colombia church charcoal drawing Jordan Henderson Wenaha Gallery

Colombia Churches and Cows — The Charcoal Drawings of Jordan Henderson

colombia church charcoal drawing Jordan Henderson Wenaha Gallery

Church Near the Hills, charcoal drawing of Colombia by Jordan Henderson

 

The best time to hear of your adult children’s adventures — the really exciting ones that make good stories — is after they are home and —  your parent’s heart says — safe. When my son Jordan Henderson announced to his dad, Steve, and me that he wanted to visit Colombia, where we had bicycled through 30 years before, we tried to be laudably cool, calm, and chill.

Colombia cows walking country road charcoal drawing

Cows in the llanos of Colombia are fascinating drawing fodder, artist Jordan Henderson says

After all, when we put our own parents through this, there were no cell phones or social media, so any worries they had weren’t allayed for weeks. Steve and I experienced relief — or anxiety, depending upon the story — instantly.

“Learning a second language and traveling abroad is something I always wanted to do,” Jordan says, mirroring our own reasons for traveling. That’s great, we nodded. Immersion is the best method. For Jordan, whose Spanish at that time would generously be called embryonic, this meant flying to Medellín, a city of 2.4 million that in our younger days was known as the drug cartel capital of the world.

“It’s improved,” he reassured us beforehand. At least he would be staying with our friends of 30 years before, Héli and Ana, who Facebook messaged us on Jordan’s arrival, “We opened the door, and thought we were seeing Steve.”

Learning Language and Doing Art in Colombia

On the month-long trip to Colombia in 2015 and a second, three-month journey in 2016-17, Jordan immersed himself in both the Spanish language and the culture. An artist like his father, he set up his easel in public parks (when he was in cities) and along pathways (in the country), attracting genial attention from passersby who felt free to comment upon his art and growing language skills.

Iguana charcoal drawing colombia medellin city park

The Iguana in the city park, artfully posing for Jordan Henderson during his trip to Colombia

“In Pamplona, a town of 60,000 with beautiful churches and cathedrals throughout, people seemed genuinely pleased to see that I admired and was drawing the church that they themselves attended,” Jordan says.

“One time, a nun in full, traditional habit came running down the steps from the church I was drawing to see what I was doing — she had a very energetic personality. I simply did not expect someone in such a somber dress to come running across the street like that. The next day, when I returned to finish the drawing, she brought a group of other nuns. They liked my rendition of their church.”

Traveling by Bus through Colombia

For a month, Jordan spent three hours a day intensely studying Spanish with Juan Carlos, who 30 years ago was a slender young man just out of high school, and now, mysteriously like Steve and me, was in his 50s. One on one teaching from Juan Carlos’s universal language institute catapulted Jordan’s Spanish to new competency, and we didn’t worry (as much) when he announced plans to travel by bus through the country, staying with new friends along the way.

Colombia lowland grassland llanos charcoal drawing

A view of the llanos, or lowland grasslands, of Colombia. Charcoal drawing by Jordan Henderson

“I visited Tauramena, Medellín, Bucaramanga, Yopal, Riohacha, Barranquilla, and Cartagena,” Jordan says, listing out cities and towns of Colombia that range from metropolitan centers to small hamlets in the llanos, flat grasslands that are the equivalent of America’s Wild West.

“The people I stayed with are what made this such a fantastic trip — they generously showed me around the towns where they lived, and I ate meals with my hosts, allowing me a lot of conversation with some great people.”

Loving the Lowing of Colombia Cows

In the llanos, Jordan encountered distinctive cattle of Colombia that are a mixture of European and Indian breeds. He was enthralled, snapping reference photos and doing plein air studies in the field.

“Cows are a fantastic drawing subject,” he enthuses. “Sometimes they regard you with great suspicion; other times they barely manage to give you an uninterested gaze before they return to their grazing, as if you are the most boring thing in the world.

colombia church humilladero pamplona colombia charcoal drawing

Humilladero Church in Pamplona, Colombia, one of the principal architectural designs of the city. Charcoal drawing by Jordan Henderson

“Once I had a cow walk alongside me as far as her fence allowed, all the while looking straight at me as if I were a very curious sight.”

In the botanical gardens of Medellín, he met a different sort of animal, an iguana.

“It was sitting in the middle of the path and politely posed for me while I took some photos, before deciding it had had enough, when it calmly walked away.”

Attracting Attention

As in Pamplona while drawing churches, Jordan attracted attention wherever he went, the lanky, long-haired foreigner who looked like he could be Dutch or American, and always carried a sketchbook. Visiting a village school near Cúcuta, on the border of Venezuela and Colombia, Jordan found himself invited by his host’s father to a small radio station, where he was interviewed as “the visiting foreigner.” In Medellín, he was “the jogging foreigner,” and regulars at the city parks, some of whom a mother would classify as less than savory, assessed his accent and affably corrected grammar.

“I am drawn by the opportunity to be completely surrounded by another language, culture, and way of thinking that is different from what I am used to,” Jordan says, explaining that future plans include further travel, as well as concerted drawing, painting, and artistic pursuits.

“I am fortunate to have a highly skilled, talented artist as my father, and I will make the most of the opportunity to learn from him.

