Native American Women, Their Art, and the Photographs of Edward S. Curtis Exhibit

Mother and child - Apsaroka by Edward S. Curtis

Mother and child – Apsaroka by Edward S. Curtis

The Photographs of Edward S. Curtis in the By Her Hand Exhibit

This exhibition features portraits of Native women by photographer Edward S. Curtis from the collection of Christopher G. Cardozo. Curtis took the featured photographs over a 30-year period as part of a project to document Native American’s lifestyle and culture in a time of change. Curtis traveled across North America from 1900 to 1930 photographing over 80 tribes.

By Her Hand Exhibit of Edward S. Curtis Photos , High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon October 2018

By Her Hand Exhibit of Edward S. Curtis Photos, High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon

Edward S. Curtis worked out of a studio in Seattle, Washington and received financial support from J. P. Morgan. Curtis collected information about the lives of each tribe through photographs, writings, and audio recordings. With the help of Native translators, he assembled a 20-volume set titled The North American Indian. Curtis intended to publish 500 copies but due to a series of financial and personal setbacks, only about 272 were printed. Ninety percent of the original sets are owned by institutions, including the High Desert Museum.

Hupa Female Shaman by Edward S. Curtis

Hupa Female Shaman – by Edward S. Curtis

The portraits in this exhibit have a beautiful yet haunting quality to them. The labor-intensive photogravure process Curtis used allowed him to create subtle variations in tone and focus. Curtis insisted on using only the highest quality materials and he experimented with a variety of techniques. In 2015 there was a city-wide celebration of Curtis’ work in Bend. Dawn Boone, of the A6 studio, gave a lecture on the photographs. She made an observation that one of the women portrayed seemed to be “softening back into the earth right before our eyes.”

On the Beach - Chinook by Edward S. Curtis

On the Beach – Chinook by Edward S. Curtis

Native American author Louise Erdrich has an interesting perspective on the women represented in Edward S. Curtis’ photographs. She said, “Women’s work is celebrated in Curtis’ photographs–women grind corn, bake bread, make clay vessels, doctor each other, pick berries, haul wood and water, gather reeds, dig clams. These images of women working are among my favorites, for they are more practical then elegiac, yet entirely harmonious, and they are often the most sensual of Curtis’ works.”

By Her Hand 8

While Curtis’ ambitious project documented the tribes, it was not without controversy. He often staged portraits. Sometimes he mixed up artifacts and traditions between tribes. He referred to Native Americans as a “vanishing race.” Native peoples were losing their rights and their lands but many did successfully adapt to Western society.

By Her Hand 6.jpg

There was a revival of interest in Curtis’ work beginning in the 1970s.  He was an exceptional photographer, and he documented many facets of Native American life that no longer exist. Museums across the country feature major exhibitions of his work. Original printings of The North American Indian bring extraordinary prices at auction.

Historical and Contemporary Art from the Museum’s Collection

This new exhibit also includes basketry, beadwork, and leatherwork created by Native Americans of the Columbia Plateau. Intricate beadwork adorns bags, a cradleboard, and clothing. There are examples of different styles of basketry in this exhibit. Featured contemporary Native artists include Pat Courtney Gold, Roberta Kirk, and Kelli Palmer. Kelli Palmer often designs baskets based on photographs from the past—including those of Edward S. Curtis.

By Her Hand Exhibit of Edward S. Curtis Photos, baskets, and beadwork, High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon 

By Her Hand Exhibit of Edward S. Curtis Photos, baskets, and beadwork, High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon

Native American cultures passed techniques for creating basketry and beadwork down through generations. Many items were utilitarian, but the makers included symbols and patterns in artistic ways. Contemporary artists may include materials such as commercial string and yarn in traditional and newly created patterns.

By Her Hand Exhibit of Edward S. Curtis Photos, baskets, and beadwork, High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon 

By Her Hand Exhibit of Edward S. Curtis Photos, baskets, and beadwork, High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon

In the early 20th century, Native people were forced to live on reservations. Many lost their language, ways of life, and skills such as basket making. Children were sent to boarding schools and weren’t allowed to learn things associated with their cultural identity. Columbia Plateau people have been working to bring back the knowledge of cultural traditions. As new generations learn the traditions and art forms of their ancestors, they will ensure the culture portrayed in Curtis’ photographs survives. Pat Courtney Gold notes that basket making is not only artistic; it is an expression of and central to the revitalization of her culture.

By Her Hand Exhibit of Edward S. Curtis Photos, baskets, and beadwork, High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon 

By Her Hand Exhibit of Edward S. Curtis Photos, baskets, and beadwork, High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon

This exhibit will be on display at the High Desert Museum through January 20, 2019. For more about Edward S. Curtis, see a series of articles I wrote here.

Close ups of images are from this source:

Northwestern University Library, Edward S. Curtis’s “The North American Indian,” 2003.
http://curtis.library.northwestern.edu/site_curtis/

This is a reprint of a November 2018 article in High Desert Voices, a newsletter by and for volunteers and staff at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. To see more issues of the newsletter, go here.

 

Big Bold Art in Bend: LAPC

Big bold and beautiful

This summer a new big bold mural was added to the collection of outdoor art in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon. Yuya Negishi created this artwork. He was inspired by the mountains, colorful skies, and brilliant flowers of Central Oregon.

