2019 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program Master Artists’ Gathering

Iris Teeuwen (photos and text) and Christal Snyder (text and editor)

Top starting from the left: Steve McKay, Marjan Anvari, Mic Crenshaw, Mark Ross, Brian Hart, Hossein Salahi, Antonio Huerta. Bottom Starting from the left: Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, Kelli Palmer, Esther Stutzman, Roberta Kirk, Marge Kalama, Azar Salehi, Maria de Jesus Gonzalez Laguna. Present at the gathering, but not photographed here: Charlotte Roderique, Wanda Johnson, Sandra Teeman

 

Oregon Folklife Network staff had the privilege of spending 2 days at Bend’s High Desert Museum at a professional development gathering with 17 of Oregon’s master traditional artists. Funding from the NEA and the Oregon Arts Commission and a generous partnership with the High Desert Museum provided support to invite our Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program’s (TAAP) master artists (2011-2019) for peer-to-peer mentoring and professional development. On April 27-28, 2019, 17 of 32 master artists came together for networking, panel discussions, performances and demonstrations. As the artists noted, “It was wonderful to have this opportunity to get to know each other.” The gathering provided a “fantastic opportunity to connect – all of it was useful.”

Folk & Traditional Art Displays: The Gathering began with introductions. Several artists shared their pieces with the group.

Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim (center) shows her traditional Palestinian embroidery to Persian tazhib artist, Marjan Anvari (right). Burns Paiute moccasin maker and tradition keeper Charlotte Roderique (left) chats to another artist.

Iranian traditional artist and conservator Marjan Anvari specializes in tazhib, a form of traditional manuscript illumination that dates back to 224 A.D. Because of its ubiquitous presence in Iran’s historical architecture, visual arts, and craftsmanship, tazhib has become a symbol of nationality and culture. Anvari has more than 15 years of experience working on manuscripts, books, and art on paper and is particularly dedicated to using her talents to educate children and adults. This particular piece, Anvari explained, is a runner that she decorated with “a combination of traditional Persian fabric (Termeh) and hand-painted Persian illumination (tazhib).” The motif is called shamseh (sun).

Cornhusk weaver Kelli Palmer (Warm Springs) uses dried cornhusk, hemp, yarn, and buckskin (brain-tanned and smoked deer hide) to make her traditional baskets. Palmer employs a double-twining technique to create traditional woven hats and sally bags or wapus (flat baskets); women wear the bags around their waists and use them to collect roots that they later dry and prepare for eating.

Marjorie Kalama (Warm Springs) makes traditional loomed beadwork. Her method of two-needled tack-down beading requires the simultaneous use of two needles with different sized threads. She adorns dresses, fans, and more with her intricately shaded designs. Kalama has won six awards for her beadwork at tribal member art shows.

H’Klumaiyat-Roberta Kirk (Wasco) is a traditional beadworker and regalia maker. Kirk uses shells and beadwork to embellishes traditional clothing that she designs and makes for ceremonies and pow-wows. Kirk also gathers traditional foods for the Simnasho Longhouse in Warm Springs and has consulted for several museums, including the Smithsonian, on Native American artifacts.

Ragalia makers Marge Kalama (Warm Springs) and Charlotte Roderique (Burns Paiute) admire Kelli Palmer’s traditional baskets.

Buckaroo and traditional saddle maker Steve McKay (right) shows Marge Kalama (left) one of his intricately braided rawhide lariats. McKay learned to tool saddles in the 1980s from fellow traditional artist Len Babb II; other Oregon buckaroos consider him the “go-to” guy for functional, well-made gear.

Antonio Huerta (Mexican charro/cowboy) examines one of Steve McKay’s braided rawhide ropes.

Antonio Huerta performs traditional charrería (cowboy rope work), an skill used to work cattle and in rodeo competitions.

 

Needs Assessment and Professional Development: OFN asked artists to let us know about areas in which they needed help as well as where they had strengths and could help others. Categories included promotions, finding gigs, business and finance, and expanding opportunities.

