NEA National Fellowship Awardees on You Tube

Here’s the link to watch the nine 2016 NEA Fellowship Awardees perform/present their work on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDVckQQ-LtM

It’s about 2 hours long.  With my entourage, Darlene See, Donna Beaver, Irene Lampe and I are on at about 1:40 in the link (though I have watched the entire video clip)!

Weaving in the Midst of Movement

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A birthday gift weaving loom from her daughter Lily, Clarissa weaves a Chilkat/Ravenstail neck “scarf” while fishing with friends; a beautiful partly sunny day on the east side of Shelter Island, Juneau, Alaska — June 2016

No matter what size my weaving loom, be it 7ft. wide, 4ft. wide, 3ft, 2 ft. or 1ft., all my looms are portable.  They have to be.  I am always on the move.

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The gallery and the fishing pole are proof, Clarissa is weaving while friends are fishing…a glorious place to weave as long as we keep the fish separate from the weaving!!!

For the past two years, I have been weaving four ensembles for my very first, and most likely my last, exhibit of weavings.  I’ve had financial support from several funding organizations that have helped pay nearly all of my personal and business expenses; this support has been a luxury.

The following are the organizations that have provided me grants to do this exhibit:

*  2015 Native Arts and Culture Foundation Fellowship Grant, Vancouver, Washington State

*  2015 1st People’s Fund Creative Capital Grant, Rapid City, South Dakota

*  2016 Tulsa Artist Residency, Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Clarissa’s weaving in the hotel room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida — September 2016

I have been traveling a lot this year; all of it has been business-related where I squeeze in family visits when I can.  Portable weaving looms and financial support have enabled me to continue doing my other business-related work such as doing a presentation of my work during the NACF Board Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood, Florida, and the following week to attend the annual Las Vegas Souvenir and Gift Show.

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With a refreshing treat of a small bowl of cherries, Clarissa gives herself a foot bath while weaving…

I’m teaching myself how to “relax” in the midst of movement, creativity, business and sometimes chaos.  Listen up weavers; if I can do it, so can you!

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One of three completed woven strips to be a part of an ensemble entitled “Girl Gaucho” — the ensemble is part of an exhibit “Layers of Love” opening at the Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver, B.C. Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

I am living proof that we Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers can get our work done in the midst of movement!

 

Watch Clarissa’s NEA’s Award Performance Livestream

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Clarissa models her latest Chilkat robe “Egyptian Thunderbird” at Eagle River Beach in Juneau, Alaska (Hmmm…Clarissa’s hair is the same color as the beaver fur trim and don’t you  just love her “Raven” ears!) — photo by NEA photographer, Tom Pich

Click on this link to see your open invitation to the general public for the NEA Heritage Fellowship concert:  2016-heritage-ceremony-invitation   

As part of the award ceremonies during the week of September 25-30, 2016, the NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert will be on Friday, September 30, 2016.  For those who are not in Washington, D.C. area, the event will be streamed live at arts.gov.   If you are in Washington, D.C. area, the Friday night presentations/concert is wide open to the public. Feel free to pass this information along to your family and friends who aren’t able to be in DC that day.

Each of the 9 awardees will be doing an 8-minute presentation of their work.  I will be doing a brief presentation on preparing the cedar bark and wool, then spinning, then weaving.  Then the last 4 or 5 minutes, Irene Jean Lampe, Donna Beaver Pizzarelli and Darlene See will be joining me on stage to present some of my latest robes (and of course, the Weavers Across the Waters robe will be one of those robes, worn by Donna), along with an historical robe care-taken by my sister Irene.  To provide the audience (far and wide) an idea of how the robes are used, the four of us will be singing/dancing a song composed and written many, many years ago by our T’akDeinTaan clan member Kloon’eesh (John K. Smith).

