Craft in America: MESSAGES episode


MAN: CULTURE IS NOT WHAT
RUNS THROUGH YOUR BLOOD. CULTURE IS HOW
YOU PARTICIPATE. WOMAN: BASICALLY, I FANTASIZE
ABOUT WHAT THE PIECE HAS TO BE,
AND THEN I JUST FOLLOW THAT. HEY. HOW YOU DOING? WHEN I GOT BACK
TO NEW ORLEANS, THE FIRST THING THAT
I THOUGHT I SHOULD DO IS MAKE MY OWN KIND OF RESPONSE TO THIS. WOMAN: I HAD PEOPLE WHO I WOULD NEVER THINK
BUY MY JEWELRY TELL ME THAT THEY
WEAR IT BECAUSE IT GETS THEM TO TALK
ABOUT THINGS THAT ARE NOT EASILY TALKED ABOUT. MAN: ALL OF MY WORK IS
ABOUT THE MESSAGE INSIDE OF IT. SO IT ALL STARTED HERE. EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE
RIGHT HERE. CHORUS:
♪ ‘TIS A GIFT TO BE SIMPLE ♪ ♪ ‘TIS A GIFT TO BE FREE ♪ WOMAN: ♪ ‘TIS A GIFT ♪ CHORUS: ♪ ‘TIS A GIFT
TO COME DOWN ♪ ♪ WHERE YOU OUGHT TO BE ♪ ♪ AND WHEN YOU FIND
YOURSELVES ♪ ♪ IN THE
PLACE JUST RIGHT ♪ ♪ ‘TWILL BE IN THE VALLEY ♪ ♪ OF LOVE AND DELIGHT ♪ CAPTIONING MADE POSSIBLE BY
CRAFT IN AMERICA, INC. THE WAY THAT I WORK
IN GLASS, THE PROCESS ITSELF IS CAPTURING A MOMENT IN TIME. FOR ME, IT’S ABSOLUTELY
ABOUT MORTALITY. I MEAN, THAT’S WHAT
MAKES ME MAKE ART, IS, YOU KNOW, DEATH,
ESSENTIALLY, IN A NUTSHELL. THAT’S WHY I’M
NONJUDGMENTAL WITH THE OBJECTS, IS BECAUSE,
WHO AM I TO JUDGE WHETHER THEY’RE GOOD OR NOT? THEY’RE HERE,
THEY’RE EXISTING. THEY’VE BEEN
MADE BY SOMEONE. THEY HAVE THAT PERSON’S
MARK, THAT HAND. WELL, FOR THE PAST 10 YEARS,
I’VE BEEN FOCUSED ON WORKING
IN THE STILL LIFE TRADITION. I WAS TRYING TO FIND
THAT PLACE OF ALMOST DISGUST, THAT ROLE-REVERSAL,
WHERE IT GOES FROM DESIRE TO REPULSION,
OR, YOU KNOW, DESIRE TO CONSEQUENCE,
THAT KIND OF THING. ONE WAY THAT I APPROACH
THE WORK, THAT GIVES ME A BEGINNING. I USUALLY END UP DOING
SOMETHING THAT IS VERY REPETITIOUS,
LIKE GLASS CUTTING, OR I’LL GO BLOW GLASS
FOR THE DAY, AND I’LL JUST MAKE OBJECTS
THAT I KNOW THAT I’LL NEED THAT I CAN USE. I CALL THAT
A VOCABULARY OF OBJECTS. AND THEN WHEN I FEEL
CONFIDENT IN THE THINGS THAT I HAVE, I’LL START
TO REALLY QUICKLY ADD THINGS TO A TABLE. THIS IS KIND OF NICE. MY COMPOSITIONS ARE
3-DIMENSIONAL DRAWINGS. THAT’S HOW I WORK. AS I’M COMPOSING,
I’M LOOKING FOR FORM, LINE, TEXTURE. I’M ALSO LOOKING
FOR REFLECTION OR DENSITY OF MATERIALS. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT
I WOULD DRAW ON A PIECE OF PAPER BEFORE MAKING
A GLASS STILL LIFE BECAUSE IT WOULD
COMPLETELY NEGATE THE PROCESS OF DRAWING
IN THE MATERIAL FOR ME. SO THE VINES ON THIS
PARTICULAR PIECE ARE ACTUALLY GOING TO
START ON THE GROUND. THEY’RE GOING TO BE
TRAILING IN FROM HERE, WRAP AROUND THIS
PARTICULAR LEG, COME UP, AND KIND OF
CRAWL OVER HERE– A REALLY MASSIVE BUNDLE
OF VINES AT THIS POINT– AND THEN SHED ALMOST
OVER AND COME DOWN OFF THE TABLECLOTH
ON THIS SIDE. THE LARGER WORKS
IN THIS PARTICULAR TABLE WERE MADE BY A SCIENTIFIC
GLASSBLOWING COMPANY IN SOUTH JERSEY. THEY ARE MY DESIGN,
BUT THEY WERE MADE WITH BOROSILICATE GLASS. I CAME TO STILL LIFE
PROBABLY BECAUSE OF MY FIXATION ON FOOD–
HA HA–INITIALLY, AND I WAS ACTUALLY
WORKING WITH FOOD CONCEPTUALLY PRIOR TO WORKING
WITH THE STILL LIFE TRADITION, SO IT WAS KIND OF
A NATURAL EVOLUTION. I GREW UP
IN LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA. MY MOTHER PURSUED CRAFT
FROM WHEN I WAS ABOUT AGE 9. SO I WAS EXPOSED
AT A PRETTY EARLY AGE TO PAINTING AND FOLK ART. WE TRAVELED AROUND A LOT. SHE WOULD DO CRAFT SHOWS,
AND WE WOULD DEFINITELY FIND
THE BEST SPOT FOR FOOD WHEREVER WE WERE. WE ABSOLUTELY PLANNED
OUR DAYS AROUND FOOD. HA HA! ESSENTIALLY
WE’RE GONNA TRY TO MAKE TWO TOPIARIES TODAY. THE TOPIARIES ARE
BASICALLY FUSED TOGETHER. I’M THINKING, LIKE,
GRAPES, BANANAS, PEARS, PEACHES, AND MAYBE WE’LL MAKE, LIKE,
A MELON FOR THE BOTTOM, OR I WAS ALSO THINKING
MAYBE I’LL MAKE A QUICK DEAD BIRD
OR SOMETHING THAT GOES KIND OF ON THE BOTTOM
OF THE PIECE. SO WE’LL BUILD
THIS PIECE. JUST FOR YOUR INFORMATION,
WE’RE GONNA BE USING AN OXY-ACETYLENE THAT MAY, IN FACT, LIKE, SCORCH
THE GLASS IN PLACES, AND I’M TOTALLY
OK WITH THAT. I THINK THAT’S AWESOME. ALL RIGHT. LET’S TRY THIS. HEAD TOWARDS
THE–YES, THANK YOU. WOMAN: URBANGLASS
WAS FOUNDED IN 1977. WE SERVE ALL
OF THE CREATIVE COMMUNITY– ARTISTS WHO WORK
PRIMARILY IN GLASS AND ALSO ARTISTS WHO
HAVE NEVER WORKED IN GLASS BEFORE. BETH LIPMAN CAME
TO URBANGLASS IN THE LATE 1990s. I THINK SHE WAS HERE
FOR ABOUT 4 YEARS. SHE STARTED OUT
AS A TEACHING ASSISTANT. EVENTUALLY BECAME
A TEACHER HERSELF, AND THEN WENT ON TO BECOME
THE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION. BETH: BECAUSE JEREMY
HAS TO GET… BETH, VOICE-OVER: SO I ALWAYS
UNTIL VERY RECENTLY HAD A JOB AS AN ARTS ADMINISTRATOR. THAT REALLY FULFILLED
THIS NEED OF BEING INVOLVED IN COMMUNITY
AND COMING TOGETHER WITH THE COMMUNITY TO
GET SOMETHING DONE. AND THAT’S VERY SIMILAR
TO WORKING IN GLASS, WORKING IN HOT GLASS. YOU NEED A LOT
OF PEOPLE, SOMETIMES, TO MAKE THINGS THAT YOU
CAN’T MAKE ON YOUR OWN, AND THAT’S REALLY
A HUMBLING EXPERIENCE, REALLY WONDERFUL. THAT’S NICE. SILVIO,
I’M GONNA SHAPE AFTER THIS. SILVIO: OK. MAN: ONE OF THE PROJECTS