Tazhib (illumination and calligraphy) artist Marjan Anvari (Persian) is interested in assistance with online promotion.

Roberta Kirk and Maria de Jesus Gonzalez Laguna add their thoughts for a session on Looking Back/Looking Forward or the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program.

Antonio Huerta, who also does outreach for the UO Division of Undergraduate Studies, shares his ideas with fellow artists.

Charlotte Roderique (left), Wanda Johnson (center), and Sandra Teeman (right) are members of the Burns Paiute Tribe and skilled moccasin makers who have taught this traditional art to Burns Paiute children As members of the tribe’s Cultural Advisory Committee, these culture keepers have dedicated their time and effort to sustaining their heritage.

Charlotte Roderique takes her turn to talk with the group.

Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim (standing), a 2018 National Heritage Fellow, learned traditional Palestinian embroidery the stories behind the designs from her mother and grandmother.

Emily West Hartlerode (standing), OFN Associate Director, facilitates a session about exploring resources that OFN and artists can share to support one other.

Michelle Seiler-Godfrey, Program Development Manager at the High Desert Museum, spoke to artists about marketing their arts and expanding their networks.

 

Performances: On Saturday evening everyone gathered at McMenamins Old St. Francis School to socialize and share their traditional arts.

First up to perform was old time musician Mark Ross, whose repertoire of over nearly 500 songs runs the gamut of American roots music, includes ballads, train songs, blues, and western swing.

Traditional Irish singer Brian Ó hAirt explores the Irish experience from the profane to the conventional through music. The continuing significance of Irish ballads and folk songs is evidenced by its popularity at any Irish gathering, whether at homes, in pubs or bars, and for community celebrations.

Master santoor player Hossein Salehi began his musical career at seven when he started learning this ancient traditional art form from his father, Maestro Abbas Salehi. The instrument is a trapezoid-shaped hammered dulcimer with 72 strings strung over small adjustable bridges; this makes it possible for the santoor, Iran’s national instrument, the capacity to produce a range of three octaves. This musical tradition is over 1100 years old.

Azar Salehi is an Persian storyteller who also recites traditional poetry. Salehi has partnered with Portland State University and others in her mission to connect members of the Iranian diaspora to their cultural roots.

MC Michael “Mic” Crenshaw is a poetry slam champion and a respected hip hop artist around the Northwest and in Africa. A former member of the Portland-based group Hungry Mob, Crenshaw currently acts as Political Director for the Hip Hop Congress and the Lead U.S. Organizer for the Afrikan Hip Hop Caravan. Crenshaw recently received one of four inaugural 2019-21 Fields Artist’s Fellowships from the Oregon Community Foundation in partnership with Oregon Humanities.

Traditional Coos and Kalapuya storyteller Esther Stutzman is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz and a member of the Northwest Indian Storyteller’s Association. Stutzman was the winner of the 2017 Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement.

At the conclusion to the TAAP Master Artist Gathering, Mexican Folkloríco dancer and teacher Maria de Jesus Gonzalez Laguna and Antonio Huerta collaborated on a performance that combined charrería with a traditional folklórico dance. Each of Mexico’s states has a set of traditional dances that feature specific expression, technique, dress, and accessories.

Echoing everyone’s sentiments, one of the artists commented, “the performances [and folk art displays were] all beautiful, and we will remember that for a long time.

 

OREGON TRADITIONAL ARTS APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM (TAAP) – APPLICATIONS DUE APRIL 1st, 2019

The Oregon Folklife Network (OFN) is now accepting applications for the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP) for 2019-20. This cornerstone program offers traditional/folk master artists and culture keepers a $4,000 stipend to teach their art form to apprentices from their own communities—cultural, religious, or occupational groups, or tribes. The stipend supports master artists to pass on their knowledge, skills, and expertise to an apprentice of great promise, who is empowered through these lessons to continue carrying on and strengthening Oregon’s diverse cultural traditions.