Update: “Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat Ravenstail Robe

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Grand-daughters Simone and Amelie Haas always made a daily check-up on the status of the hanging slip knots; it’s good to allow the little people to come visit and “play” with the yarns (under supervision of course). Clarissa’s Chilkat weaving teacher and mentor, Jennie Thlunaut had told Clarissa the story about how when she was 5 years old, she would “play” with her mother’s warp and weft as it hung on the loom. Whatever children play with and enjoy when they are young is most likely what they will do for a living when they are adults

A month ago, I finally began weaving the borders that will frame the “Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat/Ravenstail robe.  I did not wait for all the 5×5 squares to arrive, though I had received more than half of the 54 committed donations then.  The following is a photo essay of the process:

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Using the traditional warp stick (fashioned after Jennie Thlunaut’s), Clarissa measures out the length of the strands for the side borders

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Clarissa uses the length of a book that measures (close to the) exact length she needs for the top border of the robe

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Inspired by Teahonna James’ 5×5, here is the first color combo of the top border of the “Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat and Ravenstail ceremonial robe

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The top border of the ‘Weavers Across the Waters’ Chilkat/Ravenstail robe

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The beginning of the yellow border (Traditionally, a black border was woven and the a yellow border; Clarissa took the liberty of “jazzing up” the black and yellow borders. Notice there are no horizontal braids between the yellow and black borders. Clarissa plans on replacing the horizontal braids with a row of white Mother-of-Pearl buttons instead

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Prepared slip knotted strands hang from the lightly-stablizing cross bar; instead of using your good weaving hours to make slip knots, it’s always best to prepare the strands while visiting with folks, or while taking a bath, and choose a discreet seat when you make slip knots at a funeral

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Notice the laptop close at hand, along with the basket of yarns and of course when you need to remind yourself of certain tasks, or you have an idea of another project or you just remembered your grocery list, keep your notebooks (daily planner, sketch book, pocket notebook, etc.) at hand at all times near your weaving loom

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Three generations of weavers begin weaving the side borders of the “Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat and Ravenstail robe: Ursala demonstrates her innovative fingering techniques to her daughter, Amelie and her mother, Clarissa.

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The borders of the “Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat and Ravenstail robe; the small white diamonds were a suggestion by my daughter, weaver Lily Hope

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Clarissa and Ursala weave the side borders of the “Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat/Ravenstail robe

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Teahonna James weaves the last couple of inches of the side borders

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The side borders required hours of commitment. Clarissa measured her length of time to the inch; it takes her 1 hour to weave 1 inch. This translates to an estimate of 1-1/2” hours per inch for Ursala and/or Teahonna to achieve. In the foreground are all the squares being sewn together by Clarissa

For the initial project launch, invite, purpose, design specs and who are the ‘weavers across the waters’ who have volunteered to be a part of this project, please visit previous blog posts on my website, at:

 Click here for Recent update before this current blog post

Click here for the launch, invite, design specs 

 

 

Learning to Appreciate City Life Through Live Music

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Tulsa’s 3rd Annual Hop Jam (in the Brady Arts District downtown) Festival Map — Sunday, May 21, 2016

A block up the street from my north-facing window is a freeway with a billboard promoting all the art and music support in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  (Believe it or not, there are 40 art organizations in Tulsa with only a population of 200k.)  In large letters the billboard reads something like “A pART town” etc. etc… After living downtown in the Brady Arts District for the past five months, where there’s art throughout and live music 6 days/ week, I truly feel a “y” ought to be added with down right acknowledgement and no shame, so it reads like this:  “A pARTy town!”  How does a country-girl artist like myself who does quiet, meditative art, survive living smack dab in the middle of a pARTying city!?  Well, there’s the old saying that in my case is past tense:  it’s way bigger than me to beat, so I joined ‘em!   I am not interested in beer, or alcohol for that matter; but the music?  Well, there’s nothing like really good, live, danceable music!  The Hop Jam provided just that!