THAT GAVE ME THE CLUE THAT BETH WAS SOMEBODY
REALLY SPECIAL– I INVITED 15 ARTISTS
THAT I KNEW WHO WERE CONNECTED IN SOME WAY
OR ANOTHER WITH URBANGLASS TO CHOOSE AN ARTWORK
ON PUBLIC VIEW IN THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM
AND MAKE A WORK IN GLASS THAT COMMENTED
ON THAT ARTWORK. AND BETH WAS ONE
OF THE ARTISTS I CHOSE TO BE IN THAT EXHIBITION. BETH: I WAS JUST NATURALLY
DRAWN TO THE SEVERIN ROESEN “STILL LIFE WITH FRUIT” PAINTING THAT THEY HAD
IN THEIR COLLECTION. SO I JUST REALLY
INTUITIVELY JUST STARTED RESPONDING TO THE OBJECTS
WITHIN HIS PAINTING. THAT WAS THE BEGINNING
OF THE SERIES THAT I’VE BEEN WORKING ON NOW
FOR THE PAST 11 YEARS. MY PRIMARY GALLERY
IS HELLER GALLERY IN NEW YORK CITY. AND I’VE BEEN EXHIBITING
WITH THEM SINCE 2000. AFTER THIS, YOU SHOULD
BE ABLE TO JUST LET IT… THIS ON HERE. OH, GREAT. YEAH. THIS–YES. MAN: GOOD OLD SURGERY
AT THE MOMENT. WOMAN: BETH HAS A COMMAND
OF HER MEDIUM. FOR ME, IT TOUCHES
ON ISSUES THAT, YOU KNOW, ARE VERY CLOSE TO MY HEART,
THINGS THAT HAVE TO DO WITH MATERIAL CULTURE, THINGS THAT HAVE
TO DO WITH HISTORY, QUESTIONS OF FEMINISM
AND OTHER ISSUES, COMMENTING ON THE HISTORY
OF ART ITSELF. MAN: ONE OF THE MOST
SEDUCTIVE QUALITIES OF GLASSMAKING–
UTILIZING HOT GLASS– IS THIS GREAT
VISUAL PERFORMANCE. THERE’S THE CHOREOGRAPHY
INVOLVED, THERE’S THE DANGER
OF THE MOLTEN GLASS– THIS CREATION
FROM A PRIMORDIAL SOUP. BUT TOO OFTEN, YOU KNOW,
PEOPLE WHO GAIN COMMAND OF THAT PROCESS
GET CAUGHT UP IN THE SOUND AND FURY
WITHOUT KNOWING WHY OR WHAT ELSE IT COULD LEAD TO. I THINK BETH EPITOMIZES
THE ARTIST WHO KNOWS HOW TO MAKE ALL OF THAT
SIGNIFY SOMETHING. BETH:
IT’S A NICE PEAR. SILVIO: HEH HEH. BETH: THE ARTS INDUSTRY
COORDINATOR POSITION OPENED FOR THE JOHN MICHAEL KOHLER
ARTS CENTER IN SHEBOYGAN, WISCONSIN. I HAD DONE
A RESIDENCY IN 2003. SO WHEN THE POSITION
BECAME AVAILABLE, I PRETTY MUCH JUMPED
AT THE CHANCE TO COME HERE. WOMAN: KOHLER COMPANY, WHERE
THE ARTS INDUSTRY PROGRAM IS LOCATED,
IS WORLD FAMOUS FOR ITS BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED
PLUMBINGWARE. AND WE HAVE BEEN
THRILLED TO HAVE A PARTNER THAT RECOGNIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF ARTISTS
TO THIS WORLD. BETH LIPMAN BROUGHT
A KIND OF LEGITIMACY TO THE PROGRAM. WE HAD NOT HAD THAT KIND
OF WELL-KNOWN ARTIST. ALSO BECAUSE SHE WAS
A GLASS ARTIST AND WAS WORKING IN CLAY
IN THE POTTERY, IT GAVE OTHER ARTISTS
THE SENSE THAT THEY COULD BE A PART OF THIS. BETH: I DID HAVE SOME
MOLD MAKING EXPERIENCE WORKING IN GLASS. BUT I HAD NEVER
WORKED IN CLAY. I MADE SEVERAL SWAGS
OUT OF SHELLS. AND THE SHELLS ARE SHELLS
THAT I HAND-CARVED AND THEN TOOK MOLDS OF. AND THERE WERE, LIKE,
300 OR 400 SHELLS THAT WOULD MAKE UP EACH SWAG. THE RESIDENCY DEFINITELY
CHANGED MY LIFE. I HAD NEVER BEEN
IN AN INDUSTRIAL ENVIRONMENT THAT WAS REMOTELY
ANYTHING LIKE KOHLER. SO MY WHOLE PERCEPTION
OF, LIKE, MY IDENTITY, WHAT I WAS DOING, CHANGED. SO, YEAH, IT WAS A REALLY
INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE. AND THE BOWL OF FRUIT. BETH, VOICE-OVER: FOR THE PAST
YEAR, MY HUSBAND KEN SAGER AND I HAVE BEEN WORKING
FULL-TIME IN THE STUDIO. SO KEN IS THE STUDIO
AND BUSINESS MANAGER. BETH: I’M THINKING
ABOUT A VERTICAL PHOTOGRAPH. BETH, VOICE-OVER: HE’S
AN INCREDIBLE MAKER HIMSELF BUT HAS REALLY NO INTEREST
IN PURSUING ART IN THE PUBLIC REALM. KEN: I MAKE STRAWBERRIES,
RASPBERRIES, EVERYTHING. A CHAIN, LEAVES, FLOWERS. I DID A WHOLE TRILLIUM
THING, DEAD BIRDS. BETH DOES A LOT
OF STILL LIFES WITH DEAD BIRDS. BETH WILL ACTUALLY START
TO DESIGN THE STILL LIFE AND PUT IT TOGETHER. AND THEN SHE’LL COME TO
ME AND SHE’LL SAY, “WHAT DO YOU THINK? HOW DOES THIS READ?” WALK AROUND IT,
AND SHE’LL TELL ME WHAT SHE’S LOOKING FOR. WORKING IN THIS TRADITION,
I HAVE CHOSEN TO WORK IN AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED
VOCABULARY OF MEANING. THE OBJECTS HISTORICALLY
WERE VERY KIND OF SUPPORTING ROLES
IN THE PAINTING FOR PRIMARILY
RELIGIOUS ICONOGRAPHY. DURING THE DUTCH GOLDEN ERA
WHEN THE STILL LIFE REALLY TOOK OFF,
THOSE FIGURES AND THOSE NARRATIVES–
RELIGIOUS NARRATIVES– WERE COMPLETELY ELIMINATED
FROM THE PAINTINGS, AND ALL THAT REMAINED
WERE THE OBJECTS. THE TRANSIENCE OF LIFE
IS REALLY A HUGE– IT’S HUGELY IMPORTANT TO ME. I THINK THAT’S WHAT
KEEPS DRIVING ME TO USE THE OBJECTS BECAUSE
THEY WILL EXIST WHEN WE DO NOT. ARE WE A HAM? YOU WANT BLUEBERRY? KEN: HEY. SHOULD WE GET
THAT IN FRONT OF YOU HERE BEFORE YOU GET IT
ALL OVER YOU? BETH, VOICE-OVER: HAVING
MY GIRLS FORCED ME TO CHOOSE. ACTUALLY,
IT’S BIZARRE TO SAY, “OK, I’M GONNA TRY THIS. “I’M GONNA STOP WORKING
IN A DAY JOB AND JUST MAKE MY WORK
AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.” IT REALLY WAS
THE ABSOLUTE OPPOSITE DECISION OF WHAT I THOUGHT
I WOULD POSSIBLY HAVE TO MAKE. THE THING THAT I THINK
ABOUT A LOT IS I NEVER WANT TO BE TOO COMFORTABLE
IN WHAT I’M DOING. I ALWAYS WANT THE WORK
TO BE MOVING FORWARD. SO I GUESS FOR ME,
IT’S LIKE THAT– IT’S A FUNDAMENTAL BELIEF. IF I’M JUST TRUE TO THE WORK
