Tuesday, July 21, 2015

That's Amore

Hello, I am so jazzed to finally get a chance to blog about "That's Amore."  This piece was created for the upcoming Dinner @ 8 Artists exhibit, Affinity that was curated by Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison. The show is sponsored by Havel Sewing
and will premiere at the International Quilt Market (Oct 24-26) and Festival (Oct 28-Nov 1) in Houston, Texas. The exhibit is comprised of 40 artists who will each contribute a 40X40 quilt. How cool is that?!!! That's Amore began as a white piece of muslin and took about four weeks to complete. I first sketched the bird and blew it up to size in order to transfer it to the white muslin. Usually, I begin by painting the bird first but this time around, I opted to do the background ahead of time in a gray color.

 I then proceeded to paint the bird using some new paintbrushes that I had purchased on my last trip to Houston. I have to say that these new brushes are so cool! I learned so much when creating this piece. When the bird was completed, I decided that I no longer liked the gray background and so I began adding foliage to add interest and to try and cover the background. Still, I did not want to detract from the parrot. I then began quilting the bird and proceeded to quilt the foliage as well. Next, I got this hair brained idea that I should try and change the background color from gray to a muted green and so in the middle of quilting, I took out my paints and began sponge painting the background. Crazy, I know but it seems to somehow have worked. That's Amore was inspired bya true story of love in the Arenal Mountains of Costa Rica. Years ago, a woman from Brazil came to Costa Rica with her husband bearing a pair of fully grown blue and yellow macaw parrots, one male and one female. She allowed the parrots to roam freely around the area and one day, a tourist threw a rock at the male and killed him. Estephania, the female, was not there to witness the tragic event and the male was buried. Macaws mate for life and Estephania to this day continues to fly around the Arenal Volcano mountains in search for her lost mate, all the while hoping to reunite with her lover. Because she is the only blue macaw in the wild as the rest of the parrots that are native to the region are scarlet macaws, the likelihood that she will find another mate is very low. And such is the woeful tale of That's Amore, sad but true. Because I did not have a photo of a blue macaw, I opted to use a photo that I took of some macaws at the Dallas Zoo while I was there earlier this spring. Soon I will be going to the Arenal Volcano mountains where I hope to get a glimpse of Estephania who still resides in the forest. In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed this story and this post. I would like to thank you for stopping by invite you to check back next week when I post about my next piece, Parrotise.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Bit of Culture from The Land of Enchantment

Hello, I have just returned from a trip to my native homeland in New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment. While there, I was blessed to tag along with my dear godfather and his lovely girlfriend who happens to be a member of the Ohkay Owingeh tribe. We gathered together to celebrate the Feast of John the Baptist on June 24th. Wow, what a treat! The tribe is a Pueblo Indian tribe which speaks Tewa and is located in the small town of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo near Espanola where I learned that in fact thei pueblo was the first capitol of New Mexico prior to Santa Fe. We arrived at the pueblo on Tuesday afternoon in time to do the mile walk/run race. I was told the significance of this event was to commemorate the time when the Indians would run from pueblo to pueblo to communicate news during the pueblo revolt. Under the oppression of the Spaniards, their legs were cut off to keep them from running and so to honor their ancestors, they keep the tradition alive as a reminder that while the Spaniards might cut their legs off, they could not break their spirit or keep them from running.

Following the race is the start of the dances, specifically, the Buffalo Dances consisting of three dancers, two men and a woman who emulate the Black Buffalo in the summer and the White Buffalo during the winter season. Above are photos of the Black Buffalo dance while below are photos showing the White Buffalo Dance.
These dancers dance seemingly, tirelessly throughout the festival alternating costumes from summer to winter and back again. But wow, aren't they beautiful?!!! And of course, I had to capture a few other dancers as well to further reflect the beauty of the tribe and its traditions.
As I mentioned earlier, this celebration is in honor of the Feast of Saint John the Baptist. and so to commemorate their patron saint of their local San Juan Bautista Church, (the oldest Catholic congregation in the United States), the newly appointed Archbishop John C Wester was there to preside over the occasion. On Wednesday morning at 7 am., the congregation met outside the church to begin the walking procession to the Rio Grande River where the Archbishop would bless the river and all of the people. Below are a few photos of the procession.
Following the blessing at the river, we returned to the church where the Archbishop said mass in honor of St. John the Baptist. This was his first visit to any of the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos and was a treat for sure. The Ohkay Owingeh tribe welcomed him with open arms and the women of the tribe presented him with the most beautiful chasuble made of white buckskin with fringe. It was adorned by numerous seed beads that were meticulously sewn  to reflect the native American style. I must say this was the most gorgeous chasuble I have ever seen and was truly a labor of love. This tribe is well known for its pottery and weaving and their most kind and welcoming ways. They welcomed me with open arms and gave me a glimpse of their beautiful culture and for that, I am most blessed. I am hoping that one day, I might be able to create a piece of artwork from all the inspiration and love that I received. I also hope you have enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed being a part of it.