A posting by Carlon Ami, NCAP Intern
I'm not sure anyone believes me when I tell them that I learned to drive a tractor before learning to drive a vehicle. Either way, this is fact. Also important to this fact is that I learned very early in my tractor use that things break. Now that equipment is not cheap, and you have to learn how to either hide what you break (like my uncles do) or get it fixed. Thankfully, my older brother is a pretty awesome welder.
I don't say this just because he's my brother or because he has saved my butt more times than I can remember but because he taught me a critical lesson once. I was stressed because I somehow bent the support beam of the blade that keeps it perpendicular to the surface of the ground. There was no way that thing could be fixed, I almost just bought a new one. He had me bring it to him, he checked it out, then got to work.
Over the course of a couple hours we laughed, sweated, cursed, and learned. His advice: "Just take it apart and put it back together." Since welding is very closely related to soldering I apply that same concept to jewelry fabrication. How do I make this fit? Is this going to be strong enough? Can I do this? The answer: of course you can.
Don't let convention limit you. If you can reasonably imagine it, you might be able to build it. If it doesn't work out, you can always melt it down later for casting material.
A posting by Christine M. Ami, Grant Manager
Call me sentimental but I want to make an old school mixtape – you know … where you wait by the radio with a blank cassette tape loaded, hoping that the radio DJ plays your favorite songs and praying that your finger reflexes can hit the record button before too much of the song’s intro is cut off. On my mixtape I want Adele’s “Send My Love”, Jennie Rivera’s “La Chacalosa”, Justin Timerlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, and Diisigner’s “Panda” to play, so that I may make a gift, a mixtape, for our 2016 Emerging Artisans who just completed their Navajo Cultural Arts Certificate Program. Each song has a unique reference to one of these Emerging Artisans and together - I think this mixtape might just serve as the NCAP soundtrack for this year!
But first, let’s rewind to December 2015…..
The Center for Diné Studies (CDS) had the framework for a potentially amazing Navajo Cultural Arts Certificate Program – the curriculum was set, syllabi were drafted, instructors had been selected, and I had recently stepped up as the NCAP grant manager.
And then in January 2016 this happened…..
Ilene Naegle walked into my office
Delia Wauneka picked up an advertisement
Dawayne Bahe called me on my cell phone
Carlon Ami sat down at the registration table
These four students stepped up to test this budding program’s mission statement:
“To enhance and revitalize traditional Navajo cultural arts practices while providing opportunities for Navajo cultural arts knowledge holders and master artisans to share their unique skills in a multigenerational setting.”
In the end – the students’ exit surveys speak for themselves.......
“This has been the most developmental period during my career as a silversmith. I am extremely grateful for this program and the opportunities/knowledge it has provided me. Thank You, a resounding thank you to the NCAP!”
"I am so glad and happy I took the certificate program. I am artistically and culturally more award of Native American and Navajo cultural arts."
"My fellow cohort group were the best group to have experience the time with throughout each semester. We have grown close and I feel like I have related to them as family now."
"This program was so great and I am happy to be part of it. I have big hop that this program will excel with every cohort."
A posting by Illene Naegle, Emerging Aritst
My time with Brook Hemenway at her weaving studio in Taos, New Mexico was phenomenal and exciting. Brook has been teaching weaving at various studios in New Mexico. We are both experienced weavers, but with slight differences in technique. We had fun sharing our own ways of rug weaving. No matter what tools are used we know what we are doing on our own type of loom.
My type of weaving experience is, of course, Navajo style weaving and Brook's weaving experience is on a RIo Grande loom or a walking loom. Brook and I share the same concepts of weaving essentially beginning with winding the warp and then getting it on the loom. The Navajo loom is setup in an upright position while Brook's is setup on a floor loom. I use a rope for tightening the warp tension, she uses a ratchet wheel to tighten the warp. Also the shed sticks for separating the warp and the heddles for spacing both have similar purposes. Our weaving method are the same and the outcome is always a beautiful rug. The one distinctive difference we have is at the completion of our woven piece. Brook cuts off the warp, while my warping is used in its entirety in our Navajo style rug. Navajo weaving is a continuous warp from one end to the other end and therefore, there is no cutting of the warp.
i am open to other weavings from different locations and cultures, this is why I appreciate all textile crafts. Although there are many ways to weave, I an connected to my Navajo style of weaving and enjoy teaching other about Navajo textile art.