AND AS LONG AS I KEEP BEING GIVEN
OPPORTUNITIES TO MAKE THE NEXT THING WHICH
IS NOT EXACTLY LIKE THE LAST THING I’VE MADE,
IT’S REALLY–IT’S, UM… IT’S UNBELIEVABLE TO ME. SO I DON’T TRUST
IT IN SOME WAYS. I’M NOT QUITE SURE
WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE. IT’S THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE
EFFECT OF WISCONSIN. HA HA! LIKE, I’M IN THAT SPOT. I DON’T KNOW
HOW I GOT THERE. SO I CAN’T MOVE. I HAVE TO STAY
RIGHT HERE. [SCRAPING AGAINST WOOD] I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT BEING
AN ARTIST AS A CHILD. I WROTE A PAPER
WHEN I WAS IN THIRD GRADE, “WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE?” “I WANT TO BE AN ARCHEOLOGIST.” WHAT MADE ME BECOME
AN ARTIST WAS I WAS INVITED IN 1977 TO WORK
AS AN ARCHEOLOGIST FOR THE VILLAGE OF ABIQUIU. THEY WERE EXCAVATING
SANTA ROSA LIMA, THE HISTORIC
SPANISH SETTLEMENT, BUILT IN 1734, NAMED
AFTER SAINT ROSE OF LIMA, ONE OF THE FIRST SAINTS
OF THE AMERICAS. WE’RE FACING ALMOST DUE EAST– THE CHAMA RIVER
DOWN BELOW. AND WHAT I SEE DOWN HERE
AND WHAT WE EXCAVATED AND MAPPED IS THERE IS
AN ENTIRE SPANISH VILLAGE. AS I WAS WORKING THERE,
I WAS READING THE SPANISH COLONIAL DOCUMENTS. AND I BECAME FASCINATED
WITH THE DESCRIPTION OF THE SAINTS,
THE SANTOS, THAT THEY HAD IN THE CHURCH. I STARTED DOING RESEARCH,
AND THEN I THOUGHT, “WELL, I’M GONNA PAINT ONE
OF THESE FOR MYSELF.” 1978 WAS THE FIRST ONE
I EVER PAINTED. AND I STARTED PAINTING
FOR PEOPLE JUST OUT OF PLEASURE. AND I HAD THIS KIND OF
EPIPHANY THAT SOMEBODY SHOULD DO SOMETHING
ABOUT CREATING THE ORIGINAL STYLE OF SANTOS. HOW DID THEY MAKE PIGMENTS,
HOW DID THEY MAKE DYES, HOW DID
THEY MAKE VARNISH? ALL THESE THINGS THAT
I SAW IN THE OLD PIECES BUT NOBODY HAD LIVING MEMORY
OF HOW IT WAS DONE. SO LITERALLY,
THAT’S BEEN MY JOURNEY FOR THE LAST 32 OR 33 YEARS,
IS LITERALLY TRYING TO FIND OUT HOW MY ANCESTORS
WERE MAKING SANTOS. THERE’S TWO TYPES
OF SANTOS IN NEW MEXICO. ONE IS A BULTO. THIS WAS A BULTO–A CARVING, A 3-DIMENSIONAL FIGURE,
A SCULPTURE, IF YOU WILL. AND THE OTHER KIND
OF SANTO IS A RETABLO. AND RETABLOS ARE
2-DIMENSIONAL, BASICALLY ICONS. WHEN I WAS FIRST
STARTING TO DO THIS 31 YEARS AGO, OF COURSE,
I WAS USING ACRYLICS BECAUSE I DIDN’T HAVE
ALL THIS KNOWLEDGE. AND I SOON REALIZED
WITHIN A COUPLE OF YEARS THAT IF I WAS REALLY
GONNA BE TRUE TO THE AUTHENTICITY
OF NEW MEXICAN SANTOS THAT SOMEBODY HAD TO
REINVENT THE WHEEL. AND I HAD A DEGREE
IN ARCHEOLOGY, BUT I WAS ALSO FORCED
IN A VERY WONDERFUL WAY BY MY ADVISER TO TAKE
A MINOR IN BIOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY. AND MORE THAN ANYTHING
ELSE, IT WAS A CLASS IN MINERALOGY
THAT REALLY MADE ME UNDERSTAND THIS. I’M PAINTING
WITH ABOUT 27 COLORS. ALL THE PIGMENTS I MAKE
I START FROM SCRATCH. BUT MOST OF THE COLORS
ARE STRAIGHT FROM THE EARTH. KNOWLEDGE UNSHARED IS KNOWLEDGE
THAT GOES TO THE GRAVE. AND I ALWAYS TELL
PEOPLE IF I SHARE THIS, SOMEBODY WILL LEARN IT,
SOMEBODY WILL PASS THAT TO SOMEBODY ELSE. THIS IS A MAJESTIC PLACE. IT’S BEEN USED
FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS BY NATIVE PEOPLES. HISPANICS CAME DOWN
HERE TO GET THIS CLAY, AND THEY USED IT TO
PAINT WAINSCOTINGS ON THEIR WALLS. AND I DISCOVERED IT
MAKES THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FLESH TONE,
AND IT MATCHES EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE USING
IN THE SPANISH COLONIAL PERIOD. AND I’M CONSTANTLY LEARNING. I’M LITERALLY
LEARNING EVERY DAY. THERE’S SOMETHING
I DISCOVER–A NEW COLOR THAT I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR,
THAT I’VE SEEN ON AN OLD SANTO,
AND I THINK, “OH, MY GOSH! “HOW DID I MISS THAT? THERE IT IS. IT’S BEEN STARING ME
IN THE FACE FOR YEARS.” AND NOW MOST
OF THE SANTEROS IN NEW MEXICO, “THE SAINT MAKERS,” THAT
ARE MAKING TRADITIONAL NEW MEXICAN SANTOS,
HAVE BEEN MY STUDENTS AT ONE POINT OR ANOTHER. AND THEY’RE LEARNING
ALL THIS. I ALWAYS TELL THEM,
YOU NEED TO HAVE A FOUNDATION. IF YOU HAVE A BASE,
UNDERSTOOD WHAT YOUR ANCESTORS WERE DOING,
THEN YOU CAN MOVE FROM THERE. THIS IS ONE
OF MY FAVORITE BRUSHES. I’VE HAD THIS BRUSH
FOR 30 YEARS. I ALWAYS REFER TO MYSELF
AS A “NUEVO MEXICANO” OR A “HISPANO
NUEVO MEXICANO,” A HISPANIC NEW MEXICAN. WHAT’S IMPORTANT
FOR PEOPLE TO REALIZE THAT DON’T KNOW ANYTHING
ABOUT HISPANIC OR HISPANO NEW MEXICO
IS WE’VE BEEN HERE SINCE 1598. LONG BEFORE THE HISPANIC
PEOPLE OR THE SPANISH ARRIVED IN THE NEW WORLD,
I HAD ANCESTORS THAT WERE LIVING HERE. THE PUEBLO PEOPLES
THAT WERE HERE, THEY RUN IN MY BLOOD,
THE ATHABASKAN PEOPLES, NAVAJOS, AND APACHES. WOMAN: IN NEW MEXICO,
THE INDIAN CULTURE AND THE HISPANIC CULTURE
ARE INTERTWINED. THERE IS NO DIVISION. IT’S VERY HARD TO
SEPARATE THE TWO. [BOTH PRAYING IN SPANISH] [CHILDREN LAUGHING] MAN: WHAT WE THINK OF
AS NEW MEXICO CULTURE IS A HUGE MIXTURE OF SPANISH
TRADITIONS, OF PUEBLO TRADITIONS,
OF ATHABASKAN, NAVAJO, AND APACHE TRADITIONS,
OF, EVEN LATER, COMANCHE TRADITIONS THAT ALL CAME
TOGETHER KIND OF IN THIS ONE UNIQUE PLACE. ABIQUIU AS A SETTLEMENT