“Ultimately, my long-range goal is to work as a full-time artist so that I can dedicate the lion’s share of my time to something of such great interest to me.”

He’s his father’s son all right.

Wenaha Gallery

Jordan Henderson is the Featured Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, July 3 through Saturday, July 29, 2017. There will be a special Art Show Saturday, July 15, over Alumni Weekend. Meet and greet Jordan, see his art, and ask about his adventures from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the gallery. Free refreshments provided.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

sculpture woman seated skirt pink shelia coe

The Dentist Artist — Sculpture by Shelia Coe

sculpture woman seated skirt pink shelia coe

Sculpted woman with fabric skirt by former dentist, now artist, Shelia Coe

Childhood Christmas gifts create lasting memories. Often, they even shape our future. And so it was for ceramic artist Shelia Coe . . . sort of. It just took a little longer than her mother, whose biggest desire was that her daughter grow up to be an artist, envisioned.

“My mother was a frustrated artist,” Coe remembers. “With six children, she didn’t have much time to pursue art, but she tried to channel me into becoming an artist. To that end, she bought me art supplies for every holiday, and dragged me along on her trips to paint barns and still lifes.”

cow sculpture by dentist artist shelia coe walla walla

Cow sculpture by dentist artist Shelia Coe of Walla Walla

Like so many things we plan for and try to direct, however, the future turned out differently, and instead of using her hands to wield a paintbrush or palette knife, Coe picked up the tools of dentistry, practicing the profession for more than 34 years.

“My mother was disappointed when I was accepted into dental school,” Coe says. “She said something like, ‘If you have to do something in the health field, couldn’t you at least be a medical illustrator?’

“I’ve gotta laugh at how it’s all turned out, and if she’s looking down, she’s probably happy to be getting her wish for me.”

Looking for a Creative Outlet

The latter part of those 34 years in dentistry, Coe spent in Walla Walla at a private practice, finishing out the final six of her career at Yellowhawk Clinic in Pendleton for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla. Upon retirement, she found her hands and mind seeking a creative outlet, and when the women in her spinning class at the YMCA suggested taking a sculpture class by Walla Walla artist Penny Michel, Coe decided to give it a try.

fish sculpture shelia coe dentist artist walla walla

Fish sculpture by Shelia Coe of Walla Walla. Coe worked as a dentist for 34 years before turning fulltime to art

“After the first class, I was hooked.

“For a week I could hardly sleep, thinking of all the things I wanted to try to make.”

Fortunately, her sleep patterns have returned to normal, with the added bonus of Coe continuing to explore a variety of subject matter, from people to animals to design work. The possibilities are endless, because Nature herself never runs out of providing ideas.

“I love nature, and as a child was always drawing horses and animals of all kinds along with plants — for awhile I wanted to be a botanist.

“So all kinds of things in nature inspire me, and oftentimes it can be a drawing or a photo, or the animal itself.

“I have made llamas, deer, horses, cows, fish, and sheep on a hill. I recently finished a horse that is 20 inches tall and 15 inches wide — the largest piece I have ever made.”

An Unusual Studio

Coe’s studio is split between Michel’s studio for classes and firing, and Coe’s home utility room and kitchen. And while the kitchen and laundry rooms are not generally associated with the wild, exuberant, abounding world of nature, they are good places to capture it. Kitchen implements, basic tools, and simple elements of nature — like pine cones, for texturizing — create mesmerizing effects when wielded in the right hands, and what hands are more accustomed to fine, precision work than that of a dentist?

horse sculpture shelia coe wenaha gallery

Horse sculpture by Shelia Coe, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

“Sculpture, like dentistry, demands the use of the hands — but with loads more creative freedom (of course),” Coe observes.

Creative freedom or not, clay has its own rules, and part of learning to work with it is respecting its properties, taking the scientific approach to art, so to speak. Observation, theorization, deduction, experimentation, and the willingness to learn from failure all come into play, and Coe willingly gives time to each.

“My favorite part of creating sculpture is figuring out the structural and engineering aspect of each piece,” Coe explains. “It is not always easy to get the clay to do what you want it to.

“Glazing is also a challenge because they never look the same once they are fired. In fact, even the same glaze will look different depending upon its thickness and its position in the kiln. Glazes are very finicky.”

World Traveler

A member of ArtWalla, Coe takes advantage of classes, both in the area and out, to finesse and further her skills. An avid traveler, she also maintains a collection of her own, picking up pieces by local artists from areas such as Palau, Yap, Tibet and Tunisia as well as more mainstream destinations.

In the end, everything works together when it comes to art, life, and dreams. It may have taken awhile to get to the art part, but all the time Coe spent as a dentist shaped her hands to a fine and acute sensitivity, and sensibility.

Her mother would be pleased.

Wenaha Gallery

Shelia Coe is the Featured Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, June 19 through Saturday, July 15, 2017. 

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

 

Bronze, silver, ruby, and moonstone necklace by Rachelle Moore, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Bright, Shiny Jewelry — The Corvidae-Inspired Art of Rachelle Moore

Bronze, silver, ruby, and moonstone necklace by Rachelle Moore, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Bronze, silver, ruby, and moonstone necklace, jewelry by Rachelle Moore, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Crows, ravens, jackdaws, magpies — while members of the Corvidae family are notorious for raucous dissonance, they also possess a captivating charm that invites jewelry maker Rachelle Moore to their fan club:

They like shiny things.