Did you notice that the dragon in this mural is breathing flowers instead of fire?

Big bold mural Bend, Oregon 19October2018Here’s more about the artist from a post about Art Murals Around Bend.

“Yuya Negishi is a Japanese visual artist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His work combines his extensive background in the classical Japanese techniques of calligraphy and SUMI with Japanese pop culture images such as koi, dragons and Buddha’s. Yuya approaches his work in the spirit of play often exploring new ideas and mediums. He also teaches hands on workshops sharing his approaches to SUMI and Calligraphy.

Yuya was born in a small farming community in the mountains beyond Tokyo. Yuya draws artistic inspiration from the memories and sensations of growing up in the Japanese countryside, where he would roam “like a hidden Ninja” exploring the woods, temples and mountain tops of the breathtaking Gunma region.”

See more of Yuya’s amazing art on yuyart .

This big bold artwork is right next to the flag bridge and it can be seen when you’re walking the Mill A Loop trail or floating the Deschutes River.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – BIG can be beautiful too!

 

Outdoor Bonsai: Artful Miniatures LAPC

A sculpted garden of outdoor bonsai plants

I saw these outdoor bonsai trees on the High Desert Garden Tour in Bend, Oregon this summer. I marveled at the artistry that went into sculpting these plants. Though I’ve seen bonsai trees in the past, I was pleasantly surprised to see tree species that grow locally sculpted into small replicas of full size trees. You can see why they are referred to as “living art.”

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Small is beautiful

Beautiful Beadwork – OWPC: Museum

Messages communicated without words

I am always amazed by the beautiful beadwork on display at the High Desert Museum where I volunteer. The carefully crafted pieces represent work by tribes of the Columbia Plateau in parts of modern-day Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Beautiful Beadwork at the High Desert Museum 25February2018Tribes represented include Umatilla, Wasco, Wishram, Paiute, Washo, Chehalis, Quinault, Nez Perce, Skokomish, Chinook, Tillamook, Yakima, Warm Springs, Haida, Salish, Yaqui, and others.

Doris Swayze Bounds Collection of Native American Artifacts

They are artifacts with an emphasis on “art.” However, Native Americans in the 1700’s and 1800’s did not make art for art’s sake. Beads embellished utilitarian pieces.  Beads adorned items ranging from small handbags and knife cases, to deerskin clothing and footwear.

Beautiful Beadwork at the High Desert Museum 9December2015The High Desert Museum houses the Doris Swayze Bounds Collection of Native American Artifacts. Born in 1904 in Oklahoma, Doris Swayze Bounds later lived in Hermiston, Oregon, where she worked as a banker. She always appreciated Native American people and their culture. Many of the pieces in the collection were gifted to her by local Native Americans as a way of showing their respect and affection to her. The artifacts date from the 1870’s to the 1960’s. The collection has many pieces, but I focused on the beadwork in this post.

A brief history of beadwork in North America

In the early 1800’s, beads used in trading with native people were referred to as “pony” beads. Transported by pack animals, the beads were limited in availability and colors. The smaller “seed” beads became widely available after about 1850. These inexpensive beads were available in larger quantities and in a wider variety of colors.

White traders thought of the beads as cheap trinkets but to native peoples, they were highly prized. The beads were valued for their beauty and durability. They also freed up time that would have gone into crafting beads from bone, shells, and other materials. The beadwork became a status symbol and a source of pride in their culture.

Beautiful Beadwork at the High Desert Museum 25February2018Bead-working techniques vary and show ethnic membership. Colors and motifs represent different things to different tribes. If symbols are changed, such as being inverted or assembled in incorrect colors, they may show a hidden negative message. For example, an inverted American flag could have expressed displeasure with governmental policies.

Beautiful Beadwork at the High Desert Museum 25February2018Expressions of cultural pride

The beadwork is this collection is beautiful but some pieces were made during a dark chapter in American history. The hardships native peoples endured are difficult to imagine. Beadwork allowed them to express pride in their culture when they were being forced to give up their traditional ways of life.  We are fortunate that some of their remarkable work has been preserved.

To view more of this collection and learn about Native American’s many accomplishments and challenges, visit the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon

Beautiful Beadwork at the High Desert Museum 25February2018

Source of beadwork history information:

Logan, M. H. (2014). Brightly Beaded: North American Indian Glass Beadwork [Pamphlet]. Knoxville, Tennessee: University of Tennessee, McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture.

One Word Photo Challenge – Museum

 

Where the deer and the antelope played

Celebrating a life

After living a life full of leaps and bounds, she settled down in her favorite aspen grove. The bunchgrass waved goodbye. The rabbitbrush shaded her in her final moments. The rosebush provided fruit in celebration of her life. And finally, the aspen covered her in leaves of gold.

Where the deer and the antelope played 2November2017Weekly Photo Challenge – Story

Silent barks: WPC

Silent barks speak with voices needing to be heard.

Silent Barks Western Juniper 8August2016Unknown worlds are tucked into their cracks and crevices.

 

Silent Barks Paper Birch 16February2018Layers peel away to reveal glimpses of their hearts.