CERTAINLY PREDATES SPANISH ARRIVAL. TODAY THE PUEBLO NAME
STANDS FOR BOTH KIND OF A PHYSICAL COMMUNITY. IT STANDS FOR CERTAINLY
A CONFEDERATION OF THE 19 PUEBLO TRIBES. AND ALSO IT’S BECOME,
REALLY, A UBIQUITOUS NAME FOR THE PEOPLE THEMSELVES. CHARLES CARRILLO’S
“SAINT TO THE PUEBLOS” EXHIBIT THAT WE CURRENTLY
HAVE EXHIBITED HERE AT THE CULTURAL CENTER
REALLY BRINGS TOGETHER IN A WAY THAT I REALLY
HAVEN’T SEEN IN MANY OTHER EXHIBITS
THE INTERCONNECTEDNESS THAT EXISTS AND CERTAINLY
EXISTED BETWEEN THE SPANIARDS,
BETWEEN THE MESTIZOS AND THE PUEBLOS. SO WHAT I DID HERE WAS
I CREATED 24 IMAGES, 18 OF WHICH ARE
THE CURRENT LIVING PUEBLOS THAT EXIST TODAY
AND 4 PUEBLOS THAT ARE REPRESENTED
AS ANCESTRAL PUEBLOS. THIS IS ONE OF MY,
REALLY MY FAVORITE PIECES IN THE SHOW. I LOVE THE STORY
OF SAINT DOMINIC. BUT MORE IMPORTANT
THAN THAT, IT’S JUST THE SIMPLICITY. HIS COLORS ARE BASICALLY
WHITE AND BLACK. AND THE BORDER MOTIF
FOR THE PUEBLO SANTO DOMINGO IS THIS IS A CLASSIC BORDER MOTIF WITH THESE TULIP-LIKE,
FLOWER-LIKE DESIGN MOTIFS. THIS IS SAINT STEPHEN
OF ACOMA OR SAN ESTEBAN DE ACOMA. AND I LOVE THIS PIECE
BECAUSE THIS IS AN ACOMA POTTERY DESIGN THAT WAS
BASED ON A POT THAT WAS MADE SOMETIME
AROUND 1910. OF COURSE, THE BLUE THAT
I MENTIONED EARLIER, WHICH IS A CELESTIAL
KIND OF COLOR, NOT THE YELLOW THAT WE
TYPICALLY ASSOCIATE WITH HALOS. AND, LASTLY, THIS IS
AN IMAGE OF SAN ILDEFONSO. SAN ILDEFONSO–
SAINT ILDEPHONSUS IN ENGLISH– IS THIS IS ONE OF THE TRULY
SPANISH SAINTS. BUT WHAT’S INTERESTING
ABOUT THIS BORDER MOTIF IS IT’S BLACK
ON RED, UNLIKE MOST OF THE PUEBLO
POTTERY WE’VE SEEN. BUT I LOVE
THIS COLOR COMBINATION WITH THE STARK RED AND BLACK
AND THEN THIS BRIGHTLY COLORED SAINT
IN THE CENTER. THE SAINTS ON WHEELS
IS A TRADITION I STARTED 5 YEARS AGO. AND I WAS ASKED
BY A GALLERY TO DO SOMETHING TO CONTEMPORIZE SAINTS. I HAD TO REALIZE
THAT SOME OF THIS WAS TONGUE IN CHEEK. I WAS PLAYING WITH
PUTTING SAINTS DRIVING VINTAGE AUTOMOBILES,
BUT DOING IT RESPECTFULLY. I’M ALWAYS TRYING TO
FIND THE RIGHT MIX OF VEHICLE AND SAINT. BECAUSE THE BOTTOM LINE
IS THE SAINTS ON WHEELS TELL THE SAME STORIES
AS THE RETABLOS DO. THEY’RE MADE TO
TELL STORIES, SO I HAVE TO HAVE THE ATTRIBUTES AND THE ICONOGRAPHY CORRECT. BUT IT’S 5 YEARS OLD NOW. AND I’VE DONE CLOSE
TO 300 VEHICLES. THE LAST THING
I ACTUALLY PAINT ON THE SANTOS
IS THE EYES. AND THE REASON IT’S
THE LAST THING I PAINT IS ONCE I PAINT THEIR EYES ON,
THEY’RE STARING BACK AT ME. I’VE GIVEN THEM
A SOUL, IF YOU WILL. CATHOLICS PRACTICE
IN NEW MEXICO– THE OLD HISPANIC FAMILIES
AND THE NATIVE AMERICANS– WHAT I CALL FOLK
PLATONIC CATHOLICISM. I INTELLECTUALLY KNOW
HE LIVES IN HEAVEN. BUT IN A VERY PLATONIC WAY,
I’M BELIEVING OR I BELIEVE THAT HIS ESSENCE
LIVES IN THIS IMAGE THAT I’VE CREATED. AGAIN, THE EYES ARE
THE LAST THING THAT ARE CREATED–THE EYES
AND THE LIPS BECAUSE THEN HE CAN TALK BACK. AND I DON’T WANT HIM
TALKING BACK TO ME. FELIPE: REALLY, THE ART IS
IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT IS A WAY TO TALK
ABOUT WHAT IS OFTEN A DIFFICULT HISTORY. INROADS IS REALLY
MADE THROUGH THE ART. CERTAINLY FOR CHARLIE,
IT’S A VERY IMPORTANT EXPRESSION NOT ONLY
OF THE HISTORY OF NEW MEXICO KIND OF
AS A PLACE AND THE HISTORY OF THE CULTURES,
BUT HIS OWN HISTORY, WHEN HE RECOUNTS
HIS OWN EXPERIENCES, HIS OWN LIFE, HIS OWN CULTURE. BOTH THE HISPANIC
AND THE PUEBLO PEOPLE HERE IN NEW MEXICO SHARES
A LOT OF SIMILAR FEELING. AND THAT’S REALLY BUILT
OUT, AGAIN, OF 400 YEARS OF HISTORY, OF FIGHTING
AND COMING TOGETHER, AND BECOMING, REALLY,
NEW MEXICO AS WE SEE IT TODAY. CHARLES: I THINK THE MESSAGE
IN MY WORK IN GENERAL IS THERE’S A STORY
TO BE TOLD. IF IT’S NOT JUST A STORY
OF THE SAINTS TO BE TOLD, AS EACH SAINT HAS
HIS OR HER STORY, IT’S THE STORY OF MY PEOPLE
AND THE PEOPLES OF NEW MEXICO,
BOTH THE HISPANOS AND NATIVE PEOPLES
OF NEW MEXICO. WE DON’T HAVE TO HAVE
SEPARATE RELIGIONS. WE CAN LEARN TO
REALLY LIVE TOGETHER. AND HOPEFULLY MAYBE
BEYOND THAT MESSAGE IS, IN THE FUTURE, IS THAT
MY CHILDREN’S CHILDREN’S CHILDREN WILL TELL
THE SAME STORIES I’M TRYING TO TELL. WOMAN: ♪ CARRY YOU,
COME ON WITH ME… ♪ [WOMAN VOCALIZING
ON RECORDING] JOYCE: MY EARLIEST
RECOLLECTIONS OF LEARNING HOW TO BEAD
WERE WITH MY MOTHER. I WAS PROBABLY 5. IF YOU HAD A HOLE
IN YOUR SHIRT OR IF YOU HAD TOWELS IN THE BATHROOM
THAT HAD ANY SPOTS, THEY WERE EMBROIDERED,
CROCHETED, OR BEADED. BEADS ARE PURVEYORS
OF LIGHT. TRANSLUCENCY’S
ALWAYS MY QUEST. ALSO, TRYING TO MAKE
BEADS DO THINGS THAT PEOPLE SAY THEY DON’T
EASILY DO OR THAT PEOPLE BELIEVE THEY DON’T
HAVE THE SKILL AND PROWESS TO DO. OF COURSE,
I BELIEVE THAT. MY INFLUENCES ARE
GENERALLY CULTURAL. FOR ME, IT’S IMPORTANT
TO IMBUE THE WORK WITH SOMETHING THAT WILL
RESONATE AND FOLLOW SOMEBODY HOME, WHETHER IT’S BEAUTY
AND THEY JUST WANT TO LUXURIATE
IN THAT OR IT’S JUST THE MESSAGE. BECAUSE I THINK ART HAS
THE ABILITY, IF NOT CURE OR HEAL, AT LEAST
ENLIGHTEN, SLAP YOU IN THE HEAD,
WAKE YOU UP. MY FIRST LIBRARY THAT
I WENT TO WAS BUILT IN THE FIFTIES,
REMEMBER, HAROLD? – MM-HMM.
