Sunday, March 23, 2014

Blue Corn Maiden

Blue Corn Maiden Tile Bracelet    The third Kachina that I created for Sarajane Helm's Mask Swap is the Blue Corn Maiden. The Blue Corn Maiden reminds us to be thankful. She honors Mother Earth and her continuing ability to feed her children and is a prayer for corn. When you place a Blue Corn Maiden in your home or wear this on a bracelet or necklace, you show thanks for the many gifts we receive each day from Mother Earth and this wonderful world we live on. She reminds us to be thankful and reminds me how thankful I've been for all my artist gifts as well.
   Here is a Hopi Legend I found about the Blue Corn Maiden on
   Blue Corn Maiden was the prettiest of the corn maiden sisters. The Pueblo People loved her very much, and loved the delicious blue corn that she gave them all year long. Not only was Blue Corn Maiden beautiful, but she had a kind and gentle spirit. She brought peace and happiness to the People of the Pueblos.
    One cold winter day, Blue Corn Maiden went out to gather firewood. This was something she would not normally do. While she was out of her adobe house, she saw Winter Katsina. Winter Katsina is the spirit who brings the winter to the Earth. He wore his blue and white mask and blew cold wind with his breath. But when Winter Katsina saw Blue Corn Maiden, he loved her at once.
    He invited her to come to his, and she had to go with him. Inside his house, he blocked the windows with ice and the doorway with snow and made Blue Corn Maiden his prisoner. Although Winter Katsina was very kind to Blue Corn Maiden and loved her very much, she was sad living with him. She wanted to go back to her own house and make the blue corn grow for the People of the Pueblos.
   Winter Katsina went out one day to do his duties, and blow cold wind upon the Earth and scatter snow over the mesas and valleys. While he was gone, Blue Corn Maiden pushed the snow away from the doorway, and went out of the house to look for the plants and foods she loved to find in the summer. Under all the ice and snow, all she found was four blades of yucca. She took the yucca back to Winter Katsina's house and started a fire. Winter Katsina would not allow her to start a fire when he was in the house.
   When the fire was started, the snow in the doorway fell away and in walked Summer Katsina. Summer Katsina carried in one hand fresh corn and in the other many blades of yucca. He came toward his friend Blue Corn Maiden.
   Just then, Winter Katsina stormed through the doorway followed by a roar of winter wind. Winter Katsina carried an icicle in his right hand, which he held like a flint knife, and a ball of ice in his left hand, which he wielded like a hand-axe. It looked like Winter Katsina intended to fight with Summer Katsina.
    As Winter Katsina blew a blast of cold air, Summer Katsina blew a warm breeze. When Winter Katsina raised his icicle-knife, Summer Katsina raised his bundle of yucca leaves, and they caught fire. The fire melted the icicle. Winter Katsina saw that he needed to make peace with Summer Katsina, not war. The two sat and talked. They agreed that Blue Corn Maiden would live among the People of the Pueblos and give them her blue corn for half of the year, in the time of Summer Katsina. The other half of the year, Blue Corn Maiden would live with Winter Katsina and the People would have no corn.
    Blue Corn Maiden went away with Summer Katsina, and he was kind to her. She became the sign of springtime, eagerly awaited by the People. Sometimes, when spring has come already, Winter Katsina will blow cold wind suddenly, or scatter snow when it is not the snow time. He does this just to show how displeased he is to have to give up Blue Corn Maiden for half of the year.
Corn Maiden Kachina Mask/Tile/Pendant Corn Maiden Kachina Mask/Tile/Pendant
Corn Maiden Kachina Mask/Tile/Pendant