 

Silent Barks Quaking Aspen 18November2018Their eyes gaze at us with infinite wisdom.

 

Silent Barks Hemlock 12February2016They sometimes wear disguises to cover up who they are.

 

Silent Barks Alder 3June2016But by peeking under silent barks, we learn we are all the same beneath.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Out of This World

Sketching Raptors Workshop

Drawing from a different perspective

Great horned owl at High Desert Museum 20January2018

Great horned owl

On January 20, visitors entered Classroom A at the High Desert Museum to find the room filled with lifelike mounts of raptors. One mount depicted a California quail being chased by a sharp-shinned hawk. Another was of a great horned owl perched on a branch. A golden eagle mount, with outstretched wings, dwarfed the other birds on display. Artist Ian Factor welcomed participants in the workshop and everyone got to work sketching the birds. Curator of Art and Community Engagement Andries Fourie also attended and offered help when needed.

Siobhan's Drawing Kit 20January2018

My fancy drawing kit

Various art supplies were available for our use. Many attendees brought their own supplies neatly tucked into special cases. Others, like me, had the bare essentials, so we were grateful more were provided.

Drawing from reference materials

A variety of reference materials were displayed. There was a collection of bird wings, talons, and skulls. An articulated bird skeleton stood on a tabletop. We learned the basic form of our subjects by looking at mounts prepared by American Kestrel study by Siobhan Sullivan © 2018taxidermists. Though not available at this workshop, study skins, or museum mounts, are often utilized for research and artistic purposes. Photographs can help when you’re doing wildlife art and participants were snapping a lot of pictures. Reference materials are helpful in getting the details right and in understanding the underlying anatomy.

This workshop, like most hosted by the Museum, was open to people of all skill levels. Some attending the event were beginners, while others were more advanced. The artists drew the birds with a variety of media.  Several sketched in black-and-white with pencils, graphite, or charcoal; other participants added color with pastels and colored pencils.

Drawing from life

Red-tailed hawk by Siobhan Sullivan 2018 ©Drawing from life can be much more challenging. When sketching in a natural setting, you have to work fast to capture the essence of the bird. In this workshop, we sketched a live red-tailed hawk and great horned owl from the Museum’s collection. The hawk was quiet and basically stayed in one position. The owl was vocal and active the whole time. It can frustrate you when your subject doesn’t cooperate, but you have to learn to be flexible.

Participants were told to draw large shapes first then “carve down” to the details. After getting the basics down, Ian Factor advised us to capture the character of the birds. Character in this case is related to their adaptations for a predatory lifestyle and their individual personality. Wildlife Specialist Laura McWhorter provided many interesting life history facts on both of the live bird models provided for this workshop.

Participants drawing great horned owl at High Desert Museum 20January2018

Participants drawing great horned owl

Ian pointed out things each participant did well and areas that might need improvements. He was especially helpful to those new to drawing. Participants were enthusiastic about this workshop. In fact, one even asked if we could have this class every weekend.

Red-tailed hawk at High Desert Museum 20January2018

Red-tailed hawk

Do you have any ideas for art workshops at the Museum? If so, please send them to Andries Fourie at afourie@highdesertmuseum.org.

Reprinted from the February 2018 issue of High Desert Voices, a newsletter by and for volunteers working at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. To see issues of the newsletter, click here.

 

Bridge Art – The Other Side

I have posted a couple pictures of  bridge art on one side of this bridge in Bend, Oregon. Now it’s time to show the other side. The colorful artwork brightens up these cool cloudy winter days.

Bridge of Art in Bend, Oregon 14July2017

Links showing the other side

Here’s a link to a photo of the artist, Sandy Klein, working on the paintings on the bridge – Bridge of Art.

Here’s a link that shows the completed artwork on the other side – Bridge of Art Update.

Friday Flowers

Crane Creek Ranch Sculpture

I saw this metal sculpture of a stagecoach on a recent trip and wanted to experiment with how to present it. I chose to use a digital version of the autochrome process.

Stagecoach sculpture at Crane Creek Ranch near Lakeview, Oregon Autochrome 1November2017

When this process was first presented at the Paris Photo Club by the Lumiére brothers in 1907, it was a turning point in color photography. Other methods existed but this process used a novel ingredient – potato starch. Glass plates were covered with grains of potato starch dyed red, green, and blue. Carbon black and a thin emulsion layer were added and the plate was flipped and exposed to light. The image could be developed into a transparency.  To see some of the dreamlike photos created with this process, click here.

The sculpture is on Highway 140, northeast of Lakeview, Oregon. The artwork is near a locked gate with “Crane Creek Ranch” over the entrance.

Here’s what my original image looked like:

Stagecoach sculpture at Crane Creek Ranch near Lakeview, Oregon 1November2017

Weekly Photo Challenge – Experimental

Dance to a Colorful Beat

Yesterday I went to the Festival of Cultures in Redmond, Oregon. I was impressed by a dance group called Titlakawan Aztec Danza. Hope you enjoy the video I shot of them dancing. Even the toddlers and babies participated.

