Art Center Ukiah
November is a traditional month for gathering. As the days get shorter and colder, people traditionally surround themselves with items that bring them comfort. Art Center Ukiah is encouraging local artists to consider all aspects of the harvest season as they ponder a list of questions. How do you prepare yourself for the coming winter? What are your Autumn celebrations and festivities? Do you focus of food, crafts, family celebrations or other things? What keeps you connected with the people, places and traditions that you love?
Corine Pearce (Little River Band of Pomo Indians, Redwood Valley), the show’s organizer, is especially focused on the aspect of community. “I want to celebrate the richness and bounty that Autumn means to our entire community,” Corine says. Along those lines she is weaving new baskets baskets for the show, many of which will contain acorns. “Right now my whole life is about acorns,” she laughs. “There are so many dropping from the trees this year, and it’s all I can do to keep from slamming on the brakes every time I drive by another tree that has dropped thousands of them on the road.”
Acorns are also on the mind of Melody Williams (Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo). She created an art quilt which features dozens of them. She explains, “It started out as a challenge quilt from a guild I belong to… to do one or two things with a specific quilt block. It looked like a basket design to me, so I wanted to feature it as the main design element instead of putting it in the background. I filled the quilted basket with acorns and created special features… the acorn caps are made out of miniature basket designs printed on fabric… to make the whole piece more Native.”
Melody explains more about the importance of acorns in her culture. “Acorns are really important to us,” she says. “I love acorn mush, even though it’s an acquired taste. I especially wanted to honor that on the quilt. We have harvested acorns and other wild foods from the beginning, because that cultural knowledge was passed down to us. It’s something we do together… we have always been hunters and gatherers. We gather our food as opposed to growing it, but we still have to work together to look for what we need and want. It’s our way of life. When it’s bountiful we celebrate.”
A large torch-cut steel oak tree made by Katie Gibbs will fit right in with the acorn theme. And the rest is unknown… the surprise will be seeing how other community members respond to this call with representations of their own favorite harvest activities and traditions.
The First Friday opening celebration of the “Harvest” show will be on November 3 from 5-8pm. Live music will be provided throughout the evening by Steve Hahm. Art Center Ukiah is located in the back of the Corner Gallery at 201 S State Street in Ukiah.