New Results, Folk & Traditional Arts Survey in Southern Oregon

LuAnne Kozma, project fieldworker

Lake and Klamath Counties

The Oregon Folklife Network’s Southern Oregon Folklife Survey got off to a start this past November in Klamath and Lake counties. Arriving in Portland by train from the Midwest, I drove south, crossing the snowy Cascade Mountains to Klamath Falls to begin meeting with people and documenting folk and traditional artists and their celebrations, crafts, occupations, and music. I immediately fell in with the Klamath Country Square and Round Dance club and joined Cece and Sarge Glidewell’s round dance lessons at a local church. Later in the week I returned for a Thursday night square dance where caller Larry Sprout sang out dance calls to popular songs.

Food traditions are alive and well in southern Oregon and a great way to find out more about various cultural groups. Early one morning that same week, I arrived at Laila Griffith’s house to observe the Sons of Norway women’s group making lefse, a traditional Norwegian potato flatbread. Each year, the group gathers to make hundreds of lefse for their annual holiday sale. A few days before, team of University of Oregon graduate students and OFN executive director, Riki Saltzman, joined me at Laila’s for a lefse tasting and cookie baking session, one of several the field experiences we shared [see article below for more on that].

Laila Griffith makes krumkake, one of many kinds of traditional Norwegian Christmas cookies, in her Klamath Falls home.
I was also able to meet Linda Romero, who makes traditional Mexican pan dulce at her La Perla Bakery. Linda shared her knowledge about cake making and pan dulce or sweet breads.

In Lake county, I stopped in at Lakeview Locker to hear about the owners’ weekly barbeques and sausage-making. The annual Methodist Church’s Harvest Dinner provided me with the opportunity to taste more local food as well as to meet folks and get leads for future interviews.

Natural Resources and Leisure Traditions
Southern Oregon is blessed with stunning scenery, fish, and game. Klamath Falls’ natural resources and a vibrant hunting and fishing culture are what drew Mark Kelley and John Kruger to the area. Both shared their wisdom and skill at making tied flies for fly fishing.

Occupational Folklore
Ranching traditions range from foodways to occupational lore. Ranch hand Larry Morgan of Lakeview showed me his exquisite leather braiding skills. Bonanza’s saddle maker, Dave Clowes, talked about the occupational arts of leatherwork and the tools of his trade. Lakeview’s hat artist, Lisa Ackerman, explained how to shape a western hat to fit the wearer; her special community niche is to provide hats and hat shaping services at roundups and other events.

Bootmaker and shoe repairer Mike Purves, who learned shoe making from his father and now teaches the trade to his son and grandchildren, shared his “tricks of the trade” at his Klamath Falls shop.

Another occupational group with their own folk traditions are fire fighters. And crew members of the Klamath Falls fire department were generous in sharing their humor, jokes, and stories—all part of how they cope with on-the-job danger, excitement, and boredom. Fire fighters, like police and soldiers, use such verbal arts to entertain each other during downtime and to pass on skills and knowledge to new workmates.

Quilting traditions are strong here. I met and interviewed a tightknit group of quilting “sisters” in Chiloquin—who call themselves the Chiloquilters—and three people who have carved out occupations in the quilting world—Chiloquin long arm quilter Judi Doud and Merrill’s Tater Patch quilt shop owners Robin King and Diane McKoen.

Native Traditions
At the end of the trip I observed the Klamath Tribes’ Annual Veteran’s Day Pow Wow, heard great drum groups, saw wonderful dancers, and talked to local regalia and beadwork makers.

I will return to Klamath and Lake counties this spring to document more folk & traditional artists. Please contact  Riki Saltzman ( 541-346-3820 or if you have recommendations for traditions, groups, or individual folk & traditional artists to be documented in Klamath and Lake counties.

OFN’s Southern Oregon Folklife Survey is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk & Traditional Arts program.

Folklore Fieldwork in Klamath County

Em Knott and Julie Meyer, Folklore graduate students

As we drove back over the snowy Cascade Mountain pass that connects Eugene to Southern Oregon, I thought back over the last 24 hours. It had been our—Julie Meyer’s and Em Knott’s—first graduate school fieldwork experience. Under the guidance of OFN Director Riki Saltzman and folklorist LuAnne Kozma, we were able to shadow the beginnings of the OFN project to explore the folklore alive in Southern Oregon.

We observed five interviews in twenty-four hours, although there were two that made the strongest impression. Those were with long-arm quilter Judy Doud (Chiloquin), who invited us back to her log-cabin to view the fourteen-foot machine housed in her basement, and Laila Dahl Griffith, an active participant in the Klamath Sons of Norway. Laila, who makes a huge range of traditional Norwegian Christmas cookies, let us interview and photograph her while she showed us how to make krumkake, thin waffle cookies baked on a specially designed iron. She also made question to us, the graduate students, as to whether we were eating enough while we were at school.

