Artist Statement

I’m a Native American artist working with encaustic. My other love is photography. Most of the colored wax that I work with I make myself. I also incorporate sandpainting sand, beads and horse hairs into my work. These are materials that are used in ceremonies and other traditional events.

I work with both a heat gun and a blowtorch depending on the effect that I’m looking for. I’ve done a few workshops in Santa Fe and another in Tuscon with the International Encaustic Artists Association. I’m showing my work at The Encaustic Art Institute in Santa Fe and Weyrich Gallery in Albuquerque.

The idea to include bundles in my work came during a moment I had while teaching a workshop on eco-printing at fellow artist Harriette Tsosie’s studio in Albuquerque. We were wrapping silk, plant material and rusty bits in tight bundles to extract the pigment out of the items and imprint them onto the silk. This is done by steaming the tightly wrapped bundles. After steaming a batch we set them on a big white canvas so they could cool down before we unwrapped them. When the bundles were cooling on the canvas I notice how striking the composition looked. They were like a newborn bundled up in a blanket, a gift waiting to be unwrapped, a medicine bag and a secret under protection and never to be revealed. It was a powerful moment of inspiration that I’ll never forget.

A year or so later a friend told me about an old story between the Navajos and the Hopi that involved two sacred bundles. The Navajos had given two sacred bundles to the Hopi in exchange for helping in obtaining freedom from being imprisoned at Fort Sumner. According to the story the two bundles are still around and kept in two Hopi family homes.

The use of the bundles have also opened more connections in my life which in turn have further influenced my work. It keeps evolving into something bigger that it reminds me how much power art can have. As part of the ritual I bless each piece that it protects its new home.