Here’s a blurb about them that was in the program for the World Beat Festival in Salem earlier this year:

“This Aztec dance troupe is based in Salem/Dayton, Oregon. Titlakawan means “We all possess it” or “We all have potential to fully realize ourselves as human beings”. Our troupe promotes through Aztec dance discipline a healthy lifestyle and outlook. The Aztec dance has its roots in central Mexico and has been practiced and protected in the last 400 years. Through immigration, it has set root here in the Northwest for the enjoyment of all those who participate.”

Here are a few pictures of the dancers. I loved the ornate headpieces! They were colorful and dramatic.

This Festival of Cultures had representatives from several countries including Bolivia, China, the Punjab state in India, Japan, and Yemen.  This event celebrates the many cultures that live in Oregon and the contributions they have made to our state. There were musical performances, dances, activities, handmade crafts, and foods from several of the cultures. There was also a play area for kids. It was a feast for the senses.

Titlakawan Aztec Dancers dance at Festival of Cultures Redmond, Oregon 23Sept2017

 

Art in The High Desert show 2017

Artwork shines at the Art in the High Desert show

If you’re looking for things to do in Bend this weekend, go see the Art in the High Desert show. This juried arts and crafts show features works in a wide variety of media. Please help support the 115 North American artisans selected for this show by purchasing some of the things they have created. To see a gallery of the work featured this year, click here.

Woodwork by Jack West at Art in the High Desert 2017 Bend, Oregon

Woodwork by Jack West at  Art in the High Desert 2017 in Bend, Oregon

Here is the woodwork of Jack West of Fort Jones, California. These works of art display fine craftsmanship and an eye for bringing out the best in the woods he works with. The carved curving lines on some of his works are unique and they enhance the wood’s natural beauty. You can see more of his work here .

Ceramics by Gerard Arrington at Art in the High Desert Bend, Oregon

Ceramics by Gerard Arrington at Art in the High Desert 2017 in Bend, Oregon

Here is the ceramic work of Gerald Arrington of Sebastopol, California. You may know that I have a thing about rocks and this artist creates realistic-looking rocks out of clay. His pieces are sculptural, stunning, and earthy. You can see more of his work here.

Sunny views of the show

Crossing the bridge over the Deschutes River to see the Art in the High Desert show Bend, Oregon 26Aug2017

Crossing the bridge over the Deschutes River to see the Art in the High Desert show in Bend, Oregon

This show is good every year but this year it’s great! If you go to the show, you will understand why it’s in the top ten shows in the nation.  The show runs August 25-27 and it’s free to get in. It’s located on the banks of the Deschutes River in Bend at 730 SW Columbia Street.

 

Wear in the world?

Can you guess where I was earlier this month? Yes! I was on a 2,754-mile road trip to see parks in Utah and Nevada. We visited five national parks and one state park in Utah and one national park in Nevada.

I love the artwork on these t-shirts. It’s nice to remember a place with a wearable piece of art.

BryceNatPk 6May2017

I took a few pictures while on this trip. 1,420 to be exact. Lots of material for future blog posts!

Newspaper Rock – Ancient Messages in Stone

Newspaper Rock, UT 4May2017An amazing example of petroglyphs can be seen on the road into the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. Wow! I have seen petroglyphs before but never so many in one spot. There are more than 650 drawings on a rock wall at this state historical monument. The dark desert varnish provides a nice contrast to the messages carved into the stone.

Newspaper Rock 2, UT 4May2017The first carvings at this site have been determined to be 2,000 years old. People of the Archaic, Anasazi, Fremont, Navajo, Anglo, and Pueblo cultures have carved their messages into the rock over the years. Unfortunately, it looks like some more modern graffiti artists added to parts of the scene.

Newspaper Rock 3, UT 4May2017The meanings of the messages here have been difficult to figure out. Do they tell a story or are they merely scribbles? The Navajo refer to this site as Tse’ Hane – translated as  “Rock that tells a story.” It does indeed appear to tell many stories. Only the people who made the carvings know exactly what those stories were.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Heritage
Continue reading

An artist’s wish

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park 5June2015

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Sometimes an artist’s greatest wish is that others will be able to see the emotion and spirit of a place in their work. I hope you can feel some of what I was trying to capture in this photo from Yellowstone National Park.

Art is about expressing the true nature of the human spirit in whatever way one wishes to express it. If it is honest, it is beautiful. If it is not honest, it is obvious.
Corin Nemec

Weekly Photo Challenge – Wish

A Matched Pair

Draft horse outdoor metal sculpture  in Bend, Oregon 4Dec2016Here is another great outdoor metal sculpture by local artist Greg Congleton. This sculpture depicts a team of draft horses pulling a log. Thousands of draft horses were imported from Western Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century to help with logging, farming, and moving freight and passengers.

Sign for Two Bits outdoor metal sculpture, Bend, Oregon 4Dec2016Here is the sign nearby that lists some of the parts used to make this sculpture. Can you find any of them?

Note that this sculpture was donated by Penny and Phil Knight. Phil is the co-founder and chairman emeritus of a company named Nike. Perhaps you have heard of it.

