Creations of Spirit: LAPC

The High Desert Museum, in Bend, Oregon, is currently hosting the Creations of Spirit exhibition. The pieces on display include historical artifacts and works by contemporary Native artists.

The beautiful pieces are enhanced by quotes throughout the gallery. I will let their words tell the stories.

Throughout the process, you continually impart yourself in the creation of that object. And when you’ve completed it, it takes on a life of its own.

Philip Cash Cash, Ph. D., Weyíiletpuu (Cayuse) and Niimpíipuu (Nez Perce) tribes
Creations of Spirit dress & fan
Child’s buckskin dress by Plateau artist (late 1800s) with bead dangles added (early 1900s); Feather fan by Umatilla artist (early 1900s)

I wanted to have my own story in the baskets. I wanted to keep the traditional form and the shape, but I wanted to add iconography that talked to the present.

Joe Feddersen, Member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation
Baskets & containers

Root bag with multiple figures by Plateau artist (early 1900s); Basket with animal figures by Umatilla artist (mid-1900s); Round Dance pitcher & cup by Joe Feddersen, 2002; Berry-picking container by Vivian Harrison, (StuYat), Yakama/Palouse/Wishram, 2002

Most of my designs are from the petroglyphs along the Nch’i wana [Columbia River]. I love and appreciate where our people came from, and our people left animals as stories in our pictographs and petroglyphs. That’s why I want to instill them in my baskets and keep them alive. I want people to know that we’ve been seeing these animals for tens of thousands of years.

Natalie Kirk, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
Creations of Spirit Baskets
Basket in progress with sturgeon and condor design by Natalie Kirk, 2022; Story Basket by Natalie Kirk, 2022

Living art to me is when you’re pouring your soul into something and sharing it at the same time.

Kelli Palmer, Enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
Creations of Spirit hat
Cornhusk putlapa by Kelli Palmer, 2022

Everything we make has a spirit. The one who wears the dress brings it to life. You can see that spirit alive when they dance.

Roberta Kirk H’Klumaiyat, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs/Diné

These and other works in the Creations of Spirit exhibition can be seen at the Museum through October 1, 2023.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Telling a story

18 thoughts on “Creations of Spirit: LAPC

  1. What treasures to come across, Siobhan, and what great stories the pieces tell. I loved all the photos. The intricate details in the baskets and clothing are a story as well. I taught myself to basket weave years ago. It is a lot of work, forget the design element. A great post.

    • Thank you, Donna! It’s a great exhibit. I too have made baskets and it is a lot of work, but satisfying in the end. 😀

  2. A wonderful ode to the creators of these objects, their reverence for their history and heritage, and the stories they tell through their beautiful work. Thanks for choosing to share them this week. A perfect choice.

  3. Ooh, these are wonderful! I would love this exhibition, seeing how the artists and craftspeople of the present interpret traditional motifs and techniques 🙂

    • Thanks, Sarah! Yes, it was cool to see how themes from the past were echoed in the work of contemporary artists.

  4. I really enjoyed your story, Siobhan. The detail in the artwork/folkart/clothing is so beautiful. They are works of art. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us!

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