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Early morning volunteers haul big coolers to the designated tents of beer vendors on Main Street of Tulsa’s 3rd Annual Hops Jam

Yesterday was Sunday.  I woke up to the sounds of semi-trucks being unloaded; just after the crack of dawn at 6:30, volunteers began setting up for Tulsa’s 3rd annual Hop Jam.  Three blocks down Main Street and a block over have been blocked off for this big street party.  I’m glad I had one day’s notice to prepare my work day for a distracting day of beer vendors from all over the country and beyond, with live music blasting through layers of cement like only sound can do.  There’s no way I can Chilkat weave on days like yesterday.  So I set up my printing/shrinkwrapping area and got down on it!  I have learned to adapt to the consistent noise of city living.  Here’s how:

In downtown Tulsa, Sunday is one of two days that is fairly quiet; I’ll let you guess the other.  This past week, the outdoor stage venue across the street hosted 3 full nights of 3 different bands per night; and they were pretty dang good in comparison to what I’ve heard the past 5 months!  They play until 1:30am, sometimes 2am.  How have I adapted my work/sleep schedule?  I have learned that no matter how hard I try to sleep in, I am awake by 6, no later than 7am.  I work from 8am to about midnight, with a cat nap in mid-afternoon, after which I am good to go for another 6 to 9 hours.  With all the active pARTy-ers outside hanging to the grooving bands, the only way I can go to sleep is to work, work, work late until I can no longer think, and I drop exhausted with the blasting music finally drifting off into my subconscious dream time where I don’t care whether or not the band sounds good any more!  I calculate I get 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night from 2 to 6am on Tuesdays through Saturdays.   On Sunday and Monday nights, I get 6 hours.  That’s good enough; I ain’t complainin’.

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Same street as the above photo…just a few hours later…

Growing up in rural Alaska, there are many things we miss out on, especially those of us born and bred in small, land-locked communities, which is most of the state except Anchorage and Fairbanks.   Concerts of big name musicians/singers are one of those things we don’t experience so what we don’t experience won’t hurt us, right?  We don’t know any better.  Well, not until we grow up and actually go to a concert by a real famous person(s)!   In less than two months, just before my 60th birthday, I have gone to two concerts, one by intention, Van Morrison, and the other I stumbled across last night, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, right here in the Brady Arts District of downtown Tulsa.   I am spending a year doing things, I have NEVER done!  Attending concerts of big-name musicians is one of them!

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Tulsa’s Hop Jam program guide lists all the beer vendors

We’ve been told that during the Spring/Summer/Fall time in Tulsa’s Brady Arts District, there is live music every weekend at the Guthrie Green (just a block over) and even throughout the week in various bars or restaurants.  During this past month, all of us artists-in-residents are getting an earful, and from what we’ve been told, we haven’t heard nothing yet!   The “pARTy” is just getting warmed up along with the weather!

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From the top of the northerly part of Main Strait looking 3 blocks to the band stand (in the distance shown in turquoise.).

After a productive day indoors printing the last of my edition of “An Ocean Runs Through Us”, I decided it was time to go mingle amongst the beer-drinking crowd; there were a few thousand people out there by mid-afternoon!  I took photos intended for this blog post, if nothing else.  And then I listened to a couple of bands.  I thought the bands were local boys, like most of the bands I’ve heard in this part of town.  I even thought “wow, these dudes act and sound like they are professionals…”  And then funny me, I discovered they ARE professionals!  Hello!?!?

The two bands I totally enjoyed were the “X Ambassadors” and (especially) “Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.”  I gravitate towards bands that have great vocals and harmonies of which both bands employed.  Edward’s Sharpe’s band has 12 musicians; more than half of them sing which adds to a wonderful listening experience.  If you guys don’t know the sounds of Edward Sharpe and his band, then get onto YouTube, and introduce yourself to a great band — you’ll recognize their sound cuz the’ve been on the radio the past several years.   I’m a new fan!  They have combined the sounds of Appalachia, gospel, rock and roll, jazz with that touch of spiritual sharing of the human heart blasted with the energy of youth!  Here’s a link from KEXP radio station in Seattle where they play a bit subdued cuz they’re in a radio station studio, though nevertheless with heart and soul; please listen through the last song they play on this video clip; it’s so sweet:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Qvi9gjRwKk  