We are thrilled to announce the 2018-19 TAAP awardees: traditional Irish singer, Brian Hart of Portland; hip-hop emcee, Michael “Mic” Crenshaw of Portland; traditional saddle-maker, Steve McKay of Burns; West African drummer and dancer, Alseny Yansane of Eugene; Zapotec Weaver, Francisco Bautista-Lopez of Sandy; Classical Bharatha Natyam Indian dancer, Jayanthi Raman of Portland; Indian Carnatic musician, Sreevidhya Chandramouli of Portland; and Cayuse/Nez Perce applique beadworker, Marjorie Kalama of Warm Springs.

Other examples of Oregon’s many traditional/folk arts include McKenzie River Drift Boat building, Southeast Asian dance, Norwegian cooking and baking, Northwest logger poetry, Native American basket weaving, Middle Eastern embroidery, Irish or old time fiddling, African-American gospel singing, rawhide braiding, Iranian storytelling, Andean instrument building, and more.

OFN encourages applications from Oregonians engaged in living cultural traditions emerging from their heritage or tribes. This program does not fund historic re-enactments, DIY revival crafts, or those who practice traditions that are not part of their own cultural heritage or community.   CONTACT US: Please contact us if you interested in applying or know someone that you want to recommend. Visit our website, ofn.uoregon.edu, or contact Latham Wood (ofn@uoregon.edu, 541-346-3820) for more information about your eligibility in the program. APPLICATIONS: TAAP guidelines and the TAAP application can be downloaded at the OFN website. Staff members are available to advise applicants about the application process. If you send us your draft application 2 weeks before the deadline, we can provide helpful feedback before your final submission.

DEADLINE: Applications are due at the OFN office by 5 pm, APRIL 1, 2019. Send your complete application package to Oregon Folklife Network, 242 Knight Library, 6204 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6204.

This program is funded in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Oregon Arts Commission.  OFN is administered by the Museum of Natural and Cultural History (MNCH) and is supported in part by grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Oregon Historical Society, the Oregon Cultural Trust, and the NEA. The Oregon Folklife Network works to increase public investment in cultural traditions and those who practice them.

About Oregon Folklife Network

Oregon Folklife Network (OFN) is administered by the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon and is the state’s designated Folk and Traditional Arts Program. OFN is supported in part by grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Cultural Trust, and National Endowment for the Arts. OFN works to increase public investment in cultural traditions and those who practice them.

About the Museum of Natural and Cultural History

The Museum of Natural and Cultural History enhances knowledge of Earth’s environments and cultures, inspiring stewardship of our collective past, present, and future. With collections representing millions of years and all of Earth’s continents, the museum is a center for international research on topics in natural history and anthropology. Museum exhibitions are open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for youths and seniors, and $10 for families (two adults and up to four youths). Reduced admission is available for visitors presenting Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. Admission is free to members and UO ID card holders. For general information call 541-346-3024.

Media Contact:

Kristin Strommer, Museum of Natural and Cultural History, kstromme@uoregon.edu, 541-346-5083

Links:

Oregon Folklife Network: https://ofn.uoregon.edu/

TAAP Program: https://ofn.uoregon.edu/programs/traditional_arts_apprenticeship_program.php

Museum of Natural and Cultural History: http://natural-history.uoregon.edu

Museum on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/oregonnaturalhistory

FY19 Funding: NEA Folk & Traditional Arts Partnership Award to OFN with additional funding from the Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Cultural Trust, the Oregon Community Foundation’s Fred W. Fields Fund, and the Oregon Historical Society

Riki Saltzman, OFN executive director

The Oregon Folklife Network is thrilled to announce that the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded $40,000 to the Oregon Folklife Network for FY19 to support ourTraditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, Culture Fest, and partnerships with Oregon cultural organizations. Additional funding from the Oregon Arts Commission ($35,000), Oregon Cultural Trust ($20,000), and the Oregon Community Foundation’s Fred W. Fields Fund ($20,000) as well as the Oregon Historical Society ($15,000) and ongoing support from the University of Oregon make it possible for us to support 8 TAAP teams, 6 Culture Fests in regions where we’ve been conducting our statewide folklife survey, and a spring 2019 gathering of Oregon’s TAAP masters. This support also helps us to support the ever-growing Culture Keepers Roster, and an ongoing partnership with eastern Oregon’s Four Rivers Cultural Center.