Here is a video of Belgian draft horses at work dragging logs. They are pretty impressive.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – A Good Match

Art Afoot – First Fridays

Street scene at First Friday in Bend, OR 3Feb2017

The stores are open late on First Fridays

Ready to celebrate a new month by looking at some impressive art? If so, you might want to go to Bend, Oregon for the First Friday event. Every month select businesses keep their doors open late in support of the arts. Businesses in the downtown and Old Mill areas host artists while galleries feature the latest exhibits. This month Willow Lane Artist’s Creative Space joined First Friday for the first time.

Sip, snack, & see stuff

As you walk around the area, you can stop in to view the art and get free drinks and snacks at the participating businesses. Some also have live music. It’s a popular event so get there early. We went a couple nights ago and the cool temperatures helped make the crowds a little smaller.

You never know what you will find at this event. One summer night we saw a young boy standing on a street corner putting out some amazing music on his fiddle. Just around the corner from him, a craftsman displayed his handmade leather works. Just across the street from them, a couple guys strummed on their guitars as they sang. Many passerbys stopped to admire the work of these artisans.

Red Chair Gallery 3Feb2017

Red Chair Gallery

Continue reading

The T. rex within

Tyrannosaurus rex rock by Siobhan Sullivan ©2017

While on vacation, I picked up a rock and it told me what it was meant to be. A Tyrannosaurus rex of course!

I took it home and got ready to paint. All of the ridges and depressions seemed to be in exactly the right spots. Even the greenish color was right. I darkened a few spots and enhanced others. I added scales with a tiny brush. The crooked grin fit right into the contours of the rock. The nostril and eye placed themselves along a ridge and depression.

Look past external appearances and you may find magic hidden within.

Weekly Photography Challenge – Repurpose

Buzzsaw Sharks Exhibit

Buzzsaw Shark at HDM September2016

Weird Science

Fossilized teeth that form a shape like a buzzsaw were found in the 1800’s but the type of creature they belonged to was not determined until 2013. A research team consisting of people with backgrounds in art, science, and digital technology solved the mystery. The whorl of teeth belonged to Helicoprion, the buzzsaw shark or whorl toothed shark. This exhibit brings the findings of that research to life through the artwork of Ray Troll and the sculptures of Gary Straub.

Buzzsaw Shark at HDM September2016A massive sculpture of the huge head of a buzzsaw shark bursts through the wall outside of the exhibit at the High Desert Museum and there are additional sculptures and detailed images inside the gallery. A large sculpture of a buzzsaw shark hangs over your head as you enter the gallery. The walls are covered with murals of waves and members of the shark family. Large colorful paintings show the shark family tree and how buzzsaw sharks swimming in the deep may have looked. Glass cases enclose fossils of the odd-shaped whorl of teeth. Projections of that whorl spin across the floor. Framed drawings of buzzsaw sharks hang on the walls. An interactive model of a buzzsaw shark skull shows the action of those formidable-looking teeth. You can sit on a comfy couch (emblazoned with a whorl pattern) and watch a video about the now-extinct shark.

Cheeseburgers?

When I was at the exhibit, I heard a five-year old boy entering the gallery with his family remark, “Wow! Mommy look at that!” Yes, this is a dramatic exhibit that contains a lot of visual interest and fascinating information. The whorl pattern is repeated throughout the exhibit. The artist also had a little fun with the exhibit by hiding several representations of cheeseburgers in the displays. Can you find any of them in the gallery?

Scientific research and art intertwine

buzzsaw3-sioAt first scientists could not figure out what the creature was that possessed the whorl of teeth or where exactly on the animal they were located. The 2013 research team, Team Helico, used CT scans and 3D digital modeling to figure out that it fit into the lower jaw of an ancient shark. Alaskan artist Ray Troll, has been obsessed with the buzzsaw shark for over 20 years and lent his expertise to the team at Idaho Museum of Natural History. Ray is a well-known natural history artist who has lectured at places such as Harvard and Yale. His work has appeared at the Smithsonian and is featured in the current High Desert Museum exhibit.

As part of their research, Team Helico tried to determine exactly how the buzzsaw shark’s jaw worked. It didn’t slice through the head of the shark because it was blocked by small “stops” on the jaw. The team thought it likely that it ate soft-bodied prey because there wasn’t much tooth wear. It probably grabbed and sliced its prey between its tooth whorl and upper jaw and then swallowed it down its gullet.

Buzzsaw Shark at HDM September2016As more and more of the distinctive whorl-shaped fossils were found in the early 20th century, scientists delineated many as separate species. Leif Tepanila and Jesse Pruitt, of the Idaho Museum of Natural History, did further analysis on the fossils and figured out there were only three distinct buzzsaw sharks species.

The teeth themselves are unique among sharks. Unlike other sharks, they formed a whorl as they grew and were never shed. A mature shark could have 150 or more teeth. New teeth form in a “tooth pit” in the back of the mouth and push the whorl forward when they erupt. They switch from being baby teeth to adult teeth at around tooth number 85. No one knows why their jaw has this unusual form.

A team effort

We are always thankful for the work of our staff on setting up exhibits but this particular exhibit was a little different. The artist wanted lots of participation from staff and volunteers on the background work. Images were projected onto the walls and then painstakingly painted by numerous people at the Museum. If you were one of the people who worked on the display, be sure to go into the exhibit to see the final product. The people who participated in this project had a variety of skill levels and some were nervous about doing it “right.” Everyone should be proud of their work because it all came together into a wonderful looking exhibit!