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Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros closing song on stage at Tulsa’s Hop Jam Beer and Music Festival 2016

Last night, after Edward Sharpe’s band ended, I walked with great appreciation back through the dwindling thickness of the crowd and I noticed I was amongst people who were no where near my age; they were all younger than my youngest daughter!!!  LOL.  In the dark, we all look the same age, but when we are out in the light,…hahahaha!  If anything, I think I have just started to enjoy my city life surroundings.  With all this music everywhere, I am reminded that I totally enjoy live music no matter what genre.  It is in this enjoyment that allows me to make the best of my city living conditions.  I have to adapt so I can survive, so I can continue doing what I damn well love doing!  It’s all good…I’m getting into the groove of city living via live music!  Halleluia!

 

 

 

 

Calling All Chilkat and Ravenstail Weavers

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Invitational design specifications for the “patchwork quilt” or “Granny Square” Chilkat/Ravenstail Robe Project — Collaborative community design concept by Clarissa Rizal; Canoe Community concept by Suzi Vaara Williams

Dear Northwest Coast Chilkat and Ravenstail Weavers:

We invite you to participate in a very unique project which will provide a Chilkat/Ravenstail ceremonial robe to be worn by a dignitary of a hosting community for NWC Canoe Gatherings and/or also to be worn in ceremony during the maiden launch of a traditional dugout canoe.  Imagine this robe will be worn for many generations of canoe gatherings and maiden voyages!  When the robe is not traveling, it will be housed in its own private, glass case in the new “Weavers’ Studio” at the Evergreen Longhouse campus in Olympia, Washington State.  Longhouse Executive Director Tina Kuckkhan-Miller, and Assistant Director Laura Grabhorn are very excited about this project.

If you are interested in participating and donating your time to weave a 5″ x 5″ square, the above illustration provides you with the visual concept.  The information below provides you with clear instructions:

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Project:  A  NWC Weavers’ Invitational  to create a collaborative and unique Chilkat/Ravenstail robe for the NWC communities who host Canoe Gatherings and/or are launching the maiden voyage of a traditional dugout canoe in Washington State, British Columbia, Southeast Alaska and Yukon Territory.

Who is Invited:  This invitational is open to all Indigenous Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers representing all the distinctive tribes of the Northwest Coast.  The invitational is also open to non-Indigenous weavers who are clan members of a NWC tribe via adoption and/or marriage.  Weavers of all levels of experience, from beginner to expert, are invited to contribute!  There are only 54 sections on this unique, one-of-a-kind, Chilkat/Ravenstail robe; if you want to be a part of this historical event, jump in now while you can and commit via email, text or Facebook to Clarissa Rizal by May 15, 2016!   Email address:  clarissa@clarissarizal.com   or text her at:  (970)903-8386   or Facebook:  Clarissa Rizal

Limited number of weavers:  There will be 54 5-inch squares which = 54 separate weavers.  45 of the 54 squares will have 1″ fringe at the bottom.  9 of the 54 squares will have 18″ fringe; these 9 squares will be placed at the very bottom edge of the robe.  If you want to be one of the 9 squares with the 18″ fringe, let me know.  Please refer to the illustration for visual image.  The borders of the entire robe will be woven by Clarissa Rizal after she has laid out the entire 54 squares and sewn them together.  Total approximately measurements of the robe will be 68″ wide x 56″ high (includes fringe)

The Warp:  You will need approximately 12 yards of Chilkat warp.   To keep the thickness and body of the robe consistent, use only Chilkat warp (w/bark), natural color and spun to size 10 e.p.i.  Please DO NOT USE Ravenstail warp.

The Heading Cord:  Instead of a leather cord (like we use in Chilkat weaving), use two strands of your Chilkat warp, this 2-strands of warp instead of leather cord is a technique used in Ravenstail weaving.  The Chilkat warp heading cord will then become a part of your weaving so in this way we avoid any tied knots on the top left and right of your heading cord.