 

We’ll be announcing our FY19 TAAP teams soon along with our call for new applications for FY20!

‘Arts in Parks’ Program Launches in June!

This June, in partnership with the Oregon State Parks and the Oregon Arts Commission, the OFN will launch a new series of free public demonstrations, performances, and workshops featuring five celebrated folk and traditional artists in five different state parks across Oregon.

Master folk and traditional artists Mark Ross, Sherry Steele, Pat Courtney Gold, Wilverna Reece, and Esther Stutzman will present a variety of cultural traditions from old time music and fly tying to Wasco sally bag and Warm Springs basket weaving as well as Kalapuya and Coos storytelling. In addition to diversifying park audiences and providng professional development opportunities for Oregon’s tradition bearers, the Arts in Parks program will also strengthen and grow Oregon’s cultural infrastructure and create models for future Arts in Parks collaborations like residencies and summer camps. OFN graduate intern, Karen Agocs, is coordinating the program for its pilot year; she has been assisted by Adrian Engstrom von Alten, OFN undergraduate intern.

OFN Open House and Artist Panel Discussion: Thursday April 18

The OFN staff invites you to a panel discussion with OFN traditional arts masters and an Open House on Thursday, April 18 to celebrate Oregon’s cultural heritage and our new office space!

OFN Artist Panel Discussion:
Collaboration Center
Room 121 Knight Library
2:30pm – 3:30pm

OFN Open House:
Oregon Folklife Network
Room 242 Knight Library
4:00pm – 6:00pm

Come snack, socialize, and enjoy performances by three of Oregon’s Traditional Arts masters:

Esther Stutzman (Kalapuya/Coos): Blessing and Kalapuya traditional story;
Daniela Mahoney: Slovak/Ukrainian egg decorating demonstration and talk; and
Mark Ross: Traditional old time/folk music string performance.

Preceding the Open House, we offer an Artist Panel Discussion with our master artists as an added treat for folk arts enthusiasts. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to engage with three of Oregon’s celebrated tradition bearers.

Traditional Artist Spotlight: Mildred Quaempts

Piecework with denatalium shell can elaborately decorate a dress, hair pieces, earrings, or hats. Mildred most often creates hairpieces and wedding veils for brides. She enjoys making the veils because they each one is unique. She stays as traditional as possible when she make the veils. Brides are not given the veils until the day before or day of the marriage.

Mildred first observed dentalium work from her grandmother, Annie Joe (better known as “Tquannanmy”), while she was applying the shells on medallions and dresses. She used to travel with her grandmother to Indian wedding trades and saw other young girls wearing hairpieces made from dentalium.

Mildred Quaempts (Yakama/Cuyuse) was born and raised on the Umatilla Indian Reservation where she has resided all of her life.

Traditional Artist Spotlight: Michael Johnson

Umatilla Cornhusk False Embroidery

Sanna Parikka, OFN Intern

Artist Michael Johnson and his Apprentice Melinda Broncheau from the Confererated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation practice traditional cornhusk twining, creating unique cornhusk hats, baskets, and bags. Johnson’s art combines traditional twining techniques and designs with modern materials, including wool-based yarns. He learned this traditional art form from various elders who all have inspired him to pass the tradition on. The craft is called “false embroidery” due to the special technique of tying the husk ends.

For his apprenticeship, Johnson taught the intricate method of twining a traditional cornhusk hat. The creation of the hat included numerous steps from the design and twining of the base and the bear pattern to the finishing touches of decorative pearls and feathers, inside lining, and buck skin edging. The twining is the most tedious part of the process. It can take up to one hour for an experienced cornhusk twiner to finish just one row of a larger piece – working two to three hours per day, it took Melinda Broncheau nearly 70 days to complete the hat.

Cornhusk hats are often used in ceremonial namings, food gatherings, and traditional dancing. This particular hat will be a gift to Melinda Broncheau’s daughter.