Sunday, April 27, 2008

March 27, 2008 - Last day at the Willott

The last day in the J. Willott. A beautiful but very hot Sunday. I did a little online research last night into Hidatsa clothing for woman. Man it's hard to find anything. You do a search for George Catlin paintings of Hidatsa woman and you come up with squat.
I did find a very small photo of a Hidatsa woman photographed by Curtis. It, unfortunately, was taken in the early part of the 20th century. So I've done enough research to know something about the style of clothing on the plains. Styles were just changing in 1805. Especially in woman's' dresses.
I removed the bead work I did last night and changed the style of the yoke of the dress. There was a shoulder layer of skin that was sewn onto the lower part of the dresses upper part. Rabbit fur peaked out of the edge of this upper part of the yoke. In the center of her chest area of the dress would be a doe tail, from a deer.
Below I'm scooping clay that has been directly under the light for a few minutes. This almost melts the clay. I then apply this onto the edge of the upper yoke, and squish and pull the clay, till it kind of looks like fur. You have to be gentle when you do this and fast.

Now Using a lighter, I melt the sharp points, created by the action I took with the very soft clay in the last procedure.

I roll out a piece of flat clay, and lay it just above the clay fur. This makes it look like the fur is coming out from under the skin seam overlap. With my thumb I blend the upper part of the new clay, then with a serrated wire tool I smooth and texture the clay.

Finlay I add the robe or blanket over her shoulders. The angle of the robe is important to the flow of the clay. I try to angle the robe edges to correspond with the design and position of the head of Sacagawea.

By this time I've come to the conclusion that adding pupils to the eyes would add to the emotion I'm going for. So here, with a wire tool I dig out a hole in the eye for the pupal. You might find that when you do something like this, you'll have to do it a few times to get it right. You just fill in the hole and smooth the eye again, and dig out the pupal again. If you have patience, and a good "eye", you'll do fine.

My final effort today is to add some bead ear rings and a beaded head piece with shell where the piece is tied into the hair. The reason I've added these decorations is because, Sacagawea's husband or forced companion, was a trader. He traded trinkets and such with the Indians of the plains. Sacagawea would have made a perfect Mannequin for clothing and beads and trinkets. I'm sure, even though there is no record of it, that Toussaint Charboneau was talking trade with the tribes they came across. I'm just assuming this. I'm probably wrong. I mean, Lewis and Clark might have told him not to do any trading or talking trade, because it could, cause tension, if talk of trade got heated. Who knows. Maybe a scholar would comment on this if they read this. Artist's are always trying to guess what a person would look like and how they would have dressed. This is just one example below.

Well that's it for my show in Palm Desert. Josh P. and Josh O., owners of this fine and very successful gallery were great hosts and their enthusiasm, when it came to talking about my work, helped to sell bronzes.