Bracelet incorporating bronze and hessonite nuggets by Rachelle Moore

Bracelet incorporating bronze and hessonite nuggets, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

“I love shiny things!” the Kennewick artist exclaims, explaining why she named her business Corvidae Fine Art, reflecting a lifelong enthrallment of birds with their refinement and intelligence. “Sparkles and elegant jewelry and gem and mineral specimens of hematite, selenite, and quartz are always trying to take over the surfaces of my work space.

“I can lose countless hours to the joy of crafting in silver or bronze metal, making mini enduring wearable sculptures to combine with sparkling gemstones. I like to imagine these will exist and be enjoyed for many years,” Moore says.

Because like many humans on the planet, Moore does not find herself with actual countless hours, she efficiently juggles the ones she has, incorporating a full-time job as a nurse and subsequent 90-minute commute back to her rural studio space/apartment on Weston Mountain with her art business.

Grey Faceted Hawks Eye Drops earrings by Rachelle Moore

Grey Faceted Hawks Eye Drops earrings, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

Creativity with both time and physical materials is a skill she learned young, from a child homeschooled in the mountains with her siblings, and refined in her late teens, when she started crafting earrings, beaded hair pins, and accessories to help pay for college.

“This was so successful and enjoyable that I started my own small business in 2007 selling my jewelry,” Moore says.

“I have been artistic for as long as I can remember.

“I suppose what started it was wanting to capture and save some of the beauty around me.”

Feeding her appreciation of beauty was a voracious appetite for reading, and Moore spent (and still spends) hours consuming “marvelous stories” such as Treasure Island, The Count of Monte Cristo, and the Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Narnia Chronicles series.

Fine silver vine chandelier earring with phrenite bunches by Rachelle Moore

Fine silver vine chandelier earring with phrenite bunches, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

“These books among others helped inspire my love of adventure, travel, and trying to capture those fantastic images in my imagination to share in one form or another,” Moore says.

“Many of the pieces I have made, I picture in my head as part of a bigger, fantastic world.”

Moore sells her work on her etsy shop, under the name CorvidaeFineArt, and has participated in ArtSquared, ArtWalla’s annual fundraiser benefiting area arts education, and the Walla Popup Juried Art Show, as well as kept a booth at the Walla Walla Farmer’s Market. She also creates customized commissioned pieces, which she describes as her most rewarding, yet stressful projects.

“I remember a custom commission I did of a bronze sculptured and carved dragon necklace with many rubies and sapphires. I wound myself up wondering if the customer would like the character of the dragon as I created the layers and the dragon came to life.

Rectangular pounded pendant necklace with sapphire roundels, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

Rectangular pounded pendant necklace with sapphire roundels, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

“In the end, my customer loved the piece, and I have seen her wearing it so many times. It makes me happy to know she enjoys wearing it.”

Moore makes a point of not replicating or repeating her designs, because she values the individuality and uniqueness of something that is handmade. And while this is time consuming, the end result is something both she, and the wearer, feel incredibly good about.

“If someone owns a piece of my jewelry, it will be something special and a little different than what anyone else has.”

Working with precious metals and components that require torch firing or time in a kiln at 1200-1600 degrees is a lesson of rolling with the unexpected. Holding her breath upon opening the cooled kiln, Moore never knows if a piece will emerge as planned, not quite as planned — “There’s always a risk of random inclusions . . . having caused a small explosion or microscopic cracks” — or better than planned, the artist’s equivalent to Christmas morning, any time of year.

This is a fitting analogy, because to Moore, art is a gift that is part of her life, no matter where she lives, and no matter what else she does. It neatly compliments her career as a registered nurse, in which each patient requires a balance of time, energy and dedication.

“At the end of each work day I take home a sense of connection and peace in knowing I worked hard to make a positive difference in another human’s life while they were in a challenging part of their life.

“Having art to make on my days off is a welcome change of pace and a different kind of challenge.”

Wenaha GalleryRachelle Moore is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, February 27, through Saturday, March 25.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit the gallery today!

 

 

Ceramic leaf dishes by Jane Holly Estrada

Falling Leaves and Radiochemistry — The Ceramic Art of Jane Holly Estrada

Ceramic leaf dishes by Jane Holly Estrada leaves

A series of ceramic leaf dishes by Jane Holly Estrada sits atop a granite Lazy Susan by Terry Hoon

In her day job, Jane Holly Estrada is a radiochemist, dealing with a concept — radiation — that many people rightly or wrongly associate with loooooooooong periods of time.

But when the white lab jacket is hung up at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the day, Estrada focuses strongly on the ephemeral, the temporal —  fleeting moments of transitory time in which she captures a moment in nature and transforms it into a state of permanence.

Gold bordered blue ceramic leaf (leaves) dish by Jane Holly Estrada

Gold highlights and a dotted border on an individual leaf dish by Jane Holly Estrada

Working in the field of ceramics, the Richland, WA, artist creates jewelry and shaped dishes inspired by the leaves of trees, but not just any leaves. Estrada’s window of time is a short one in autumn, after the leaves have fallen off the tree naturally but while they are still crisp enough to leave a literal impression upon clay.

