Saturday, August 12, 2006

Medicine Wheel, WY

Before leaving Wyoming, some of the artists and I made a trek into the Big Horn Mountains to reach the sacred site of Medicine Wheel, a human-made circle of rocks dating back 2000 years, placed on the clearing of a mountain peak, with a beautiful 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains. It is a site of vision quests and pilgrimage for many Native Americans, who feel it must be visited at least once in a lifetime. There were many prayer bundles and offerings attached to the fence surrounding it, making it feel like a very charged space. We were very fortunate to have the place to ourselves on the windy afternoon we visited, so we each had time and space to circle Medicine Wheel, meditate and pray. It was a very moving experience.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wyoming Rodeo!

On Friday, August 4th, we ventured from the Jentel Arts Retreat to mix with the locals and attend the PBR Sheridan Rodeo! We went to see the pro bull riding tour, and it was pretty exciting and looked very dangerous, with a few riders getting their hands caught while being thrown, tossed around like rag dolls in the dirt with their arms still attached to the bull. OW. Afterwards, we danced under the stands to a live band with John, the mechanical bull operator (who actually flipped Karina over his shoulder at one point), then we hit the famous Mint bar in town. All in the name of local research, of course...

In the stands with new pals and fellow artists Karina Hean and Robyn Art.

When in Wyoming...

I took a spin and a spill on the mechanical bull at the fairgrounds. Although I must say, this cityslicker did pretty well for her first time, staying on for over a minute, which is MUCH harder than it looks! "It's all in the hips!"

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Completed Willow Creek Dress, WY!

My favorite shot of the day, taken by Karina Hean. I like the twin snake hills in the background that are always in view here, and are such an important visual element at Jentel. I am very satisfied with the project and extremely grateful to the Jentel Foundation for hosting me and making this experience and work of art possible.

A little help from my friends...

I could not have documented the piece without the brave souls who climbed into that cold water with me. Other resident artists (top photo, from left: Robyn Art, Karen Schiff and Karina Hean) donated their talent and got wet and chilly to help me out. Bottom photo: Karen frames a shot with my camera.

This is the sheltered location I found, in a little inlet in the creek. The current was too strong for my anchors everywhere else. Even here, I had to bury the anchors in the sandbar under the dress to hold it in place for the three days it took me to work on it.

Almost ready...

Here is the final dress with fresh branches woven into the willow frame. There was a heat wave while I was making it, making all the cutting and hauling of material sweaty work, with sunburn, scratches, wasp stings (one got caught buzzing under my bandana and stinging my ear!), and snakes to contend with (I encountered so many that I took to singing/whistling as I entered the underbrush to warn them away). Then a wind storm hit the night before the photo shoot, and while the dress survived in tact, the temperature dropped dramatically from over 100 degrees to around 65 when it was time to get in the water. It was chilly, but fun, and I was so happy to be completing the project that I didn't mind goose bumps and shaking a little in the cold.