the fresco; the panel’s wood has been milled, but the burlap has a “tooth” that the plaster adheres to.

She also incorporates mixed media into some of her work; for instance, “Center of Creation” used a lithographed paper border along the bottom. She works with diptychs (two-panels) for ease of transport.

“Center of Creation” is adapted from the first fresco to be entered in the Santa Fe Indian Market.

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Here is the artist’s full explanation of the story told by this very special piece.

It takes two to marry and create life—the diptych is symbolic of that, because it’s two pieces. The cloud is picking up the seed and carrying it around, shown in the movement of the arrows from the earth. This is part of the growth of life, the flower-like passive movement of growing and moving.

The bottom border in the original piece that’s black on white, is actually a lithograph print done on Japanese paper, a contemporary piece. It’s placed directly above an earthen brown border. Old homes on the Pueblo have an earthen border, but it means more than that. We are Earth people. We are born from our Mother. The darkness is Mother Earth.

The two panels of the diptych do not quite touch. This is the center, the lifeline. For potters, the space where things don’t touch is the lifeline. This is the space for the breath that we all need to live. We were always here, and Creator gave us the original instructions on how to care for the earth and all its beings. The arrows symbolize sovereignty, instructions, and purpose to carry on the traditions of spiritual balance.

At the top of the design is the symbolic presence of wind, supported by the curvilinear spiral of life. Life is a spiral, and we have purpose in this life, and beyond this life.

Ms. Jojola is a fascinating person whose years as an artist and educator have involved her in so many artistic and curatorial projects. If you can hear her speak, make the time to listen. She has over 30 years of experience teaching, with time as an instructor at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, the Institute of American Indian Art, the Very Special Art of New Mexico, and OFF Center Community Arts, the East West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, and the Tamarind Institute. Ms. Jojola coordinated a Printmaking Exchange with Institute of American Indian Arts, Crow’s Shadows Institute in Pendleton, Oregon, USA and University of Sidney, Australia.

More information on her career and work can be found here:

Deborah Jojola 

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See the blanket here: Center of Creation

And it’s also a beautiful mug! Center of Creation mug

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Artist profile: Full Moon Lodge by Starr Hardridge

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Pendleton’s Full Moon Lodge blanket is based on a painting by Starr Hardridge, an esteemed artist who earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 1997, with further training in France and Italy. He is a registered member of the Muskogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma.

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Hardridge has exhibited at the Grand Palais as part of the Delegation Amerindienne in Paris, and took first place honors at the Santa Fe Art Market. In 2005, he earned the title of Superieur de Peinture Decorative from the Nadai-Verdon Atelier of Decorative Arts. Painting provides a deep link to his personal history. As he says, “My heart is in my art.”

He’s worked in several styles, with newer work using a technique based on pointillism and the beadwork aesthetic of the southeastern woodland nations. The colors and shapes in his newer work are inspiring. You can see his portfolio here: Starr Hardridge

When translating art into weavings, designers face challenges, especially in terms of the numbers of colors we are able to include. The vivid dyes of our wool captured the hues of the original painting; the drama that results from pairing blue and orange is striking. And the reverse is just as exciting!

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The design illustrates the relationship between mankind, Mother Nature and the creator of the universe whose medicine is love. It acknowledges our place between the sun and the full moon.

Full Moon Lodge is part of our Legendary Collection.

See more of these special blankets here: LEGENDARY BLANKETS

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Artist profile: Raven and the Box of Knowledge by Preston Singletary

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Preston Singletary is an internationally reknowned glass artist who incorporates traditional Pacific Coast elements in his work. He draws upon his Tlingit heritage with a special concentration on motifs found in Chilkat weaving.

Preston Singletary in his Seattle Studio

Traditional Northwest Coast tribal art uses formlines and ovoids fluid to create work that is vigorous and stylized; paintings, weavings, baskets, masks and totem poles and more. Singletary’s uncommon choice of media–glass and light—invests traditional motifs with breathtaking dimensionality and luminosity.

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At Pendleton, we have enormous respect for traditional arts done with traditional materials. Glass was traditionally only used in Native American beading. Anyone viewing Preston Singletary’s work in glass would probably agree with the artist when he says that glass “transforms the notion that Native artists are only best when traditional materials are used.”

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Singletary’s show at the Museum of Glass left viewers in a state of awe. See more in this show catalog: ECHOES, FIRE AND SHADOWS

Glass may seem static, but it is extremely visually interactive with its environment. In this excerpt from a documentary by filmmaker Todd Pottinger, Singletary talks about his inspiration, his studio, and the crucial role of light in his work.

And here is his TED talk.

When Preston designed a blanket for the American Indian College Fund, he chose to tell the tale of Raven and the Box of Knowledge. You can see that this design carries the same glowing dimensionality of his art pieces, with ombred stripes of color that meet in the heart of the design to light it from within.

 

Raven and the Box of KnowledgeThis intriguing blanket is based on a work by internationally renowned glass artist Preston Singletary. Mr. Singletary grew up in the Pacific Northwest–both of his great-grandparents were full-blooded Tlingit Indians. His works explore traditional images and legends of his Tlingit heritage translated into glass. The image on this blanket represents Raven, a shape shifter and trickster who often employed crafty schemes to achieve his goals. In the story, the old chief who lived at the head of the Nass River kept his precious treasure –the sun, the moon and the stars– in beautifully carved boxes. Raven steals the light, and making his escape carries the sun in his mouth. The sun is a metaphor for enlightenment or knowledge. The ombred background shades meet in the center in vibrant colors of sun and light. Mr. Singletary’s artworks are included in museum collections from the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC to the Handelsbanken in Stockholm, Sweden. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Seattle Art Museum. A portion of the proceeds from this blanket will be donated to the American Indian College Fund.