“Each dish I make is created by pressing a real leaf into the clay and shaping it into a unique small dish, which is then painted with watercolor style underglazes,” Estrada explains.

“The dish is then glazed all over, fired, and painted with real gold and white gold accents.

“The final product is a mirror image of the now long-gone leaf, but embellished with swirls of color, texture, and metallic gilding.”

Set in a few clear sentences, the process seems straightforward and direct, but as with any area dealing with chemical and physical alteration — whether the matter has to do with art, science or a fusion of the two — things just aren’t that simple. Stuff happens.

ceramic and gold bead necklaces in blue and green by Jane Holly Estrada

Ceramic and gold bead necklaces in rich variants of blue and green, by Jane Holly Estrada

The biggest challenge of working with clay, Estrada says, is that no matter how careful the artist is during the process, there’s always a chance for the unexpected to occur. Work can crack if it dries too quickly, or even if it is gently bumped at the wrong time.

“Each trip through the kiln is a chance for cracking, warping, and even exploding,” Estrada adds. “Glazes can run, crawl, craze and drip — all things that can either ruin your work or make it amazing.

“Most of my pieces go through the kiln three to four times, each time a gamble.”

The upshot of it all is that even the most scientific of approaches can’t guarantee the outcome, but like life itself, that’s part of the challenge.

“The benefit is that if your work survives its creation process, it becomes a durable and lasting piece of art in a way that a more ephemeral piece of paper or canvas cannot compare,” Estrada observes.

A collection of painted rocks and mandala stones by jane holly estrada

A collection of painted rocks and Mandala Stones by Jane Holly Estrada

“Clay allows the artist to create a functional object that is equally an object of beauty.”

Estrada’s leaf-based clay dishes and jewelry imbue familiar colors of  forest, sky, and water– azure, turquoise, teal, beryl, emerald, verdigris, moss, jade — with gold and silver sparkle, resulting in an alchemy of Mother Nature with human skill and ingenuity. The finished pieces are delicate yet strong, possessing a tactility that encourages viewers to pick up, touch, hold, turn, brush, and feel.

Because each piece is fashioned from one single, unique leaf, Estrada’s artworks are literally one of a kind at the same time that they work well together as a set or a collection — in the same manner that leaves gather while retaining their individual attributes, as well as that of their creator.

“I am not a production potter, and I (like most artists) am not  looking to compete with the factories and big box stores,” Estrada says.

“My goal is to create small pieces of beautiful art that people can have in their daily lives. My jewelry is meant to be worn and the dishes to be used.”

Close up detail of glaze and gold luster of a ceramic leaf (leaves) dish by Jane Holly Estrada

Close up detail of glaze and gold luster of a ceramic leaf dish by Jane Holly Estrada

In addition to her ceramic leaf works, Estrada also paints mandala stones — smooth surfaced rocks embellished by a series of dots and color in a circular pattern. Estrada teaches the technique at Confluent, a non-profit organization in Richland that provides space and resources for community members to explore art, technology, and culture through community-based workshops and classes. She also participates in the center’s various art shows, and in the recent “Dreamers” exhibition won Best Overall piece in a public vote for her wood-substrate painting executed in the spirit of vintage post cards.

Incorporating art and science, temporal aspects and immutable, nature and fabrication, Estrada’s works are inspired by her love of water with its shifting shape, color, and ability to reflect light. And while she does not aim to make a statement, she believes that the final product is the statement itself, standing out for the time and detail that go into it.

“I’ve always loved science and trying to understand how the natural world works,” Estrada says.

“I believe that this shows through in my art.”

Wenaha GalleryJane Holly Estrada is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, January 30, through Saturday, February 25.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit the gallery today!

Librarian in the Studio — The Print & Printmaking Art of Anne Haley

Walla Walla Lettertype print by Anne Haley, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Walla Walla Lettertype print by Anne Haley, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

It took 50 years, but  Anne Haley was finally able to take ninth grade shop class.

Of course, she was no longer in ninth grade, but that’s not such a bad thing: one time through on that is enough for most people. Instead, Haley plunged into college life, re-entering as an art student after a 32-year career in public librarianship, including 20 years as the Director of the Walla Walla Public Library.

Evening Sky, monoprint by Walla Walla artist Anne Haley, showing at Wenaha Gallery

Evening Sky, monoprint by Walla Walla artist Anne Haley

“I worked my fool ass off trying to keep up with twenty-year-olds,” the Walla Walla artist recalls. “It was the most difficult, but the most rewarding educational experience: I took classes in painting, photography, drawing, art history, sculpture, time arts, and printmaking.” Beginning at Walla Walla Community College and Walla Walla University, Haley finished out her studies at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree and solidified a focus on the medium that grabbed her passion: printmaking, specifically etching, letterpress, and lithography.

“I have always been involved and inspired by things tactile,” Haley explains, describing a shadow art career that started in first grade with finger paintings (“My mother saved those paintings”), moving on to jewelry and knitting in high school, stitchery at the first run in college, quilt making, and then the full art media foray of her second college adventure. During her library career, Haley called upon creative instincts to set up arrangements in display cases every month for 20 years, in addition to festooning annual reports and designing holiday banners, bookmarks, and informational flyers.