-AND I’VE BEEN GOING THERE SINCE I WAS
IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, AND MY MOTHER AND I
EXHIBITED THERE, I’VE LECTURED THERE. HAROLD: WOW! JOYCE: I’M A COMMUNITY GIRL. [HAROLD LAUGHS] WOMAN: WHEN I FIRST MET JOYCE,
I SAW HER IN A FESTIVAL ON JOHNS HOPKINS CAMPUS. AND I BEGAN TO TALK TO
HER BECAUSE I THOUGHT HER WORK WAS
SO COMPELLING. A FEW MONTHS LATER,
MY HUSBAND AND I WERE SITTING OUT ON
THE FRONT STEP. AND HE LOOKS UP
AND SAYS, “JOYCE!” AND I SAID,
“YOU KNOW HER?” AND HE SAID, “YEAH! I WAS IN SCHOOL WITH HER.” WELL, FROM THEN ON,
WE BECAME BEST FRIENDS AND WE WERE LIKE GLUE. AND IT’S BEEN OVER–OH,
MY GOD–35, 40 YEARS. JOYCE: WHY AM I SO MUCH
IN LOVE WITH BALTIMORE? BECAUSE OF ITS HAVING
A LONG HISTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICANS
LIVING HERE. PART OF IT IS, LIKE, I
THINK YOU OUGHT TO STAY WHERE THE FIGHT IS. AND BALTIMORE IS
A HIGHLY CHALLENGED CITY. I KNOW THAT ART CAN BE
A TOOL THAT CHANGES PEOPLE’S LIVES. IT’S HELPED TO
CHANGE MINE. I HAVE A VERY CLASSIC
AFRICAN AMERICAN BACKGROUND. MY PARENTS PICKED COTTON
AND TOBACCO IN THE SOUTH. THEY WANTED TO LEAVE
THE SOUTH AND HAVE A BETTER LIFE. AND THEY TREASURED EDUCATION
THAT THEY DIDN’T HAVE. IT MANIFESTED
ITSELF IN ME. THEY ALSO TALKED ABOUT
THE WORLD IN WHICH THEY LIVED AND THEIR LACK
OF POWER TO CHANGE IT. SO MY WORK IS ABOUT
THE POLITICAL AND SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND THE TRIALS
THAT WE’RE EXPERIENCING IN LIFE. THE FONT FROM WHERE ALL
OF THIS STUFF FLOWS IS MY MOTHER, ELIZABETH CALDWELL
TALFORD SCOTT. SHE WAS SOMEONE
WHO PICKED COTTON. SHE WAS A VERY, VERY
HARD WORKER, BUT SHE ALWAYS HAD
THIS CREATIVE IMPULSE. WOMAN:
JOYCE J. SCOTT AND HER MOTHER ELIZABETH TALFORD SCOTT ARE THE PRIMA DONNAS
OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL LIFE
HERE IN BALTIMORE. THIS QUILT IS BY
ELIZABETH TALFORD SCOTT, AND IT’S CALLED
“JOYCE’S QUILT.” HER MOTHER CREATED
THE QUILT SO THAT JOYCE COULD LEARN IMPORTANT
LESSONS IN LIFE. AND AS YOU’LL SEE
BEHIND ME, THERE IS A FISH RIGHT IN THE CENTER, AND THAT FISH IS
EATING THE NORTH STAR. SO IT’S REALLY ABOUT
THINGS THAT HAVE TO DO WITH NAVIGATION, HOW
WE MOVE THROUGH LIFE, AND THE FACT THAT EVEN
IF WE’RE AS BRIGHT AS THE NORTH STAR,
SOMETHING CAN EVEN COME AND EAT US. SO THERE’S ALSO A RABBIT
WITH A SHOVEL TAIL. AND WHAT JOYCE SAYS
THAT’S ABOUT IS THAT IF YOU DIG YOURSELF INTO
A HOLE, YOU CAN GET YOURSELF OUT OF A HOLE. JOYCE: THIS ONE REALLY TOLD
ME ABOUT HOW THEY WERE TAUGHT TO QUILT. AND ALL THE LADIES
WOULD BE SITTING AROUND. AND WHAT THEY’D DO IS
THE KIDS WOULD GO UNDER THE QUILT, LIKE A TENT. AND SOMETIMES THEY’D
HAVE TO SEND THE NEEDLES BACK UP. BUT THEY’D GET TO HEAR
ALL THOSE STORIES UNDER THIS MAGICAL QUILTED TENT. EVENTUALLY, THEY WERE
ABLE TO COME UP AND SIT NEXT TO SOMEONE
AND QUILT. SO THIS IS A QUILT
THAT’S, YOU KNOW, USING FAMILY FABRIC. AND THERE ARE BITS
AND PIECES, LIKE THAT’S A VERY, VERY OLD PIECE
OF FABRIC THAT SHE CARRIED WITH HER WHEN
SHE WOULD GO FROM PLACE TO PLACE. AND THEN EVENTUALLY,
WHEN SHE HAD ME, HAD NO TIME TO QUILT, STARTED
TO QUILT AGAIN. BUT SHE TOOK 50 YEARS
TO COMPLETE THIS QUILT. NOW, THIS QUILT
REPRESENTS TO ME WHAT MANY, MANY QUILTS ARE. I CALL THEM DIARIES
FOR PRELITERATE PEOPLE. BECAUSE HOW DID PEOPLE
WRITE DOWN FAMILY HISTORY MANY TIMES
WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE THE ABILITY TO READ
OR WRITE VERY WELL? EACH ONE OF THOSE
STITCHES IS A WORD, AND THEY BECOME
SENTENCES AND PARAGRAPHS TALKING
ABOUT THE FAMILY HISTORY. AND WHEN YOU GO BACK,
YOU READ A QUILT. SO WHEN I STARTED
DESTROYING ONE OF MY MOTHER’S QUILTS, SHE
SAID TO ME, “IF YOU LOVE IT, YOU OUGHT TO
WRITE ON IT,” MEANING STITCHING. SO CRAFTS ARE EPICENTRAL
TO WHAT I DO BECAUSE I’M LISTENING TO MY MOM
TELL ME THOSE STORIES, AND THEY’RE NOT JUST
STORIES THAT TALK ABOUT MY FAMILY HISTORY,
BUT THEY’RE PRIMERS ON HOW TO START MAKING
ARTWORK THAT MATTERS. WE LIVE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
WITH EVERYBODY ELSE, WITH ALL
OF THE CONUNDRUMS OF LIFE. CONSEQUENTLY, IF THOSE
THINGS AFFECT ME LIKE THEY DO EVERYBODY ELSE,
THEN THAT’S WHAT I’M GOING TO TALK
ABOUT IN MY WORK. SOME THINGS ARE VERY
THEME-ORIENTED, LIKE RACE, DEATH, FEMALE
PROBLEMS, WHATEVER. BUT OTHER THINGS ARE
JUST EITHER FOR BEAUTY OR JUST SOME KIND
OF GEOMETRIC THING I’M GOING THROUGH
IN MY HEAD. THIS IS CALLED
“LOOK, MOM, A DOCTOR.” IT’S ABOUT ALL THOSE
WOMEN WHO WANTED TO BE MARRIED TO A DOCTOR. AND SOMETIMES WOMEN ARE
SO DESPERATE, THEY MIGHT GO TO SOMEONE FROM
ANOTHER COUNTRY, EVEN SOMEONE WHO MIGHT BE
THE STEREOTYPE THAT THEY’RE NOT THE MOST HAPPY WITH. HE’S SHORTER, HE’S MUCH
DARKER-SKINNED, HE’S AFRICAN,
BUT SHE’S CONVINCED HERSELF THAT SHE CAN FALL IN LOVE. “HAVE YOU SEEN
THIS CHILD?” IT’S ABOUT THOSE LADIES
WHO ARE TRYING TO FIND THE DISAPPEARED ONES
IN THEIR FAMILY. RIGHT HERE IN THE UNITED STATES,
SHE AND HER KID WERE OUT SOMEWHERE–
MAYBE IN THE PARK. SHE’S GOT ON HER DENIM
