My experience as artist-in-residence at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona has been exceptional. There have been moments where I wished I had requested a different month--one which did not include an election which seems to have shaken this country to the core. But perhaps being in this amazing place while dealing with my feelings about the direction of this country and the world is a good thing after all. The many hours a day to hike, sketch, and wander without a goal is healing. My challenge as this residency comes to an end is to carry the spirit of those practices into my daily work.
You can read my past posts about this experience here:
Below are some of my adventures as described by my daily tapestry weaving. Each of the tapestries is 2 x 2 inches. Most are woven at 12 epi on cotton warp. A few are 8 epi on linen. All are woven on Hokett looms.
The erosion lines in the formations in the painted desert are astounding. Day #12 was inspired by them.
There are amazing patterns in the rocks. The layers are everywhere and always different. One formation has a lot of layers that look like wedge weave to me. So I pulled out some colors in similar hues and wove this little guy which might be my favorite thus far. Day #13.
Day #14. Petrified Forest NP has some of the best night skies in the country. I was able to watch the supermoon and wove this piece about it a few days later. While sitting out at Kachina Point, I was thinking about how I was just waiting for the world to turn. The sun was setting while the moon was rising.
Day #15. I have spent several wonderful days hunting petroglyphs. On one particularly good day, I found a site which a ranger told me about. Ask a ranger where to look for something specific and you will probably get a scribble drawn on a piece of scrap paper which would certainly be worthless if you weren't listening intently to the verbal instructions. The first site was one which isn't often shown to the public, the second was a place they will send you, Martha's Butte. The official park literature states that no one knows where the name came from, but the ranger confirmed my suspicions that the original name of the landform was Martha's Boob. There have been some horny cowboys in these parts, but you can't blame them for the name once you see the place.
This little tapestry came from one of the petroglyphs at the base of the butte. I thought the glyph looked very much like weaving forms present-day indigenous people use.
Day #16. I found only 5 potsherds the first two weeks I was at the park. Then I found a couple archaeological sites that are littered with them. What a marvelous time I've had searching for them and examining the patterns.
Day #17. The petrified wood over the length of the park varies in composition depending on the minerals in it. In the northern part of the park, the petrified wood is called the "Black Forest" and indeed, the wood is very dark. I spent a long time this afternoon looking at the various pieces of wood on the way to an archaeological site and marveling at the subtle color differences and these incredible lines.
Day #18. This day I went hiking with another artist-in-residence who is overlapping me and her husband. We went back to a site I had visited before to find more petroglyphs. After we'd spent a long time climbing over boulders looking for glyphs, Shaun mentioned that he'd like to climb up to the top of the mesa to get a view. We did and sat down for a little lunch. We started looking around a bit and noticed a cairn and some rebar posts which are used by scientists to mark GPS locations. A few seconds later we realized we were sitting on the edge of a major archeological site that was littered with potsherds and flakes as well as an unexcavated dwelling. I took many photos of the sherds and flakes and wove this little tapestry that night which is a combination of two different patterns seen on the sherds.
Day #19. Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Sunshine and gorgeous, I spent time sketching the casita before taking a wander and heading out to visit my parents in my nearby hometown, Gallup, N.M. This image was taken a few days earlier when I was hiking high on a mesa at sunset. It isn't easy to take a photo of your own shadow with your arms raised while holding a camera!