I am reprinting this article I wrote for the October 2016 issue of High Desert Voices, a newsletter for volunteers and staff at the High Desert Museum. The exhibit will be at the Museum until April 23, 2017. NOTE: This exhibit is no longer at the Museum.

To see a fast-speed video of the installment of this exhibit, go here.

Giving Art Wings

 

Woodhouse's scrub jay Aphelocoma woodhouseii by Siobhan Sullivan Nov 2016

Stress and chaos can take parts of you away; creating art helps to bring it back.

Here is a painting of a scrub jay that I worked on this week to help cope with some of my stress. Jays are one of my favorite birds and the most common one in my neighborhood seemed to be the perfect subject. Click  here to see another of my jay paintings and to read an entertaining post about jays.

Art in the High Desert

Art in the High Desert 2016

Art in the High Desert 2016

Art with a view

Set along the scenic Deschutes River, the Art in the High Desert event features 110 artists from throughout North America. Based on its sales of fine art, it is ranked number 12 for best fine arts festival in the nation. This is the ninth year of the event. The show features a wide variety of two- and three-dimensional artwork.

My favorite works there this year were created by local artist, Jason Waldron. He makes three-dimensional works created with wood and metal scraps salvaged in Central Oregon. They are large, dramatic, and expressive. Check them out at Waldron 3D.

Hot Air Extraordinaire

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Harnessing hot air into giant works of art makes for some interesting sights. We went to Balloons Over Bend last weekend for a couple of their events. There were plenty of opportunities for photographs. In these first photos, I decided to focus in on some of the colorful shapes and interesting lines.

Multiple hot air balloons in Bend, OR 23 July 2016

We went to the morning launch at sunrise. Temperatures are low in the morning and it is not usually as windy so that’s when many of the flights occur. Flights also occur just prior to sunset.

Night Glow hot air balloons in Bend, OR 22 July 2016

There is also a nightime event called Nightime Glow. The pilots of the balloons light up the balloons with their propane-fueled burners. It creates some beautiful images.

Night Glow multiple hot air balloons in Bend, OR 22 July 2016

The balloons did not lift off of the ground but they gave us a great light show. There were hundreds and hundreds of people at this event so if you go, get there early.

Art Aloft balloon in Bend, OR 23 July 2016

This was my favorite balloon. It belongs to Big Sky Balloon Company in central Oregon. The artwork was created by owner Darren Kling, as part of his Artaloft Project.

Hot air balloons fly at 100 to 2,000 feet above the ground with an average cruising altitude of 1,000 feet. They travel with the wind and generally don’t go much faster than 8-10 mph. Balloons carry 1-12 passengers. They are a great way to see the landscape around you from a different perspective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grounded

Thermophiles Yellowstone NPkLook beneath your feet
And notice

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colors blending Yellowstone NPk

Notice the textures
Notice the colors blending
And bold

Textures Yellowstone NPk

Near Grand Prismatic Spring Yellowstone NPk

Bold and brilliant hues
Bold and distinct edges
And patterns

 

 

 

 

 

Ridges Yellowstone NPk

Patterns of cracks
Patterns of smoothness
And transitions

Pebbles Yellowstone NPk

 

Transitions Yellowstone NPk

Transitions moving towards new
Transitions moving in a rhythm
And beat

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Prismatic Spring Yellowstone NPk

Beat into the earth
Beat into your memory
And soul

Meadowlark Time

Western Meadowlark Clock

I couldn’t find a clock I really liked so we made one with some leftover scraps of wood. I painted a Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta, on it because it’s our state bird. It’s also the state bird of Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska.

They are a beautiful bird with bold, bright markings. They have a cheery sounding song that always reminds me of the Wild West. Listen to it here. Western Meadowlark song.

Oregon Winterfest

Oregon WinterFest celebrates the winter season here in Central Oregon. This is the 17th year of the event. Here are few more photos from the recent event. You can see pictures of some of the ice sculptures above. The bird sculpture was still in the process of being carved.

Fire King & Ice Queen

Fire King & Ice Queen

The Fire King and Ice Queen made their entry on horseback. The queen called herself “Princess Ariel Anna Belle Elsa Cinderella Rapunzel.”

Inside the tents

Inside the tents

There were booths to get food, beverages, and handmade crafts inside the large tents. There were also quite a few food carts outside.

Blacksmithing

You could be a Blacksmith

The Central Oregon Metal Arts Guild had demonstrations and workshops scheduled throughout the event. You could make your own large wall hook for $20.

There were several bands playing at the event. A couple of my favorites were The Company Grand and the B Side Brass Band.  The Company Grand is a 10-member band that harkens back to the big band era while throwing in some modern sounds. B Side Brass Band is a New Orleans inspired band with a great sound and a lot of enthusiasm. Both bands are local.

There were many other activities at the event including a high-flying dirt bike show, a flying dog show, a Children’s Area, a Star Wars themed run, and a wine walk. I previously posted pictures of the Fire Pit Competition.