Harvest Ready etched print by Walla Walla artist Anne Haley, guest at Wenaha Gallery

Harvest Ready, etched print by Walla Walla artist Anne Haley

And then of course there’s her house, which she describes as “a giant art project.”

Within that giant art project is a whole-house studio that includes computers and digital printers in the second floor study, an etching/litho press in an old basement storeroom, and a treasure chest of letterpress type — many from the old press building of the Wenatchee World newspaper, founded in 1905 by Haley’s grandfather — jumbled in boxes and organized as Haley has time.

These relics from the bygone era of letterpress printing — which began with Gutenberg’s press in 1440 and was outmoded in the 1980s with the advent of digitalization — “have gone the way of the buggy whip,” Haley says.

“I have begged, borrowed, and bought letterpress type of various fonts and sizes — it doesn’t matter to me if I have a complete alphabet; I am interested in the shapes.”

Walla VIII letterpress print by Walla Walla artist Anne Haley

Walla VIII, letterpress print by Walla Walla artist Anne Haley

Haley incorporated these shapes in a series of works entitled Old Presses and New, celebrating both the modern and antiquated printing presses. Letterpress shapes also find their way onto 6 x 6 mini-works (Art Squared) and Havana Live, this latter featuring multi-media artworks based on three trips Haley has made to Cuba.

In addition to letterpress, Haley creates etched prints (fashioned from metal plates on which the design has been incised by acid), lithography (printed from a flat surface treated to repel the ink except where it is desired to be printed), digital prints, and monotype (a single, unique print created when metal or glass plates are coated with ink, and the paper then pressed upon the surface). Often, she layers more than one printmaking medium in a multi-media fusion.

Other than monoprints, which as their name suggests are limited to a run of one, Haley creates editions of 5-10 prints, all as perfectly alike as she can make them. Afterwards, the plate from which the prints were made is struck so that no prints can be made thereafter.

A Quiet Conversation etched print by walla walla artist Anne Haley

A Quiet Conversation, etched print by Walla Walla artist Anne Haley

Collections of Haley’s work are at the Penrose Library of Whitman College in Walla Walla; the Clapp Library of Occidental College, Los Angeles; and Brown & Haley, the candy-maker and distributor, in Tacoma. She has held numerous solo, two-person, and group exhibitions throughout the Pacific Northwest and in Cuba, and was accepted into the Artlink National Print Exhibit at the Auer Center for Arts & Culture in Fort Wayne, IN. At the BFA annual show in the Pacific Northwest College of Art, her 6-inch by 2-inch piece was awarded juror’s pick, where it was hung between two gigantic paintings of 8-feet by 5-feet “that could be seen a block away.”

Small or large, Haley’s prints reflect the sense of the place where she lives, an agricultural town that maintains a visceral connection to the land that is not found in urban settings. They also reflect the human connection, a history of life that far transcends the technology of printing.

“I am committed to creating my work with love,” Haley says, “and hope that the viewer can sense this depth of feeling in the work that I make.”

Wenaha GalleryAnne Haley is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, January 16, through Saturday, February 11.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit the gallery today!

Giving Gifts — Tis the Season, All Year Round — Dayton’s Project Timothy

Project Timothy is located within the St Vincent de Paul building in Dayton, WA

Project Timothy is located within the St Vincent de Paul building in Dayton, WA

Christmas is the season for giving.

It sounds like a Facebook meme, or the inside of a holiday card, and like most pithy sayings, merely brushes the surface of truth.

In reality, people in need — who truly appreciate a timely gift, given — are around all year. Thankfully for those struggling in Columbia County and Waitsburg, there is Project Timothy, an ecumenical ministry spearheaded by the St Joseph (Dayton) and St Mark (Waitsburg) Catholic parishes, but joined by a number of other churches in the area. It provides emergency housing, rental assistance, help with utilities, food vouchers, bus passes, and more for the nearly 700 families that seek its aid every year.

Project Timothy looks to Christ's example as the one to follow. Jesus and the Little Children by Vogel von Volgelstein

Project Timothy looks to Christ’s example as the one to follow. Jesus and the Little Children by Vogel von Volgelstein

“Project Timothy is unique to Dayton,” says Terri Schlachter, president of the 13-member board of the organization. Opening its doors in 1990,. Project Timothy grew out of the energy and vision of Father Paul Wood, who came to the area from the Brooklyn, New York, Diocese, and was struck by the need to collate the benevolent efforts of the Christian community into one place.

“It’s always been meant to be an ecumenical ministry,” Schlachter says. “It’s not just the Catholic Church; it’s the entire community helping.”

Working in cooperation with religious, private, and public agencies, Project Timothy runs from a designated office space in the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store on Main Street. Volunteers staff the office from noon to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and off hours, clients can reach an on-call volunteer by going through the Sheriff’s Department.

