The following mask, Medicine Woman, was finished with hemp and jute, and a small assortment of beads. The face is made from low-fire earthenware, and burnished. There is no glaze applied--just the natural color of the clay.
Originally, she was going to be called something else entirely (having to do with dreams). But, once I applied her hair and beads, she reminded me of the shamans and healers from sub-Saharan Africa, and those of Native America. So now she's a Medicine Woman. I toyed with the idea of calling her Sleeping Shaman, but upon closer inspection I realized that she's not sleeping at all. She's actually meditating, or in deep thought--perhaps about a cure of some kind.
I just started a book by Lori Arviso Alvord, M.D. It's called The Scapel and the Silver Bear: The First Navajo Woman Surgeon Combines Western Medicine and Traditional Healing. It'll be interesting to see how, and if, the book inspires any new art.
I'm also in the process of putting together lesson plans for the classes that start in a couple of weeks. The first unit of "Cultures of the World" will focus on Native American art and life. This book should give me an additional resource to draw from. Alvord writes about the role of song in healing. They're called "chantways" among the Dine (Navajo). How wonderful. Music certainly always makes me feel better!