Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Art and Artists ~ From The Taos Pueblo

Here are three more pieces from the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. The first is a glazed horse hair bear which also has a turtle carved onto its back. This was actually my first purchase at the pueblo. I had been wanting a bear and I also like the symbol of the turtle. The bear and the turtle are often simplified as meaning strength and long life. If you do a little more reading, the bear is seen as a protector and leader. The bear can also be found as a helper in emergence stories. The turtle not only stands for long life, but strength and perseverance. As an added fun note, the power of the turtle is often an annoyance for poor coyote.

The simple round clay bowl is made from mica clay. This is clay that naturally has a lot of the mineral mica in it. The mica sparkles in the sun making even less ornate pottery look showy. I spent a lot of hot summer days collecting mica as a little girl in Virginia. Back then our roads were paved with a layer of gravel and then a layer of tar. These roads didn't hold up very well through the winter and had to be regularly redone. Whenever a fresh load of rocks were laid out, it was time to hunt for mica. I don't know where our rocks came from, but nothing made me happier than combing the side of the street watching for the sun to play off the sparkling rocks. Sometimes you found just pieces of mica. Other times you could actually peel a layer of mica off of a rock. Those were the best!

The last is a necklace purchased from a silversmith named Arthur Lujan. I kind of liked it because it was less elaborate than the jewelry with large pieces of turquoise and other stones. I'm not very flashy. Once again it had my happy symbols of the bear and the turtle. There are many different bird symbols but the eagle is widely used for it meaning of courage and wisdom. The rabbit often means luck, but more specifically it can denote cunning and awareness. This was our last purchase from the Taos Pueblo. Arthur was very nice to talk to as we surveyed his work. He sat at a well worn work bench and chatted with us. His Indian name is Little Aspen and we thought of him as we drove back to Santa Fe passing beautiful Aspen trees turning yellow in the autumn air.

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