We also had the opportunity to witness a cold-call: between the quilter and the baker, we stopped at a local, family-owned boot shop, walked in, and started making inquiries into the how and the why this man made boots. The next day, we hung out in the Lakeside Landing Café, where we spent a couple of hours with fly-tier John Kruger. Knowing nothing about fly fishing, we looked on in amazement as John talked to us about fly fishing, tied flies, and showed us just some of his vast collection. The various colors and textures were stunning, and the flies themselves were miniature works of art.

Our last stop involved a networking lunch. As we ate our Thai food, we watched as Riki and LuAnne begin to build new relationships within the community, laying down the groundwork to continue the project. That’s when we realized that folklorists are completely at the mercy of people. If our interviewees had not been willing to invite four strangers into their home, we’d be in trouble. We also learned the importance of sociability in fieldwork. We realized how critical it is to build rapport in the span of just a few minutes; this can easily make or break an interview.

Learning such lessons early on made this first foray into folklore fieldwork a success.

Em and Julie are first-year graduate students in the University of Oregon’s Folklore Program

The 2014 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP)

OFN is now accepting applications for our Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP) through March 3, 2014. Traditional artists of exceptional merit qualify for $3,000 grants, which enable them to pass their expertise on to someone of great promise in their cultural community. The master – or mentoring – artist and his or her apprentice apply together as a team and must demonstrate how traditional their art form is, how significant it is to the community they share, how strong their ties are to that cultural community, and the excellence of the quality of their work based on work samples, like images, videos, support letters, and press.

DEADLINE: Applications must be received in our office by 5 pm, MARCH 3, 2014—NO EXCEPTIONS. Please download a fillable application form at the OFN Website. OFN staff are available to advise applicants and even help fill out applications. Please contact us first if you think you might want to apply. And visit our website, or contact Bruno Seraphin (, 541-346-3820) for more information about the program and previous TAAP master artists.

OFN’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk & Traditional Arts program.

Paiute Stories and Legends

Now all my singing Dreams are gone,
But none knows where they have fled
Nor by what trails they have left me.
Return, O Dreams of my heart,
And sing in the Summer twilight,
By the creek and the almond thicket
And the field that is bordered with lupins!

-Excerpt from Paiute Medicine Song

The Paiute stories and legends handed down through the generations tell of their early ancestors living in the high desert region of present-day Harney and Malheur counties for thousands of years. The Burns Paiute Reservation is located north of Burns, the county seat of Harney County. There, the tribe continues to foster its cherished traditions, which include narrative (the telling of legends), dance, and drumming, among other tribal lifeways.

In Burns, the county seat, Manger’s research led him to Native silversmith Dean Adams (Jemez Pueblo and Northern Paiute). Dean learned the trade from his father, Delmar Adams, an award-winning silversmith. Adams (Sr.) traveled throughout the Western United States attending shows, often accompanied by Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the former U.S. Senator from Colorado, a renowned jewelry maker in his own right.
Apart from his work in silver jewelry making, Adams and his wife, Elise (Northern Ute), are now learning the painstaking art of juniper basket making from Adams’ grandmother, Rena Beers. “Each basket is made from one piece of bark,” Adams said. “You have to peel the bark off by hand, which takes about four to five hours.” The bark, harvested at the wettest time of the year, is then shaved and formed into a basket.

First Results, Southern Oregon Folk & Traditional Arts Survey

We are so excited to be able to report on what contract folklorist Douglas Manger has discovered so far about folk and traditional artists in southeastern Oregon. During the spring of 2014, Manger will be out and about in Harney and Malheur counties to document more occupational traditions (fishing, fly tying, hunting, farming, ranching, saddle making, taxidermy), as well as traditional crafts (quilting, basket making, wood and chainsaw carving), music, dance, foodways, community celebrations and more.

Our next newsletter will include an update from LuAnne Kozma, our other contract folklorist, who is doing fieldwork in Klamath and Lake counties.

Traditional Artist Spotlight: Kelly and Eraina Palmer

Kelli and Eraina Palmer are enrolled members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Kelli began to learn basket weaving from her mother Eraina about 12 years ago. Kelli started with Wapus sally bags, a traditional style for root gathering and food storage. She later moved to cornhusk basketry with false embroidery.

The term “false embroidery” refers to a decorative surface treatment in basketry design. This technique is used to decorate twined baskets in which an additional colored weft element is incorporated into the twining. These “embroidered” designs are only visible on the surface of the object.