This year the proceeds from admission fees went to Saving Grace, a local organization that provides support services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. If you are thinking about going next year, keep in mind that the money raised goes towards local causes.

 

 

FIRE!

Did that get your attention? I went to the Oregon WinterFest event here in Bend this weekend and took some pictures of the Fire Pit Competition that I wanted to share with you. This is the 17th year of the festival so it has a long history in the area. This is the fourth year for the fire pit competition and there are more entries every year.

The dragon and a fire pit with the flag bridge and Deschutes River in the background.

The fire pits came in many shapes and sizes.

FirePit6 WinterFest

This one had an enclosure with mirrors.

FirePit7 WinterFest

This one was like a huge globe.

Flowers of flame and a burning stump.

FirePit14 WinterFest

This one tied everything together into a nice package.

Some were tall and others were closer to the ground.

 

FirePit19 WinterFest

Visitors were glad to have many places to warm up.

Some of the pieces were very intricate.

Would you prefer steaming hot espresso or a roasted garlic?

FirePit18 WinterFest

This one provided shelter from the breezy conditions on Saturday night.

FirePit11 WinterFest

You could tell that the artists put a lot of heart into their work.

Hope you have a nice Valentines’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edward S. Curtis Pt. 9 – Conclusions

Chief and his staff - Apsaroke by Edward S. Curtis. 1905.

Chief and his staff – Apsaroke by Edward S. Curtis. 1905.

Images by Curtis are still being pushed out into the world. There are many inexpensive prints available. In the last presentation of the Curtis Fever series, Dr. Julia Dolan wondered what Edward S. Curtis would have thought of that. She wondered what the tribes thought about it as well. Though Curtis photographed native peoples because he thought they were vanishing, that idea was wrong since they still exist. An advertisement for a TV show showing a portrait of Curtis on a bed stand was shown. It was from a program called, “The New Normal”. Ironically, it has become the new normal to see pictures of Curtis and the photos he took all over the world thanks to the Internet.

A Taos girl by Edward S. Curtis. 1905.

A Taos girl by Edward S. Curtis. 1905.

His work has proven a useful record of North American tribal culture, language, and song that many have put to good use. Newer technologies, such as smartphones, have been used by modern day Native Americans to help them learn their language. Photographs by Curtis and his brother have been used by the tribes to identify ancestors and recreate ancient customs.

A Family Group - Noatak by Edward S. Curtis.

A Family Group – Noatak by Edward S. Curtis. 1929.

Dr. Dolan commented about the work of Edward S. Curtis as being “rich and wonderful, but also painful.” We cannot begin to imagine the pain the Native Americans were going through at the time of Curtis’ work. However, we are thankful that his art lives on and that so many of us are able to learn more about him and the people he portrayed.

Audience viewing In the Land of the Head-Hunters at the High Desert Museum

Audience viewing In the Land of the Head-Hunters at the High Desert Museum

The events around Bend related to Curtis were well attended. It was difficult to find a parking space nearby! Many people seem to have a deep fascination with his work but also in learning more about him as a person. Author Timothy Egan admitted that when he first considered writing about Curtis that he thought of him as “Indiana Jones with a camera”. He found out that Edward S. Curtis was so much more. Though Curtis had a life of dramatic ups and downs, Egan thought he was able to achieve the goal of helping Native Americans “live forever”.

 

Kutenai woman by Edward S. Curtis. 1910.

Kutenai woman by Edward S. Curtis. 1910.

Photos by Edward S. Curtis in this article are from the following source: http://curtis.library.northwestern.edu/index.html

Sources:

Curtis, E. (Director). (1998).   “In the land of the head hunters” film set, 1914 [Motion picture]. University of Manitoba.

Edward S. Curtis: A detailed chronological biography. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from http://www.soulcatcherstudio.com/artists/curtis_cron.html

Edward Curtis Shadow Catcher. (2015). Bend, Oregon: Atelier6000.org.

Edward S. Curtis’s: The North American Indian. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from http://curtis.library.northwestern.edu/index.html

Egan, T. (2012). Short nights of the Shadow Catcher: The epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pict/hd_pict.htm

History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Smithsonian. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/edward-curtis-epic-project-to-photograph-native-americans-162523282/

Makepeace, A. (Director). (2000).   Coming to light [Motion picture]. Anne Makepeace Prod. Orig.-Prod.

Photograph Collector’s Guide – Edward Curtis Photography, Life & Work. (2012, January 5). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from http://www.edwardcurtis.com/collectors-guide/

 

Edward S. Curtis Pt. 8 – Recent History & Upcoming Events

Aged Pomo woman by Edward S. Curtis. 1924.

Aged Pomo woman by Edward S. Curtis. 1924.

It was assumed that all of the Edward S. Curtis photogravure copper plates were lost or destroyed. It is a common practice to destroy the plates after the initial printing so no more prints can be made. However, many had been sold to the Charles E. Lauriat Company in Boston. In 1972, decades after Curtis had passed away; they were rediscovered in the Lauriat basement by photographer Karl Kernberger. Nineteen complete bound sets of The North American Indian, thousands of paper prints, the copper plates, unbound pages, and the original glass plate negatives were found. Once this collection was discovered, it passed through several hands. In 2005 the copper plates were purchased by Kenneth Zerbe. New prints have been made from the plates but they are not printed on the high quality Van Gelder paper favored by Curtis.