The Weft:  merino or mountain goat wool, size 2/6 fingering weight, in any shades of the traditional colors of black, natural, yellow and blue

The Design:  Weave anything to do with the canoe world; suggestions are to weave symbols of nature, animals, mankind (i.e. mountains, ocean, rivers, lakes, canoes, paddles, faces, claws (though no human hands:  Instead of four fingers, weave three fingers and a thumb)

In addition with your weaving, please provide two things:  1) a brief 100-word max Bio in Word Document and, 2) a photo of yourself with your weaving either finished or in progress  (200 d.p.i./5″ x 7″) —-  I will be providing this information to the Evergreen Longhouse who will be housing this robe when it is not traveling.  I also imagine there may be a small publication (of the robe with all the weavers ) someday printed for each one of us; and why not!?  It would be fun!

DEADLINE to commit:  Extended to May 15, 2016  Email Clarissa with your commitment (suggestions, etc. are welcome too, especially at this time):  clarissa@clarissarizal.com or text her:  970-903-8386 (yes, area code is 970)

DEADLINE for completion:  Postmarked by July 15, 2016   Remember:  Along with your weaving, please include the brief bio and a photo of you and your weaving. (see specs above) If you complete your weaving by the dates of “Celebration” and you are in Juneau, you may hand-deliver your weaving to Clarissa anytime during the month of June, otherwise mail your weaving insured to Clarissa’s address:

Clarissa Rizal, 40 East Cameron St #207, Tulsa, OK   74103

 

“TOUR” SCHEDULE (for the robe) 2016:  

1).  Hoonah, Alaska:  Master carver of dugout canoes, Wayne Price from Haines, Alaska is carving two dugout canoes for the Hoonah Indian Association.  The opening ceremonies will be the maiden voyage of both canoes from Hoonah to Glacier Bay for the dedication of the recently built longhouse on the shores of Glacier Bay on Wednesday, August 24th.

2).  Sitka, Alaska:  Master carver Steve Brown and the Gallanin Brothers are carving a dugout in Sitka, Alaska.

3).  Vancouver, B.C.:  Robe will be part of an exhibit for four months at Sho Sho Esquiro and Clarissa Rizal’s exhibit called “Worth Our Wait In Gold” at the Bill Reid Gallery, Vancouver, B.C., opening Tuesday, October 18th

If you have any information on definite dates for canoe gatherings and maiden voyage of a traditional dugout canoe, please contact Clarissa or Evergreen Longhouse in Olympia, Washington.

NAME OF THIS ROBE:   “Weavers Across the Water” — Thank you, Catrina Mitchell…!

THE ROBE’S HOME:   As I mentioned above, when the robe is not traveling, it will be housed in its own private, glass case in the new “Weavers’ Studio” at the Evergreen Longhouse campus in Olympia, Washington State.  Longhouse Executive Director Tina Kuckkhan-Miller, and Assistant Director Laura Grabhorn will be the travel coordinator’s for this special robe.

COMPENSATION:   As of May 2nd, nearly 40 weavers have committed to this project.  Not one of them asked about compensation.  This is remarkable; it shows the purity of our weavers’ intentions and commitment to our identity and cultural heritage.  Though, I am looking into finding a benefactor who is willing to help support this project.  I’ll keep everyone posted.

SUGGESTIONS, COMMENTS, IDEAS, ETC.:  I encourage and solicit your input.  Please be brave and just communicate with me; no worries.  AND if you want to partake, this is “our” robe! 

How did this idea sprout?  Well you gotta know about Suzi and Clarissa chats:  This project was an idea which stemmed from a chat between Suzi Vaara Williams and I on March 4th.  I mentioned that I  kept seeing everything in “Chilkat”; and Suzi was talking about all the knitting and weaving projects she has got going and asked if I remembered the crocheted “Granny Square” blankets from the 60’s.  Immediately instead of crocheted colors of yarn, I saw a different kind of “Granny Square” blanket — I saw the Chilkat and Ravenstail woven ceremonial blanket!  And when I exclaimed to Suzi my vision, right away she added with glee:  “Oh, oh, ohhhh!  And the robe will be worn during the canoe gatherings up and down the coast!”