Like most traditional artists, Eraina and Kelli mix older traditions with innovative techniques and materials in their basketry, which are now used for decorative purposes as well as functional. They teach anyone who wants to learn these skills, especially to Native American women who have children and will pass their knowledge to future generations.

Kelli Palmer also participated in the 2012-13 Traditional Artist Apprenticehip Program as a master artist, one who passes his or her traditional skills and knowledge along to one or more apprentices.

An exhibit of the Palmers’ work, along with that of Kelli’s apprentice, Joy Ramirez, is on display at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History (MNCH) in Eugene. The show is up until May 2014.

If you are interested in the Traditional Artists Apprenticeship Program, or know of someone who is, please contact
Emily Afanador at 541-346-3820
or email the OFN at:

OFN at the American Folklore Society 2013 Annual Meeting

by Riki Saltzman

I had the privilege of representing OFN at the American Folklore Society annual meeting this year. My primary task was to speak about how OFN is involved with teaching at the University of Oregon. My colleagues also spoke about their teaching roles and responsibilities.

The main takeaway from this very lively session (lots of audience members, including our own John Fenn) was that public folklore programs based at universities are engaged in a wide range of teaching—from outright classes (Indiana Folklore at IU) to interns (Kentucky Folklife Program, OFN, Traditional Arts Indiana, Missouri Folklife Program) and graduate assistants (KFP, MFP, OFN). We at OFN also have the opportunity to participate as practicum hosts for AAD students (Karen Agocs, MA ‘13/Arts in the Parks), while students at IU create one-panel exhibits that go on to be part of TAI’s touring exhibit program.

Teaching also means involving students in the nuts and bolts of what we at public folklore programs do—from learning about advocacy by writing letters to legislators (MFP), to planning and implementing the Indiana Governor’s Arts Awards (TAI), and working with local festivals to learn about stage management, running sound, and facilitating narrative stage discussions (KFP). Other venues that provide opportunities for students include working with park rangers, local libraries, and state fairs for such diverse projects as fiddle contests, century farm and ranch awards, or documenting and exhibiting local baskets and basket makers.

As always, AFS provides a smorgasbord of new ideas—more on those as they find their way into OFN’s future projects!

Native American Heritage Month Events

Hallie Ford Art Museum of Art

In conjunction with the Native American Heritage Month in November, the Hallie Ford Museum of Art is pleased to highlight newly commissioned artworks and collaborative opportunities as well as its continuing commitment to showcase, preserve, and honor the works, traditions, and culture of the Native American community through the museum’s permanent collection and gallery installations.

Activities during the month will include the opening of the “Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts Biennial,” the dedication of a newly commissioned work by Joe Feddersen as well as a demonstration by the artist, the opportunity to donate a blanket to Marie Watt’s sculpture project, and a new online archive of the museum’s Native American basket collection.

Froelick Gallery
November 5 – December 14, 2013

“Bird Wings” by Rick Bartow

Internationally recognized for his prolific output in numerous media, this new body of work by Rick Bartow consists of several small acrylic and gouache paintings alongside large pastel drawings. His subjects are coyotes, crows, kestrels and hawks as well as human forms- these figures seem to be knowing guides or searchers dazzled by strange dreams and visitations from spirits. Exacting rendering and sparse outline meet in fields of bold color; eyes, teeth, wings, faces and cryptic symbols emerge from clouds of active marks in these masterful and haunting compositions.

Notable Upcoming Exhibits:

The Art Gym
January 13 – February 12, 2014

“I.M.N.D.N – Native Art for the 21st Century”

Museum of Contemporary Craft
January 31 – April 19, 2014

“This is Not a Silent Movie – Four Contemporary Alaska Native Artists”

A Few Words For Chris D’Arcy, Executive Director, Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Cultural Trust

After 19 years of leadership, Chris D’Arcy recently announced her departure from the Oregon Arts Commission and the Cultural Trust. She is, in her words, “moving on to new and different things.”

For those unaware of Chris’s contributions to Arts and Culture in Oregon, some highlights include “the Arts Commission’s Arts Build Communities program, which shined a light on the incredible grassroots cultural activity that takes place in every corner of Oregon. That program paved the way for Oregon’s cultural, business and community leaders to dream about new funding for culture – and the Cultural Task Force, . . . [which led to the] Oregon Cultural Trust – considered one of the most productive outcomes of the 1999 and 2001 legislative sessions. The Trust is now a national model of innovation, collaboration and engagement around culture.”

Chris D’arcy’s contributions to Oregon’s arts, culture, tourism, and economic development have been incalculable, and her regional and national impact have been immense. Her strong, creative and imaginative leadership has given her capable and talented staff the space in which to flourish and thrive.

All of us at OFN wish Chris the very best in her next steps.