Emerging Artisan, 2017-18 Cohort (Moccasin Maker/Silversmith/Basket Maker)
So, we arrived at Tsehotsoi Middle School on the morning. I had my baskets and other necessary items in hand, then proceeded on into the school. As the NCAP program assistant and I got into the classroom, we were greeted by a young group of students. They were well mannered and eager to hear about basketry. After a quick introduction from the teacher, I was asked to begin my presentation. As usual, I began by introducing myself the traditional way: stating my clans, my name, where I’m from, and what I’m presenting. I then began to tell the origins stories of Navajo Basketry.
I proceeded on with the history of Navajo Basketry, all the way from the emergence and the recreation of our “Ts’aa’.” As I was going on with the story, I also mentioned the patterns and colors incorporated in baskets and explained the significance. I was amazed with one student, I would ask a question for the whole class and she answered with great accuracy. So, I got to the point where I felt it was necessary to show them how a basket is stitched. At the time, I had a basket which I was working on and I showed them all about the various kinds of stitching. I had no clue how much interest they would have until I got to the that part. All the students looked closely as I stitched the last ring, which was the cedar stitch.
At about this time, I began wrapping up my presentation and I wanted to know what the students have learned. So, I pointed to symbols on the basket and asked them what it represented, to my surprise the class answered correctly. I still had 2 more groups to present to on the same topic. It was just a repeated process for each group. Before departing the school, a group of kids came up to me and handed me and thank you card signed by an entire class. Inside of that card was an envelope, I didn’t think anything of it or bothered to open it until we arrived back in Tsaile. Inside that envelope was 17 dollars, which all students contributed to.
This experience has given me an idea of what to expect in future demonstrations and I strongly feel I’ve executed my objective satisfactorily. The students were awesome as well, they made this presentation memorable for me. I’ll carry on this motivation to every demo, presentation or workshop I lead in the future.
You could learn how to host workshops too! Just join the next NCAP cohort, starting in August 2018. It is a 24 credit hour program over the course of 2 semesters. Worth it? I would say so! Just contact Christine or Sheryl from NCAP for more information!!
And if you are interested in checking out some of my basketry - don't forget to stop by my WH Moccasin & Basket Design facebook page!