We hope you join us in creating this one-of-a-kind ceremonial robe woven by present-day weavers for our present-day canoe gatherings and traditional dugout canoe maiden launches.  This robe will travel for many generations.  Please represent your community and be a part of this historical project.  We appreciate your time, energy and talent!  Truly, Gunalcheesh!

Creating Living Legacies

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Gusts of wind at Monument Valley, near Kayenta, New Mexico — March 2016 — photo by Rene Sioui Labelle

When we are young, many of us do not think in terms of the legacy we leave behind for our children, friends, family, community and the world.  When we are young we are looking forward to all that life has to offer and we make choices based on our desires; this is natural way to think and be.  Then one day, when we are much older than young (and for each individual that age varies), we reflect upon our lives; all those who we have come to love, the places we have lived, the work we have done, and our basic yet evolving character.  We think about our pending mortality.  We think about what we will do, and where we will be with whatever time we have left.  We think about who we have become and what we have accomplished and the who, what, and where these things will be when we pass.  Yesterday my daughter, Lily wrote me a touching letter of gratitude for showing her the way and life of Chilkat weaving.  The following is my response to her:

My Lily Lalanya:

With each of my children and their children, I leave a part of my legacy; it’s the who and what I am about.

With Kahlil, I leave a variety of my artwork:  painting, collage, weaving

With Ursala, I leave my home, studio, garden

With you, I leave my teachings of spirituality, values and technique of  the spiritual/artistic life in Chilkat weaving

Know and come to understand fully all these things are rooted in love.  Everything I co-create is created from love and the best of these creations are my children; my children are my greatest legacy.   In love you were created and creation continues to create you in love.  Look about you and all that you are and be; look at all that you have co-created as you will never create any of what you are and have by yourself — all of creation is co-created…we never create alone. 

We are a culmination of all that has been before, what is now and the future all at once in one small creation:  the I of who we are in this very moment.  All of us are legacies of everyone who has come before us.

It is well you, my dear Lily, are in the love and power of Chilkat; let it continue to guide you in goodness and wellness for many, many years to come.  

Yo Mamma love

Skirting the Saguaros

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Red Ocotillo blossoms amongst Saguaros — all photos by Rene Sioui LaBelle and Clarissa Rizal– copyright 2016 — (photograph hint::  all photos with depth of field are Rene’s)

Even two days ago I did not know I would be amongst these amazing “people”…the Saguaros of Southern Arizona.  I was planning on taking my friend, Rene to the Sonoran desert so he can take photos of the flowering desert, alas, but once we arrived here we found out from the Visitor’s Center that the cactus flowers did not bloom as profusely this mid-March because the area had a warm spell back in February.  So instead, since we were in the area, we visited the Saguaro National Park.  Being amongst these “people” was a happy experience.  It’s only obvious these “people” welcome us with open (upward swing) arms!  Like what does that say to us:  “Welcome to our land…!”

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“Welcome to our country!  Let us direct you this way…!”

The saguaro has been called monarch of the Sonoran Desert, supreme symbol of the American Southwest, and a plant with personality.  It is renowned for the variety of odd, all-too-human shapes it assumes—shapes that inspire wild and fanciful imaginings.  Since 1933 this extraordinary giant cactus has been protected within Saguaro National Park.  Preserved within it are other members of the Sonoran Desert community:  other cacti, desert trees and shrubs, and animals.  In lushness and variety of life, the Sonoran Desert far surpasses all other North American deserts.  And yet it is one of the hottest and driest regions on the continent.

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Rene takes a moment to pose for the sunset

Summer midday temperatures commonly climb above 100 degrees, although our visit was a mild 75 degrees in late March.  Less than 12 inches of rain falls in a typical year.  Between the summer and wintery seasons it’s not unusual for months to pass without a drop of rain.  Plants and animals able to survive in this environment, with adaptations specially designed for desert survival, make up one of the most interesting and unusual ecosystems in the United States.