SHORTS AND HER TUBE TOP. AND SHE TURNED HER BACK
FOR A SECOND, AND THAT CHILD WAS GONE. SHE JUST SITS AND SHOWS
THE PICTURE AND WAITS. THIS IS ABOUT EVE ACCEPTING
THE APPLE FROM THE SERPENT. ADAM IS LOST IN THE SAUCE,
AND THIS IS THE TREE OF LIFE. NO MATTER WHAT I DO,
I TRY TO BE THE BEST BEAD WORKER POSSIBLE. A LOT OF THIS HAS TO
DO WITH MY BEING A HOARDER/COLLECTOR. THE WHOLE POINT IS,
LIKE, NATURE AND OTHER PEOPLE AND HAPPENSTANCE
AND EVERYTHING MAKES STUFF MUCH
BETTER THAN I DO. YOU KNOW, THERE ARE
LIFE FORCES IN ALL OF THIS STUFF. MY APPRECIATION OF LIFE
AND MY APPRECIATION IN MY ABILITY TO MAKE
ART COMES FROM TAKING THINGS THAT PEOPLE WOULD
CONSIDER TO BE THE LOWLIEST OF MATERIALS
AND WATCHING THEM SHINE AND WATCHING THEM
TELL ME WHAT TO DO. SEE, I MUST SUBMIT
TO MY MATERIALS. THEY DO NOT
SUBMIT TO ME. NOW, IF ANYBODY KNOWS
MY PERSONALITY, THEY THINK THAT’S A BALD-FACED LIE,
BUT IT’S THE TRUTH. THINGS THAT OTHERS WOULD
THINK ARE WORTH A PENNY MIGHT BE WORTH
A SCRILLION DOLLARS TO ME BECAUSE IT OPENED
A PATH FOR ME TO CREATE. MAN: I THINK THE ISSUES THAT
ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO JOYCE AND THAT ARE
EVIDENT IN HER WORK IS, WHERE DOES PREJUDICE
STEM FROM? WE’RE AT THE BALTIMORE
MUSEUM OF ART. AND THIS LOBBY THAT
WE’RE IN RIGHT NOW AT THE MUSEUM HELD
A MAJOR INSTALLATION THAT JOYCE DID DEALING
WITH HATE CRIMES. “JOYCE J. SCOTT KICKIN’ IT
WITH THE OLD MASTERS” LITERALLY TOOK OVER
THE WHOLE MUSEUM. BEFORE YOU SEE ANY
OF THE MUSEUM’S WONDERFUL MATISSES OR THE DEGAS
OR THEIR WARHOLS IN THEIR COLLECTION, YOU
REALLY WERE CONFRONTED. JOYCE HAD
AN INSTALLATION THAT WENT FROM THE CEILING TO
THE FLOOR OF ALL THESE BLOWN-GLASS HEADS
THAT WERE DEALING WITH HATE CRIMES. IN THE OPPOSITE CORNER
OVER HERE STOOD RODIN’S “THE THINKER,”
ABOVE WHICH JOYCE CREATED THIS AMAZING
LYNCHED FIGURE MADE OF BEADS. RODIN IN CREATING
“THE THINKER,” ITS ORIGINAL PLACEMENT WAS AT THE TOP
OF HIS “GATES OF HELL.” AND SO JOYCE’S LYNCHED
FIGURE, WHICH HOVERED OVER IT, REALLY MADE
US THINK ABOUT HOW HATE LEADS TO RACISM
AND OTHER KINDS OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY. JOYCE: I CALL MYSELF… AN UNCERTIFIED
MULTIPLE PERSONALITY. I’M VERY ITCHY IN LIFE. I’M NOT COMFORTABLE
DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN
WITHOUT RELEASE, WITHOUT SOME KIND OF KICK START
THAT MAKES ME DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY. WOMAN: WHEN I’M SOMEWHERE
AND I’M GIVING A TALK, PEOPLE WILL SAY AT
TIMES, “I BELIEVE I’VE MET JOYCE SCOTT,
BUT I’M NOT CERTAIN.” AND I SAY, “NO. IF YOU’VE MET HER,
YOU’D KNOW YOU’VE MET HER.” WOMAN: WHEN YOU KNOW HER,
YOU REALIZE SHE WORKS SO HARD. SHE IS SO COMMITTED. HER LIFE FROM
THE MINUTE SHE WAKES UP IN THE MORNING TILL THAT
ONE HOUR THAT SHE SLEEPS AT NIGHT, ‘CAUSE I’M
CONVINCED SHE DOESN’T SLEEP, SHE’S SO
COMMITTED TO HER ART, TO HER COMMUNITY,
AND TO HERSELF AS AN ARTIST. JOYCE: OK, SO HE’S SMOOTH. HE’S SAYING… SHANA: AND SHE GETS UP,
AND SHE GOES OUT, AND SHE MEETS PEOPLE, AND SHE,
YOU KNOW, TEACHES AND SHE LECTURES
AND SHE SINGS AND SHE DOES ALL THESE THINGS
THAT ARE REAL LIFE THINGS. SHE JUST PACKS THEM ALL
IN IN A REALLY TIGHT AMOUNT OF TIME. GET THE METAL
AND FLATTEN OUT WHERE HER FINGERS ARE, PLEASE… JOYCE, VOICE-OVER: SO WHEN I’M
ASKED WHAT I AM, I THINK THE FACT THAT I’M A BEAD ARTIST
WHO…INTEGRATES BEADWORK AND OTHER STUFF
BUT STILL IS A BEAD ARTIST, MAKES A DIFFERENCE. I PERSONALLY BELIEVE
AS LONG AS WE REFUSE TO TALK ABOUT RACE,
WE’RE GONNA HAVE A LOT OF PROBLEMS. I DO HAVE ANGER ABOUT IT. AND ONE OF THE GREAT
WAYS THAT I DEAL WITH IT IS TO MAKE ARTWORK THAT
ALLOWS–IN FACT, BECKONS– PEOPLE TO COME TO IT. I WANT IT TO BE SO
BEAUTIFUL THAT THEY CAN’T STOP
STARING AT IT. AND AS THEY SEE IT,
THEY HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THAT ISSUE
MEANS TO THEM. A CRACK IN THE DOOR
JUST A LITTLE BIT. JOYCE: OK, NOW, YOU SHOULD
FLATTEN THE TOP A BIT. IT’S CLEAR. YEAH… JOYCE, VOICE-OVER: IT’S ALL
ABOUT TRYING TO CONVEY THE MESSAGE IN ITS BEST FORM. SO IF VISUAL DOESN’T
DO IT, THE MUSIC MIGHT. AND IF MUSIC DOESN’T,
MAYBE THEATER MIGHT. ♪ INHALE ♪ ♪ EXHALE ♪ ♪ AND THOUGH I-I-I BELIEVE
IN LIFE ♪ ♪ DEFEND A-A-AND AGREE
WITH LIFE ♪ ♪ I’M STARTING ♪ ♪ TO BE ♪ [PIANO PLAYING] I CAN’T BELIEVE IT. IT’S JUST SO GORGEOUS TODAY. IT’S JUST
SO BEAUTIFUL. WOW! [TRADITIONAL JAZZ PLAYING] THOMAS: I HAVE NO IDEA. TOM IS CELEBRATING
HIS 40th YEAR AS A PRACTICING
METAL SMITH ARTIST. HE WANTS TO EMPHASIZE
THE IMPORTANCE OF ARTISTS
AND THE DEDICATION THAT IT REQUIRES TO DEVOTE
YOURSELF TO THAT. IT’S ABOUT
THE RELATIONSHIP OF MAKING SOMETHING AND BRINGING
THAT OUT FROM YOUR HEART. THOMAS: MY STYLE THAT I BECAME
SO WELL-KNOWN FOR, WHICH I CALL TECHNO-ROMANTIC
JEWELRY OBJECTS, WAS ORIGINALLY BASED
ON FOUND OBJECTS. BUT THEN FINDING
THE FOUND OBJECTS ON A REGULAR BASIS
BECAME PROBLEMATIC. AND SO I STARTED
THINKING ABOUT WHAT IT WAS ABOUT A FOUND OBJECT
THAT MADE IT SO INTERESTING
TO PEOPLE. AND I SAID, WELL, MAYBE
I CAN ACTUALLY INVENT A DESIGN SYSTEM WHEREBY