Operating with funds donated by individuals, private groups, Catholic Charities of Spokane, and grants, Project Timothy strives to be a physical interpretation of the apostle Paul’s exhortation to Timothy, a young Greek Christian who eventually became a bishop of Ephesus in the first century, A.D.:

“Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, and to be generous and ready to share.” (1 Timothy 6:18)

We are called to look out for the most vulnerable in society. Suffer the Little Children by Fritz von Uhde

We are called to look out for the most vulnerable in society. Suffer the Little Children by Fritz von Uhde

“Project Timothy works very hard to be good stewards of the money entrusted to us by our donors and grants to help those in need,” Schlachter says. There’s only so much to go around, the need is great, and it is a delicate balance ensuring that the funds go where they are most and truly needed, while every person who enters the office leaves with their dignity intact.

Volunteers, who undergo 20 hours of training in interviewing clients and familiarizing themselves with the bylaws of the organization, must be discerning and kind, wise and compassionate, able to make intelligent judgments without being judgmental. On the wall is a list of phone numbers of various agencies, resources, and organizations in the area, and before any client leaves, volunteers review additional options available for assistance and referral.

Putting into practice the things we read is a focal point of Project Timothy. Seaside Story by Wenaha Gallery artist Steve Henderson

Putting into practice the things we read, and meeting the needs of the vulnerable, are focal points of Project Timothy. Seaside Story by Wenaha Gallery artist Steve Henderson

As with most giving organizations, Project Timothy finds itself most in demand in the winter months, when higher heating and electrical bills command more of a family’s budget. December’s activities center around Christmas baskets, some 85 boxes which include foods for a holiday dinner such as a ham, vegetables, potatoes, pie, rolls, and canned foods.

“If we have enough donations, we will include Dayton Dollars so families can buy a little something for their children for Christmas,” Schlachter says, adding that vouchers provided for food, clothing, and other essentials stay in the area, benefiting local businesses.

On the opposite side of the calendar, the month of June finds the organization with a request to fund a very specific purpose:

“We have had donations in the summer with the specific request that they go to swim passes.

“This has been a great asset for families as the price for swim passes has gone up. It (swimming) is a great activity for children, but expensive for some families.”

It quickly becomes obvious that Christmas is not the only time of the year for gifts, and quite fortunately, Schlachter observes, the people in the area are conversant with this. The gift of giving runs both ways.

“It is very clearly the Lord’s work, for after 25 years, Project Timothy is still going, even though there have been some real economic down turns in the American Economy.

“Dayton has some very kindhearted people.

“To help someone you know is really in need, it feels great.”

Wenaha GalleryLocated one block away from the Project Timothy office, Wenaha Gallery devotes every January to a food drive supporting the community food bank, one of the organizations to which Project Timothy refers. Each year, people from within and without the community donate hundreds of pounds of food to the effort.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

 

Belle, by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

Life Is a Journey — The Primitive Rock Art Paintings and Sculpture of Monica Stobie

Belle, by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

Belle, by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

Some humans live for many many decades, while others measure their lifespan in moments. But all humans, whether or not they ever physically walk on the earth, leave a footprint. It is part of their journey.

A Little Attitude by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

A Little Attitude by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

For fine artist Monica Stobie, the concept of a journey is simultaneously highly personal and sweepingly universal, embodying the distinctive experience of the individual in concomitance with the lives, stories, and existence of people throughout history. Stobie, whose subject matter — and passion — is rock art, creates pastel, oil, mixed media, collage, and sculpture that draw inspiration from the petroglyphs (pictures carved into rock or stone) and petrographs (pictures drawn or painted on a rock surface) of ancient people. Raised on an apple ranch in the Yakima Valley, Stobie was attracted from a young age to the symbolism and animal imagery of Native American culture, and when, years later, she stumbled upon rock art at a site near the Snake River, she was, as she phrases is, “hooked.”

Cowbird by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

Cowbird by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

“I have traveled extensively, exploring rock art sites, which has given me an unlimited source of inspiration,” Stobie says. “I worked for several weeks one summer documenting rock art sites on private land. Having a Navajo guide provided a unique perspective on these ancient sites. “Hiking through harsh desert conditions gave me an understanding of a much more difficult time of survival for ancient peoples.”

Fly Away by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie

Fly Away by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie

Stobie translates this understanding, empathy, and fascination into two- and three-dimensional format, and over a professional art career spanning 30 years, she has evolved her technique and style through exploration of various mediums. “Originally, I worked with paper collage — kind of a paper marquetry –fitting different pieces of paper into a design, much like a puzzle.”

Constant experimentation with papers led to her discovery of Mexican bark cloth, a heavily textured paper made from indigenous tree bark that holds layers of rich pastel colors and texture. The next step was sculpture, in response to requests by various galleries carrying her work, and the most recent path is that of oil and mixed media. Throughout all the variance and experimentation, the research and exploration, however, the crux of the matter, which forms the basis of her pilgrimage through both life and art, remains constant:

“When I look at the journey, the prevailing theme of textures, primitive imagery, and animals are prominent,” Stobie observes. She loves the mystery of it all. Life is, after all, a mystery to and for all of us, with none of us knowing where the next step will lead.

Red Hills by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie

Red Hills by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie

In Stobie’s case, art has been a part of her life since early childhood, when she learned under the aegis of her grandmother, a watercolorist.  Early school experiences reinforced a fledgling artistry, when a second-grade teacher praised Stobie’s interpretation of a bird as a sign of outstanding creativity. Adulthood found her graduating from Eastern Washington University with a degree in Art Education, which she put to use for 15 years teaching junior and senior high art in Walla Walla, WA, and Milton-Freewater, OR. Moving to Dayton, WA, coincided with the decision to turn her steps to a new path, one that plumbed the adventures of independent, full time, professional fine art.

