Tuesday, November 11, 2014

- Impressions of New Mexico: Pueblo assemblage














While our trip to New Mexico did not include visiting the pueblos, we did make it to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe ...


The experience was deeply moving ... objects wrought of clay and cloth ... wood, bone, metal and stone transformed ... everything functional, yet rich with symbolism ... it felt sacred ... something I will simply never forget.

Near the end of the exhibit, Don saw a quote and beckoned me back. Photography wasn't allowed, so I wrote down part of it. Later I emailed librarian Allison Colborne at the museum asking for her help ... she referred me to Tony Chavarria, who provided the quote in full:
“Art” is not found in our language. But what do we call a piece of work created by the hands of my family?  What will we call that piece which embodies the life of its creator?  What will it be if it has a life and soul, while its maker sings and prays for it? In my home we call it pottery painted with designs to tell us a story.  In my mother’s house, we call it a wedding basket to hold blue corn meal for the groom’s family.  In my grandma’s place, we call it a Kachina doll, a carved image of a life force that holds the Hopi world in place.  We make pieces of life to see, touch and feel. Shall we call it “Art”?  I hope not. It may lose its soul.  Its life.  Its people.
Michael Lacapa, Apache, Hopi-Tewa

Upon our return to Texas, Don gathered stone, wood (from a $5 By the Bridge screen door) and paint, creating his own impression of New Mexico to "see, touch and feel" ... 


something to remind us of our sojourn until we find our way back ...  



16 comments:

Marti said...

This is what memory does, it holds place in our hearts, it takes what we see and turns it into what was felt . Don has made a wonderful tribute to this landscape of clay, stone and sky. You both are such talented people, each in your own way giving us a sense of how you see this earth that we call home.

This quote very much fits what Don has created here; it is by the late Irish philosopher, ex-priest and poet, John O'Donohue who said: "When you bring your body out into the landscape, you bring your body home where it belongs...When you step outside, it matters if you see landscape as a location or if you see it as walking into a living place."

Dana said...

Your post grabbed me right away. I love New Mexico...I've only been there once, as a gift for my fortieth birthday. I wanted to go because I had read and loved Willa Cather's novel "Death Comes for the Archbishop", and I was not disappointed. I think the landscape of New Mexico has called for a spiritual response from everyone who has been there. Don's pueblo assembly is such a response... simple and so evocative of the way those buildings meld with their location and make it richer.

The quote really hits the "what is art" question on the head. I vote with Michael Lacapa.

Liz Ackert said...

I do believe you're right ... landscape is indeed a "living place" to both of us, whether it be mountains, hill country, or seashore. And we feel equally at home in each one ...

Liz Ackert said...

Going to New Mexico was/is a gift in so many ways ... there is no doubt that it has altered and enriched the way we see the world

Saskia van Herwaarden said...

have never been to New Mexico, but Don's work looks like how I imagine it could be......not having a word for art, well well, how different ways of living lead to words not being made up; I suppose I could call each piece by the story behind it or the process involved in the making, but sometimes I have no true recollection, this has got me re-thinking the word art itself though.

Mo Crow said...

ah well we can go into the ongoing art vs craft debate or just love art for it's ability to transform our lives!
You and Don "Make good art" as Neil Gaiman said in his inspiring address to the University of the Arts Class of 2012
http://vimeo.com/42372767Mak

Liz Ackert said...

I think Don and I latched on to that quote because we are not (yet?) comfortable owning the label "artist" ... and for sure it's hard to describe for others exactly what it is we do, so we often default to what it is we create (for instance, we'll say I make collages with fabric and stitch and Don makes folk art fish with found objects).
But then there's Mo's comment below ...

Liz Ackert said...

This made me wonder if there is a word for "craft" in Michael Lacapa's native tongue ... or for "create" ... or or or ... whatever ...
I listened to Neil Gaiman (the link didn't work, but it was easy to find on YouTube) ... and I wished I could have heard what he said when I was just graduating ... I might have had the courage to pursue the needle arts and turn away from the siren song of management that pulled me away.
But looking back doesn't change a thing ... instead, I can take his advice right now: Make good art.
So yes ... we are doing that (ha! when I first typed that last line it came out "We art doing that"). And really, whatever anyone cares to call it doesn't matter nearly as much as the fact that we are loving what we do.

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

Don's work from his deep pleasure, from his hands with instruction from his heart...it is how they
are, those pueblo places. How beauty FULL on sandstone, so similar to adobe in texture and
color and to place the High Up, yes. is Art Spriit? is art a language of sounds and breath that talks to us and finds form? art is how we try to talk about something Real that we have come to know and want to know better, so we try to form it with our own hands to this end.
Maybe if you come again, you could also see the cave dwellings in the Gila (hela) Wilderness.
More primitive, carved directly out of the stone. The place of the Mimbres people who simply disappeared. This is where i would look next, if i can get on the road again.
You have no idea how your and Don's continued expression of your Being Here touches me so.
We love the Same.
Thank you, to you and to him for this

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

thinking more as i walk around the house...relationship. "art" skip that work, what we MAKE
is about relationship....with the image, with the medium we work in? relationship. That included
SO MUCH
and Don's fish. i need to know more. My son is by trade a Chef but by Heart a Flyfisherman. He has learned to tie his own flies. They fish in the mountain streams of Colorado.

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

skip that WORD

Liz Ackert said...

I have to admit that I do not understand fishing as Don does ... when I was a child, fishing was what you did to get lunch ... but Don lives fishing
Tell us what you wish to know ... because yes, it's all about relationship

Liz Ackert said...

Ha! "Loves" not "lives"

Liz Ackert said...

Your comment means more than you'll ever know ...

Anonymous said...

I found your wonderful blog this evening. I love the quote from Michael. I knew him well. He was my late husband. He was a rare talent and an uncommon human being. What an honor it is to know that his words continue to find a place in people's hearts. "Ah Shont!" (thank-you). Kathy Lacapa

Liz Ackert said...

I in turn am honored by your comment here. Thank you for visiting.