I MAKE OBJECTS THAT APPEAR TO BE FOUND. MAYBE I CAN DEVELOP
WHAT I CALL A DESIGN VOCABULARY THAT COULD
BE INFINITELY MUTATABLE INTO A LINE
OF JEWELRY OBJECTS, AND THAT’S WHERE IT
ALL BASICALLY CAME FROM. ALL OF THIS WORK IN THIS
DRAWER IS PROBABLY FROM THE EARLY
TO THE MID-SEVENTIES. AT THIS TIME, I WAS KIND
OF EXPLORING ETCHING AND ENAMELING. AND THEN I DISCOVERED
A REALLY IMPORTANT DEVICE FOR ME, WHICH WAS
LAMINATED PLEXIGLAS OR ACRYLIC. THIS WAS A PIVOTAL
PERIOD FOR ME BECAUSE I WAS TRANSITIONING
FROM BEING A KIND OF A TRADITIONAL
NEO-SCANDINAVIAN, KIND OF SILVERSMITHING
APPROACH TO WHAT I DO TO MORE OF THIS FOUND
OBJECT KIND OF APPROACH. [ETCHER BUZZING] THESE ARE WHAT WE CALL
FREEHAND SCULPTURES. AND THE WAY I MAKE THEM
IS WE SET UP A BIG SHEET OF STEEL AND I JUST
DRAW ON THEM WITH CHALK AND I INVENT THESE SHAPES
AS THEY KIND OF COME UP, AND I COMPLETELY FILL
THE SHEET WITH DESIGNS. AND THEN WE PLASMA-CUT
THEM ALL OUT AND CUT BASES AND WELD THEM UP,
AND TOM DOES ALL THE FINISHING WORK
ON THIS FOR US. AND THEN I GET TO SIT
HERE AND KIND OF, LIKE, DELIGHTFULLY GO THROUGH
THIS FOREST OF FREEHAND HEARTS AND SIGN THEM ALL. IT’S REALLY A LOT
OF FUN FOR ME. THE HEART SHAPE HAS
BECOME KIND OF CLICHE. IT’S BEEN CLICHED
BY COMMERCE. AND IT WAS ALSO TRANSMUTED IN THE MEDIEVAL TIMES
FROM BEING A PAGAN SYMBOL TO BEING A CONTEMPORARY,
KIND OF RELIGIOUS SYMBOL. SO I’VE DONE A LOT
OF RESEARCH IN THAT REALM. AND I BELIEVE THAT
THAT HEART FORM IS REALLY KIND
OF A FERTILITY SYMBOL. IT’S REALLY A SEXUAL SYMBOL. AND THAT’S WHY I
BELIEVE THE IMAGE AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF IT
WAS SUPPRESSED BY THE CHURCH
IN THE MEDIEVAL TIMES. AND THEY KIND OF
TURNED IT INTO A ROMANTIC SYMBOL. THERE’S A HISTORY
OF THE CHURCH ALWAYS KIND OF TAKING OVER THE PAGAN
SYMBOLS IN ORDER TO TRANSMUTE THEM
INTO THEIR OWN USAGE. BUT WHEN I APPLY MY
DESIGN THINKING TO IT, THEY BECOME
TECHNO-ROMANTIC HEARTS, AND SOMETIMES THEY
ACTUALLY HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR ABOUT THEM,
SO, YOU KNOW– AND SO I’M TRYING TO
MAKE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT THE HEART IS,
IT’S FULL OF LIFE. IT’S REALLY FULL
OF LIFE, YOU KNOW? AND THAT’S WHAT
I LOVE TO DO. AND THEN I DID ONE,
WHICH IS REALLY HARKENING BACK TO
THE WHOLE TECHNO-ROMANTIC SYSTEM HERE, WHERE
THESE ARE LOTS OF FOUND OBJECTS HERE. THERE’S GEARS FROM
CLOCKS AND THERE’S PARTS I’VE FOUND
ON THE STREET AND THERE’S GLOW-IN-THE-DARK
PLASTIC AND PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARDS
AND ALL OF THE STUFF THAT PEOPLE ALWAYS
ASSOCIATE ME WITH. THE HEART FORM
IS TOTALLY UNIQUE, TOTALLY UNUSUAL. AND SO MANY OTHER
ARTISTS ARE DISINCLINED TO USE IT, THAT FOR ME,
IT’S BECOME KIND OF MY, YOU KNOW, MY PARTICULAR
SYMBOL THAT I’M ASSOCIATED WITH. AND I NEVER, NEVER,
EVER GET TIRED OF USING THAT FORM. – HEY, MARKO. – HEY. OH, THAT’S COOL! THIS IS COOL, MAN. HOW DID YOU GET
IN THERE SO TIGHT? MARK: I USED
THAT X-ACTO KNIFE. THOMAS: VERY NICE,
VERY NICE WORK. REALLY WONDERFUL. MARK, VOICE-OVER:
I USED TO HAVE A STORE IN THE FRENCH QUARTER,
AND TOM WOULD COME IN AND HE’D HAVE
THESE GIRLS WITH HIM WITH THESE
COOL EARRINGS. AND I SAW THESE EARRINGS,
AND I THOUGHT, “WOW, THAT’S REALLY COOL.” AND I KEPT ASKING HIM,
“I WANT TO DO THAT. I WANT TO LEARN
HOW TO DO THAT.” SO I JUST BUGGED HIM
AND BUGGED HIM UNTIL HE HIRED ME. I STARTED
FROM THE BOTTOM UP. THOMAS: AND IT’S GONNA
TURN OUT REAL NICE. THANKS FOR
ALL YOUR HELP. – ALL RIGHT. – OK. MARK: CAN I KEEP THESE
JUST TO MAKE SURE? OK. THOMAS: YEAH. OK. THOMAS, VOICE-OVER:
WHEN YOU HAVE A SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL CAREER
AS A CRAFT ARTIST, THERE WILL COME THIS MOMENT WHEN
YOU MAKING THE THING BECOMES LESS IMPORTANT THAN YOU
IMAGINEERING THE THING. IN ORDER FOR IT
TO BENEFIT OTHER PEOPLE AROUND YOU, YOU KIND
OF HAVE TO MOVE ON TO THE POINT WHERE YOU TRAIN
PEOPLE TO MAKE THINGS THE WAY YOU MAKE THEM. I FELL IN LOVE
WITH NEW ORLEANS ON A TOUR I DID AROUND THE COUNTRY
IN 1976. I’M A NEW ORLEANIAN NOW. YOU KNOW, I STILL TALK
LIKE A YANKEE, BUT THIS IS MY HOME, AND I MISS IT WHEN
I’M AWAY FROM IT. MAN: YOU KNOW, NEW ORLEANS
IS A PLACE WHERE MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE CAME
TOGETHER YEARS AGO, THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO. IT’S CHOCTAW TERRITORY. I’M STANDING RIGHT
IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS CEMETERY. THIS IS SOME
OF THE CEREMONIAL GROUND THAT THEY HAD HERE. SO THIS IS A VERY
SPIRITUAL PLACE. AND IT’S WHERE A LOT
OF HUMAN COOPERATION HAD TO TAKE PLACE. THERE WAS SOME
NEGOTIATING THAT HAD TO HAPPEN TO SURVIVE
IN NEW ORLEANS. HISTORICALLY, PEOPLE THAT
HAVE LIVED HERE HAVE HAD TO DEPEND ON EACH
OTHER TO SURVIVE. JUST LIKE THE STORM THAT
HAPPENED A FEW YEARS AGO, THE PEOPLE ALL HAD
TO DEPEND ON EACH OTHER. SO ARTISTS LIKE TOM MANN,
PEOPLE THAT ESTABLISHED THEMSELVES
HERE AND WANT TO CREATE A CRAFT THAT CAN SUSTAIN
THEM AS WELL AS PUT SOME MORE SEASONING INTO THE GUMBO,