See the College Fund blankets here: American Indian College Fund Blankets

 

Wild and Scenic Rivers Part Two with Greg Hatten and Pendleton

We continue our series with Greg Hatten’s Woodenboat adventures on rivers protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers act. In this installment, Greg’s team approaches the run of a lifetime. 

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Frank Church Wilderness

In June I took my wooden boat down the River of No Return in the Frank Church Wilderness of Idaho. The Middle Fork of the Salmon was one of the original eight rivers inducted into the Wild and Scenic program and the bill was written and championed by Senator Frank Church of Idaho. This trip was special for so many reasons – mostly, because I got to row it alongside some of the best guides and woodenboat river runners on the planet…the Helfrich crew.

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The degree of difficulty of rowing this river in a fragile wooden boat was at the high-end of anything I had ever rowed. From the very first oar-stroke, the extreme gradient drop and rocky rapids provided non-stop rowing action the entire first day. For the five mile start through Sulpher Slide, Hell’s Half Mile and the Class IV Velvet Falls, I had just enough time to catch my breath between rapids and cast an occasional glance around at the beauty and rawness of the river wilderness and steep canyon walls we threaded our boats through.

The absence of dams on this river gives us a truly wild river to run – where the river level and conditions are dictated by the weather, the snow melt, the vertical drop, and the rock slides which change sometimes every year. Nothing controlled or contrived about the Middle Fork – it is in it’s natural state – rugged and raw and almost “untouched” by a human hand.

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Greg Hatten guest post – Buell Blankets and the St. Joseph Museum

Today’s post is from our friend Greg Hatten, of WoodenBoat adventure fame. Greg has always been interested in our Buell blankets (all retired, but one is still available), which were part of our Mill Tribute Series. Greg decided to find out some information on the original Buell blankets at the source; his hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri. Enjoy this visit, and if you’re interested in our Mill Tribute series blankets, links to our previous posts are below.

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Buell Blankets Headed West

St. Joseph, Missouri is my hometown. It’s a dreamy little river town that started out as a trading post on the banks of the Missouri and quickly became a launching pad for pioneers headed west to Oregon and California in the mid 1800’s. Some historians estimate that 250,000 settlers made the trek by wagon and on foot between 1850 and 1900. Most of those trips started in St. Joseph or Independence – where final provisions for the 5 month journey were acquired before embarking on the grand westward adventure that started by crossing the Midwestern prairie. Many were leaving for the rest of their lives.

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Wool blankets were on the provisions list of every trip – for sleeping and trading with Native Americans along the way. In St. Joseph, the Buell Woolen Mill was the primary source for blankets headed west. Known for quality over quantity, the blankets were strikingly colorful and many designs were based on patterns used by different Native tribes in paintings and beadwork out west. They were prized by the pioneers and Native Americans alike.

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As stated in the 1910 Buell Catalog:

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A storied pattern – Tucson

One of our new robe-size blankets for 2018 is the Tucson blanket. We especially love how the red version came off the loom.

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The Tucson area was originally home to the Akimel O’odham people, who simply call themselves O’odham, which means ‘The People.” Their creation story inspired this pattern. We have a short version on the hangtag, but the longer version is really quite beautiful.

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Supporting our National Parks: Now More Than Ever!

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Karla Morton, our favorite National Park Poet, sent this amazing shot from her “Words of Preservation: Poets Laureate National Park Tour.” This is the Pendleton Badlands National Park blanket, at home in the Badlands National Park. Karla and her fellow poet laureate, Alan Birkelbach, are 26 parks into their tour, with Hawaii and Samoa coming up soon. You can read more on their blog. We wish them well on their journey!

Along with our favorite poets, we have sent quite a few of our Pendleton National Park series blankets home to their parks with travelers, explorers and photographers. The blanket stripes and colors honor the landscapes, wildlife and ecology of our national treasures. Through licensed National Park Collection products we are proud to support two park restoration projects through a donation to the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. So far, through Pendleton’s initiatives with park series blankets and collaboration partners, we are closing in on 3/4 of a million dollars for two projects!

Many Glacier Hotel Stairway Project

In the 1950’s, the stunning double-helix staircase circling the lobby in the historic Many Glacier Hotel was torn out to make room for a gift shop. In 2017, with support from the Pendleton contributions, the historic staircase was rebuilt and now stands as a landmark feature in the newly restored lobby.

Grand Canyon Train Depot Project

Constructed in 1910, the Grand Canyon Depot is a National Historic Landmark and one of three remaining stations constructed from logs in the US. Today it remains an active rail depot, seeing thousands of visitors annually from its location near the canyon’s rim inside Grand Canyon National Park. Funds will support restoration and preservation efforts.

Our original plan was to partner with the National Park Foundation for two years, in honor of their 100 year anniversary. We have extended that partnership, as the parks need our support now more than ever. Buying a blanket is only one way to support your favorite park, and you can also make donations directly.  More information on ways to give can be found here: National Park Foundation Support

As Karla said, “…these lands, while under the preservation of the government, still need champions, still need those who are willing to give their time and hearts to make sure they continue to be protected.” Let’s all do our part.

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Five Favorite Pendleton Wedding Gifts

Summer is wedding season, and June is here. Are you looking for the perfect wedding gift? We have some suggestions to send your newlyweds off in style! Here are our top five Pendleton wedding gift suggestions.

5. Towel for Two

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The beach is a perfect place to lie side-by-side on the Pendleton Towel for Two. This big, blanket-sized towel is extra plush and soft—perfect for wrapping up together. Pure cotton terry is sheared on one side for softness, looped on the other for superior absorption. Just roll it up and take it along, thanks to the nylon carrying strap (included).

Shown above: Serrado    Below: Tucson   and    Point Reyes

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