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Eagle Kachina

Eagle Kachina Tile Bracelet   Kwahu, the Eagle Kachina, represents strength and power. He is the ruler of the sky and can carry messages to heaven.  Kwahu is the overseer of all Kachinas, an honored guest who is given many presents. In the picture to the right my kachina is a part of a sectional bracelet with 3 coordinating southwestern bracelet tiles.
   This is the second of my 10 mask tiles that I am in the process of creating for Sarajane Helm's Mask Swap. All the little tiles have two holes in the side as pictured below and can be used for bracelets or necklaces. I will be creating other tiles to coordinate with the Kachinas and beads. This little guy has feathers left from both my owl cane and my Eagle KachinaSunface kachina cane, along with a 'pine' accent around his neck made from left over palm fronds from my palm tree cane. The tiles that the bracelet is shown with are a new addition - a Southwestern Bear Paw cane that I made reusing an old Bear Claw cane that I will discuss in a later blog.  
    I always find it interesting how, when I start a new project it always opens up other possibilities and - in pushing myself - my experience and skills grow. When I started working with polymer clay about 15 years ago it was just for fun. I saw some cute items in a catalog and thought it would be a fun thing to try and jumped right in and made a very ugly face cane. Of course I was only using Sculpey III so it was terribly squishy.  I learned, practiced,  and got a bit better - tried making a few fairies from Maureen Carlson books, and taught a few polymer classes at Michaels before they changed their classroom format. And then put it away for most of about 10 years until 2009 when situations made me look for a alternate form of income. Long story and hopefully one with a happy ending. Maybe this little guy can take my polymer dreams to heaven as well.
Eagle Kachina Eagle Kachina Tile Bracelet
Eagle Kachina

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Crow Mother Kachina

   As much as most of you see my new Kachinas as a "new" idea, it's actually an old idea.  I may have grown up in Minnesota, but my very first visit to San Antonio in college left me with a immense love and appreciation for Native American art.

   When I first started working with clay, creating my own canes and creations expressing that love was one of my first thoughts.  I have several canes with fetish bears and bear claws and a wonderful design that I made on a Sunface Kachina that I made years ago and I'll be talking about those pieces and revisiting those ideas in later posts as I further explore this path I'm on, but feel free to follow these links to see my past endeavors:  Bear Claw Green, Bear Claw Maroon, Fetish Bear Green, Sunface Kachina necklace, Sunface Kachina Art Tin.  In some ways its hard for me to look back at those images from 5-6 years ago since I've grown so much as an artist with the help of the wonderful polymer community.  I still have a lot of those canes and it's going to be fun to reuse them with the new ideas running through my head.  =)

Crow Mother Kachina Mask/Tile/Pendant   The first of my new little creations comes as a result of being invited to participate in Sarajane Helm's Mask Swap.  This is the first year I've been invited and the first year I'm participating, so I'm very excited and honored.  I'm only doing one group of ten because I wanted to make sure I have the time to put the quality into each that I want.  I decided to revisit my vision from 5 years ago and make my masks little Kachina faces.  Crow Mother is the first mask that I've finished.

   Crow Mother - also known as Angwusnasomtaka - is a Hopi Kachina.  She is a figure of great dignity, who is known to lead the initiation of the children.  In creating mine, I started with a square base with two holes through it.  I lined the sides of the base with feathers left from my Owl Cane and the top of the head also has feathers, but these are from my original Sunface Kachina.  She has a red and black striped head wrapping and the base has forestry 'pine' look using left over palm fronds from my palm tree cane.  Isn't recycling old canes great!

   I backed this little mask with black and added a little slice of my new signature cane.  As you can see from the photos below - there are holes that go through the top and bottom of each piece.  I'll be making other masks and tiles on the same base so that you can string them together as a very fun chunky bracelet or just use the top hole to string the piece as a necklace.  I can't wait to see how everything looks together when I get the coordinating bracelet tiles and other kachinas finished!  This little guy is my "beta" - eventually I'll be making a numbered set to sell in my shop along with some finished pieces.  I got a lot of work ahead of me!

Crow Mother Kachina Mask/Tile/PendantCrow Mother Kachina Mask/Tile/PendantCrow Mother Kachina Mask/Tile/Pendant

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bridal Lace

   I know with the wicked winter weather hitting many places this winter that it's hard to believe, but spring is right around the corner. REALLY! And with spring comes warmth, flowers, new leaves, and LOVE. Yes, it's that time of year where many new brides are picking out there wedding gowns and preparing for that special day.

   Now, I admit when I first made my Pansy and Butterfly canes in shades of black, white and gray - it was for the elegant effect of having a colorless pattern and how wonderful it would be to have just a touch of color for POP, but after making my first creations they reminded me of lace and looked so delicate. One of the folks commenting on my earrings said that they'd be wonderful for a bride - and that made for the perfect name for this wonderful monochromatic combination.

   And they do look wonderful with a pretty colorful butterfly for POP, but by themselves, they have a simple elegance that could grace a bridal gown or add a bit of pizzazz to your favorite little black dress.

Here are a few more pieces!


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