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Smokey Blue Tucson Mountains

This world awaits you in the desert plains, mountains and foothills of Saguaro National Park.  So what are you waiting for!?!?!  After 24 years of living in the Four Corners area of the U.S., how come it has taken me that long to finally visit these people and their land!?  Readers, if you are in the Phoenix/Tuscon area, please take a day and get your boost of happiness and peace!  Forget paying a shrink for your emotional problems; just get out on the land and run, sit, relax, have a picnic, play music, take photos and hymn with the silence.  It is here you can bury any sorrows or unpleasant memories.  The Saguaro are a happy and people; allow them to be your compassionate hosts!

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First real outing with the CX-90 Volvo

There are two parts to the Saguaro National Park:  Saguaro East–Rincon Mountain District and Saguaro West–Tucson Mountain District.  We visited the latter with the background of the Tucson Mountains.  The park is open daily except Christmas Day.  It’s a normal park with its Visitor Center, self-guiding trails, picnic tables, pit toilets, campground and even back-country campsites (only in the East Rincon District).  If you are a star gazer such as I, hanging out here during the full moon would be exquisite, however, the park closes their gates directly after sunset (no matter what time of year).  Other than your camera(s), make sure you bring plenty of water (for you, your pet, your vehicle, etc.), first aid kit, food, flashlight and a blanket (just in case you break park rules and spend the night under the stars!).

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Rene scopes

Rene and I spent the day here.   I took a few photos upon arrival, but I was compelled to play my flute, sing chants and then run amongst the rock, variety of cactus and the sun to my west, leaving Rene to several hours to himself and his camera.  All photos posted are by Rene Sioui LaBelle and myself.   Let these images inspire you to visit the famous Saguaro soon; they live no where else on this planet!

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Families catch the last rays of the day

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Cholla cactus blossoms

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Clarissa runs

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More Cholla cactus blossoms

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Golden land

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sunset

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sillouettes

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Good night!  Buenas Noches!  Bon Soir!

Visiting 1000’s at the Botanical Gardens

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Checking out the most delicate of trees — photos by Rene Sioui LaBelle and Clarissa Rizal — copyright March 2016

Nature naturally inspires the human being to become more than cave folk, huddlums and geeks.  The Great Creator God wanted to speed up all of creativity because God was impatient to experience more of what is and will become and needed more “hands” so voile’, humans were born!   Everything we create is God-born and bred, even our messes, catastrophes, and you name it, violent.  Nature is consistently violated, yet nature too is violent.   Nature and God work hand in hand; we have one born of another, the Great Creator.  The duality of the glorified magnificence and the degenerating demise of Nature, mankind and all of creation is the IS.   Let’s experiment with our perceptions:  The eyes in which we see our Creator are the same eyes our Creator sees us.  If we were to think this upon everything we see, then how would we be perceived by every plant, bug, animal, human and the Creator?

The following photographs are mine and Rene’s photos taken during our day trip to the Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Arizona.  As we saw all that we saw, how was it for the rest of this creation to see us?

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Artists-in-Residence Have Officially Landed in Tulsa

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Nine of the 12 chosen for the inaugural Tulsa Artists Fellowships during a reception at 108 Contemporary in the Brady District in Tulsa, OK, Jan. 8, 2016. (front, from left) Molly Dilworth, Chris Ramsay, Alice Leora Briggs, Nick Vaughan (back, from left) Clarissa Rizal, Eric Sall, Akiko Jackson, Rena Detrixhe and Crystal Z. Campbell. Not pictured are Gary Kachadourian, Monty Little and Nathan Young. Photo courtesy: Michael Wyke/Tulsa World

Now that we have been caught on camera and advertised in the local newspaper “Tulsa World”, everyone can agree that we have officially landed in Tulsa!  Click here to read about the inaugural Tulsa Artist Residency 2016