In recent times, Christopher Cardozo has launched a repatriation project to return some of Curtis’ works to Native American people. Of the people featured in Curtis’ works, we now know the names of 3,500 of them.

Three contemporary Native American photographers, and their responses to Edward S. Curtis’ work, will be the subject of an upcoming exhibit. The exhibit runs from February 6, 2016 to May 8, 2016 at the Portland Art Museum. Photographs from Zig Jackson, Wendy Red Star, and Will Wilson will be featured in the exhibit. Each artist responded in different ways to the Curtis photographs. Zig Jackson noted that people still “take” a photograph of Native Americans. He even pokes a little fun at this concept in one of his pictures entitled Indian Photographing Tourist Photographing Indian. Several volumes of The North American Indian will also be displayed in the upcoming exhibit. Digitized versions of Curtis’ original audio recordings of native language and song will be a part of the exhibit. The Museum is also trying to crowdsource a way for descendants of people featured in The North American Indian to be able to input information about themselves and their ancestors.

Photo by Edward S. Curtis in this article are from the following source: http://curtis.library.northwestern.edu/index.html

Edward S. Curtis Pt. 7 – Documentary and Controversy Related to His Work

In a Piegan lodge by Edward S. Curtis. 1910.

In a Piegan lodge by Edward S. Curtis. 1910.

In the 2000 film, Coming to Light: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian, many present-day Native Americans were interviewed in regards to Curtis and his work. It has deeply affected modern day tribal members. Some treasure the images and recordings as reminders of their ancestors while others want references to that time to be over. One of the people interviewed about the images remarked that “the world came alive again when viewing them.” During that period in history Native Americans could be thrown in jail for wearing their traditional clothing, speaking their language, and practicing their rituals.

The film points out that the audio recordings that survive preserve the language and songs of the tribes. When Curtis played the recordings back to tribal members right after he recorded them, they were awestruck at hearing the sounds coming out of “the magic box”. Native Americans were forced into giving up their language and assimilating. As one tribal member said in the film, “if you don’t speak, you are lost.”

At first Curtis felt the Native Americans had to assimilate or they would be economically destroyed. As he continued to work on the project, he changed his way of thinking. He became more aware of the fragility of the native people and their way of life. Living in California in his later years, he heard how the Native Americans in that state in particular were mistreated. Some thought that he should have shown the struggle for life many Native Americans were going through but that was not the purpose of his project.

Modern dance costume - Pawnee  by Edward S. Curtis. 1927.

Modern dance costume – Pawnee by Edward S. Curtis. 1927.

There is controversy surrounding the work of Curtis. Some think the photos were staged and that they degraded and dehumanized the people into mere caricatures. Some think he dressed the people portrayed in a certain way; others say they actually dressed in the clothing they wished to be photographed in. Oftentimes they are portrayed wearing traditional clothing that had been outlawed for them to wear. In Geronimo’s case, he is pictured wrapped in an Army blanket because that is all the white man gave him.

There are inaccuracies in some of his films and still photos. Coming to Light points out that Curtis wanted to film the Navajos doing the Yébîchai ritual – a nine-day ceremony that combines religious and medical observances. It was not the time of year they normally did the dance but they made the masks as Curtis had requested. When they did the dance, they actually performed it backwards. Another instance of inaccuracies is in a photo of Crow warriors. There were no Crow warriors after 1876 and even when they were present, they did not ride horses or go out when there was snow on the ground as the photograph shows.

Yebichai Hogan - Navaho by Edward S. Curtis. 1904.

Yebichai Hogan – Navaho by Edward S. Curtis. 1904.

Curtis is accused of cutting out parts of pictures, such as a small alarm clock between the two people pictured in In a Piegan Lodge, but professional photographers commonly crop parts of their pictures out. An analysis of the photos showed that there was something in the photo that did not seem to belong only 4% of the time. In contrast, 40% of famed anthropologist Franz Boas’ photos contained things inconsistent with the subject matter.

Critics have pointed out the lack of the person’s name in many of the titles on the photographs. Some tribal members were very protective of their names and did not want to disclose them. The absence of names was done out of respect for the people photographed. Other tribes Curtis photographed, such as the Apsaroke, were less sensitive about their name being in the title. Curtis paid all of his subjects and offered them a cyanotype print of the photos. It was a collaborative, creative effort.

Apache girl by Edward S. Curtis. 1906.

Apache girl by Edward S. Curtis. 1906.

Some have questioned why he did not focus on how poorly the tribes were being treated. He maintained that that was not the goal of this project but he did seem to take up their cause very late in his career. In 1923 he helped found the Indian Welfare League. This group of artists, museum curators, and lawyers formed to help find work and legal services for the tribes. They also became involved in getting citizenship for Native Americans. Curtis, however, was of two minds on this topic – he scorned Washington experts but also scolded the native people about not pitying themselves too much.

This movie can be purchased or rented through Makepeace Productions , Amazon Video , or iTunes.

Photos by Edward S. Curtis in this article are from the following source: http://curtis.library.northwestern.edu/index.html