Whispers by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie

Whispers by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie

“Working in a converted bedroom turned into a studio, I began my trek to carve a place in the art world,” Stobie says.

Given her chosen subject matter, it is ironically appropriate that Stobie chooses the word “carve.” The impact she has made extends far from her Dayton venue, as she shows and sells her work to a diverse and widespread clientele.

“During the span of my career I have shown in galleries, mostly throughout the Northwest but also Wyoming, Colorado, and California. In recent years, fellow artist Jill Ingram and I managed our own gallery in Dayton.”

And now, it’s a new adventure, a new direction on the path as Stobie and her husband prepare to move to the Southwest, using this new home as a base from which to travel.

As with all of life’s experiences, some things change, while others stay the same: in a new home, a new venue, a new adventure, the studio, for now, will start out in the familiar fashion of a converted bedroom. But it’s all part of the adventure. “And so,” Stobie proclaims, “a new journey begins.” Wenaha Gallery

Monica Stobie is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA from Saturday, August 22 through Saturday, September 19. An Artist’s Reception is scheduled Saturday, August 22, from 1 – 5 p.m. at the gallery, during which time Stobie will be present to meet viewers and talk about her art. Free refreshments are provided.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment.

Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

World War I Service Banner preserved and framed through Wenaha Gallery, banner is the property of the First Congregational Church of Dayton WA

The Things You Find on Church Clean-up Day — A World War I Service Banner

World War I Service Banner preserved and framed through Wenaha Gallery, banner is the property of the First Congregational Church of Dayton WA

The Service Banner from World War I found at the Dayton First Congregational Church. On the left is the banner’s front, featuring the colored stars and symbols; the back, on the right, are hand-sewn name tags corresponding to the symbols on the front

Anyone who has ever participated in church clean-up day knows that the most exciting aspect of the event generally wraps around lunch. But for a group of Congregationalists in Dayton, WA, a find in the attic definitely outshone anything on the dessert table.

It was 2002, and Roslyn Edwards, wife of then-pastor Steve Edwards, was with a group in the attic, tidying up.

World War I Service Banner of First Congregational Church Dayton WA, preserved and framed by Wenaha Gallery

During the measuring process, the Service Banner was gently laid flat across a surface, but the rest of the time, it needed to be hung.

“I don’t know why, but Roslyn for some reason decided to go crawling into the rafters,” Dallas Dickinson, a member of the church and the crew, remembers. “And then she says, here’s a rag. She pulled it out, and it was a banner on a stick.

“We unrolled it. I looked on the back of it and then I said, ‘That’s my great uncle’s name on the back, Charlie Johnson.'”

Other names — on 42 hand-sewn tags — looked familiar to Dickinson. Broughton, Lyman, Boldman, Dumas — she read them out, and within short order the group realized that, whatever they’d found, it definitely wasn’t a rag.

“When I saw the name, Frank Bauers, that was a clue that what we had dated to World War I,” Dickinson says, explaining that Bauers, who died overseas of wounds in 1918, is the military member after which the local American Legion post is named.

The framed service banner, the whole package, was carefully rolled down through Main Street during Dayton, WA''s All Wheels Weekend

The framed service banner, the whole package, was carefully rolled down through Main Street during Dayton, WA”s All Wheels Weekend

What the  group had found was a service flag, a banner (in this case, hand-crafted) that honors family or community members who serve in the armed forces during any period of war or hostilities in which the U.S. is engaged. Such banners consist of a white field with a red border, a blue star representing each service member, and a gold star placed for one who died during service. The banner found at the Congregational church includes one gold star, for Bauers, 38 blue stars, two red crosses (for nurses) and a red triangle (spiritual or recreational service).

Frames for World War I Service Banner owned by First Congregational Church Dayton and framed by Wenaha Gallery

While the service banner weighs practically nothing, two frames, with Optium Museum Acrylic, result in 58 pounds of hanging weight.

“I recognized 20 or so of the 42 names on the back,” Dickinson says, “and I knew the descendants of them, mainly because my family has been here since the 1880s, 1890s. Although I have to admit when I saw the name John Rockhill, I was surprised. I always thought (local Dayton landmark) Rockhill was called that because it was a big rock, but it must have been named after John and his family.”

It was a find indeed, but a perplexing one, because while the group knew they couldn’t put the treasure back where they found it, they weren’t quite sure where to take it next.

“We carefully rolled it back up and consulted with people at the (historical) Depot,” Dickinson remembers. “We ended up keeping it there with their precious things,  folded it properly, and put it in a box with acid free paper. But I always had the idea of preserving it in such a way that we could get it out there, to the community, so that it could be seen.”

Considering that the Service Banner is 46 inches wide by 69 inches high, it is not small piece of conservation acrylic that needs to be measured and cut to fit -- twice -- one for each side.

Considering that the Service Banner is 46 inches wide by 69 inches high, it is not small piece of conservation acrylic that needs to be measured and cut to fit — twice — one for each side.