IT’S VERY IMPORTANT. THOMAS: THIS IS REALLY FUN. I’VE BEEN DESIGNING
THESE PIECES ON THE COMPUTER
AND HAVING THEM CUT WITH LASER CUTTING
FROM A LOCAL ARCHITECTURAL
MODEL BUILDING COMPANY. I DON’T REALLY SEE
MYSELF VERY MUCH ANYMORE AS A JEWELRY DESIGNER. I SEE MYSELF
AS A SCULPTOR WHO MAKES JEWELRY TO SUPPORT
HIS SCULPTURE HABIT. HA HA! THESE ARE DEVICES THAT
KIND OF DEFINE SPACE, WHAT I CALL SPACE FRAMES. THERE ARE ELEMENTS THAT
EXIST INSIDE OF IT. AND THEY FLOAT AROUND
INSIDE THAT SPACE. THIS IS NOT ONLY
A JEWELRY OBJECT, BUT I DO THIS AS A LARGE
HANGING SCULPTURE THAT HANGS FROM A BIG, TALL SPACE
DOWN TO THE FLOOR. AND I HAD A SHOW HERE
IN THE GALLERY ONE TIME WHERE I HAD 3
OF THESE HANGING DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SPACE. IT WAS REALLY COOL. ANGELE: TOM HAS A REALLY
ELABORATE SET OF INSTRUCTIONS FOR
PREPARING FOR STORMS. THOMAS, VOICE-OVER:
EVERY YEAR FOR THE 5 YEARS BEFORE KATRINA CAME IN,
I WAS A NUT CASE ABOUT PREPARING FOR THE STORM. AND YOU CAN
ASK MY STAFF. I DROVE THEM NUTS
EVERY YEAR DOING PRE-HURRICANE SEASON PREPARING. AND WE’RE THREATENED
SO OFTEN THAT WE’VE ACTUALLY HAD TO GO
THROUGH AND DO THE DRILL SEVERAL TIMES. AND IT SHUTS DOWN
BUSINESS FOR A FEW DAYS. I HAD FOOD STORED
IN THE STUDIO, AND I HAD MY KAYAK ON THE ROOF. AND I WAS READY FOR WHEN
THE STORM WOULD COME. AND I’D BE HERE TO BE
ABLE TO DOCUMENT IT, WITNESS IT,
EXPERIENCE IT. WELL, WHERE WAS I? I WAS DOING A CRAFTS FAIR
IN CHICAGO INSTEAD. I WATCHED KATRINA COME
ASHORE ON THE LAPTOP IN MY BOOTH AT THE SHOW. IN THE MEANTIME,
THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO COULD GET IN THERE TO
DO ANYTHING WERE ANGELE AND MARK. AND THEY BASICALLY
SAVED THE BUILDING ALONG WITH SOME OTHER FRIENDS
WHO PUT UP THE BOARDS AND EVERYTHING,
BUT I MISSED IT. I MISSED HAVING THAT
EXPERIENCE AND HAD TO WATCH IT ON CNN. I WAS ALREADY HAVING
SURVIVOR GUILT AT THAT POINT BECAUSE I WASN’T
HERE TO HELP OR BE PART OF IT, YOU KNOW? I’D COME BACK TO
NEW ORLEANS WITH A MISSION. I WAS SUPPOSED TO
PUT TOGETHER A SHOW. AND I WAS LOOKING
FOR INSPIRATION ABOUT WHAT I WAS GOING TO DO. I WASN’T REALLY CLEAR
ON WHAT THAT WAS GOING TO BE, AND I WAS BIKING AROUND
THIS NEIGHBORHOOD. AND I WAS TOTALLY
CAPTURED BY THE GRAPHIC IMPRESSION THAT I SAW
IN THIS PARTICULAR SITE BECAUSE THIS ANGEL ICON
HAD BEEN CRUSHED IN THE FALLING DWELLING
AND SOMEONE HAD STOOD IT BACK UP AND KIND OF
IN PLACE, KIND OF LIKE, YOU KNOW, TRYING TO KEEP
THE SPIRIT ALIVE. AND I DEFINITELY CAUGHT
THAT MESSAGE AND WANTED TO PORTRAY IT IN A PIECE. I FELT IT WAS REALLY
IMPORTANT FOR THE KIND OF SPIRITUAL RENEWAL OF
THE CITY TO HAVE A PIECE LIKE THIS IN THE SHOW. AND SO “ANGEL.” THIS IS THE SITE
FOR “ANGEL” FROM “STORM CYCLE.” AND IT’S ONE OF MY
FAVORITE PIECES. AND THE LITTLE
GLOW-IN-THE-DARK CROSS ON THE BROOCH IN THIS
PIECE IS REMINISCENT OF MY EARLY RELIGIOUS
TRAINING. SO I FELT IT WAS REALLY
IMPORTANT FOR THE KIND OF SPIRITUAL RENEWAL OF
THE CITY TO HAVE A PIECE LIKE THIS IN THE SHOW. “STORM CYCLE” HAS TRAVELED TO 11 DIFFERENT VENUES, BUT IT’S BEEN TO, I’D SAY, LIKE, 8 MUSEUMS
AND THEN ART CENTERS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. IT HAS A LIFE OF ITS OWN. IT’S LIKE, ONCE THE WORD
GOT OUT ABOUT WHAT THIS THING WAS ABOUT, IT
WENT OFF TO ALL OF THESE PLACES BECAUSE PEOPLE
WERE SO ANXIOUS TO HAVE SOME KIND OF A PERSONAL
CONTACT WITH THE STORY OF NEW ORLEANS RELATIVE
TO THE STORM, OTHER THAN THAT WHICH THEY GOT
THROUGH THE MEDIA. I KNEW THAT THERE WAS
ANIMAL RESCUE GOING ON KIND OF BIG-TIME IN
THE CITY, AND I WANTED TO FIND A WAY TO
GET CONNECTED WITH THAT COMMUNITY. AND FORTUNATELY FOR ME–
THERE WAS A– DOG CENTRAL
WAS CATTY-CORNER FROM MY STUDIO
ON MAGAZINE STREET. AND THEN I FOUND
THIS ONE DOG. HIS NAME WAS WALL STREET,
AND I DON’T KNOW HOW THEY LEARNED
THE DOG’S NAME. BUT THEY ALL REFERRED
TO HIM AS “WALL STREET.” AND HE WAS AT THIS HOUSE
FROM SEPTEMBER UNTIL DECEMBER,
AND HIS OWNER NEVER RETURNED TO GET HIM. AND EVENTUALLY, HE
WAS TAKEN INTO THE ADOPTION SYSTEM. BUT WHILE HE WAS
THERE, I WOULD VISIT HIM ON A REGULAR BASIS
AND LEAVE LITTLE TREATS. AND I’D OFFER THESE
TREATS TO HIM, BUT HE WOULD NEVER GET
CLOSE TO ME. HE WOULD KIND OF GROWL
AND RUN UNDER THE HOUSE. IN THIS CASE, I CARVED
A WHITE PLEXIGLAS VERSION OF WALL STREET, THE DOG. THAT PIECE IS VERY
POIGNANT FOR PEOPLE WHEN THEY SEE IT IN
THE EXHIBITION, OF COURSE, BECAUSE THERE
ARE A LOT OF DOG LOVERS OUT THERE. I HARDLY EVER USE THE
WORD “CRAFT ARTIST” TO DESCRIBE MYSELF. I JUST USE THE WORD ARTIST. TO ME, BEING AN ARTIST
IS ABOUT EXPRESSING YOURSELF AND MANIFESTING
OBJECTS OUT OF YOUR CREATIVITY THAT OTHER
PEOPLE ACKNOWLEDGE AS BEING IMPORTANT TO THEM
IN SOME FORM OR FASHION AND ARE WILLING TO
SUPPORT YOUR EFFORTS TO CONTINUE MAKING THEM. [PLAYING TRADITIONAL JAZZ] [APPLAUSE] CAPTIONING MADE POSSIBLE BY
CRAFT IN AMERICA, INC. CAPTIONED BY THE NATIONAL
CAPTIONING INSTITUTE –www.ncicap.org–

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