Friday, July 3, 2009

Learning From the Past

Many of the pieces I create, have been influenced by the First Nations heritage. This has been my starting point. I am also very influenced by a long history of craftsmen who have used hides as clothing and foot coverings for centuries.

Running the art program at Siloam Mission, enabled me to form friendships with individuals who have been my teachers and inspiration for creating. I am honored to create through relationship and am grateful to be connected to their lives and to their stories. It became clear to me, how important it was to stay connected to the earth and to respect its peoples and resources. Much of my desire to preserve handcraft traditions stems from this and I have learned much from the wisdom of these friends who intimately understand this balance.

As I do not claim First Nations heritage personally, I have attempted to create my own style, which has grown out of the first baby moccasin lesson I received. As a part of this journey, I was honored to arrange a meeting with a local elder, to ensure that the pieces I created were not in any way disrespectful to the culture and that in all ways, I was embarking into leather work respectfully. This meeting was uplifting and inspiring. I gained a greater appreciation for the medium I was working with and received the approval I was seeking.

I also will be learning to scrape and brain tan my own hides later this year, in order to connect and understand better, the medium I am working with. In this, I am excited to gain an ancient skill with the intention of working my own hides for my future pieces.

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