Dickinson’s idea approached reality this year, as she consulted with Lael Loyd, principal framer at Wenaha Gallery, regarding how feasible — and how much — it would be to frame the flag for both posterity and display. At 46 inches wide by 69 inches high, the banner — which needs to be seen on both sides — is no simple framing job.

Loyd consulted conservationists, designers, contractors, and other framing experts to come up with a plan, while Dickinson wrote letters to as many descendants of the names on the banner that she could find, requesting funds.

“People were really generous,” Dickinson says, “and I was able to raise two thirds of what we needed. The balance came from the Dayton Columbia County Fund, a local organization that supports projects like this.”

During the two hours that the service banner was on outdoor display, during Dayton's All Wheels weekend, two volunteers supported it from both sides. Once the stand has been completed by a local artisan, this will no longer be necessary!

During the two hours that the service banner was on outdoor display, during Dayton’s All Wheels weekend, two volunteers supported it from both sides. Once the stand has been completed by a local artisan, this will no longer be necessary!

Loyd, meanwhile, was trying to figure out a way to hang the flag between two — very large — pieces of Optium Museum Acrylic, which she describes as top in the industry for protection and conservation. But she didn’t want the fabric pressed between the acrylic; she wanted it hanging, as naturally as possible, at the same time ensuring that the textile was sealed and framed for protection.

Added to the challenge is that the banner, while she worked on it, was rarely laid flat, but hung, requiring the (white gloved) hands of two or three assistants. “Everything was pieced together as the banner was standing upright,” Loyd says. “We didn’t want it laying flat with the weight of the acrylic on one side or the other.

“It’s all about preserving for generations to come.”

That it is, and the finished project is slated for a semi-permanent home at American Legion Post 42 museum on Clay Street in Dayton, with Dickinson envisioning it being loaned out to interested parties upon request.

“We want this banner, this piece of history, to be out where the public and community can see it,” Dickinson says.

“By far, it’s the best thing we’ve ever found up in the church attic.”

Wenaha GalleryThe Service Banner of the Dayton First Congregational Church will be on display at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, June 22 through Saturday, July 11.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

 

Handcarved Eagle Flute by Wenaha Guest Artist Roger McGee.

The Sensual Flutist — Roger McGee Hand-Carves an Ancient Instrument

Handcarved Eagle Flute by Wenaha Guest Artist Roger McGee.

Handcarved Eagle Flute by Wenaha Guest Artist Roger McGee.

The hauntingly beautiful music of Native American musicians Carlos Nakai and Mary Youngblood is nothing short of sublime. And while neither Grammy Award winner is a resident of Oregon or Washington state, some of the flutes that they have played originated in the studio of Roger McGee, a master flute maker from Joseph, OR.

Egret bronze sculpture by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee

Egret bronze sculpture by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee

“What a fine and gentle artist this man is,” Youngblood described McGee. “(The flute is) almost Georgia O’Keefish . . . very sensual and so carefully carved.”

McGee, who has created more than 1,000 custom, hand-made flutes, is a professional sculptor of 35 years standing, making his initial mark as an artist of western and wildlife bronzework. As a Vietnam War veteran, he considers it a high honor to have created four monuments placed in the Pacific Northwest, including the Jonathan Wainwright statue at the Veterans Medical Center in Walla Walla, Peo Peo Mox Mox near the Marc Hotel in the same town, and the VFW Globe in Salem, OR.

The path to creating Native American-style flutes, he explains, was a winding one. Like most artists, McGee listens to a variety of music for inspiration while working in his studio.

Detail from hand carved Horsehead Flute by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee

Detail from hand carved Horsehead Flute by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee

“I was particularly captivated by the haunting sounds of the Native American flute and wanted to learn as much as possible about this small instrument with the powerful voice.

“I was inspired to make a Native flute, and the awesome sound of the flute that I made captured my soul. It has changed my life and given me a new way to express myself with my art.”

Now, in addition to his bronzework, McGee has added the intricate detail of hand making, one at a time, highly individualized Native American flutes, an instrument with a history dating back reportedly 60,000 years (they are said to be the third oldest known musical instrument in the world). McGee creates all artwork, painting, woodwork and sculpture on his flutes free hand, burning the holes in with a hot metal rod.

Not Forgotten Bison bronze sculpture by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee

Not Forgotten Bison bronze sculpture by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee

“I guess you could say that I follow where the artistic spirits guide me,” McGee says, adding that he not only makes the flutes, but plays them — with two CDs to his credit — as well as teaches others how to do so.

“Over the phone, I taught a Navaho Indian (Fred ‘Yellowknife’ Keams) how to make and play flutes . . . I also taught a Buddhist Monk (Park Jin Hong) from South Korea how to play the flute using Skype and the Internet!” McGee sells his flutes throughout the world, with other noted names who play McGee’s instruments including Grammy Award nominee Peter Phippen and recording artists Robert Mirabal and John Two-Hawks.

Inlaid shells, buffalo teeth, carved totems, feathers, beads, and paint are all part of the customized creations, with themes ranging from rattlesnakes and scorpions to horses and bears. In 2013, McGee won the Best Cultural Heritage Award at the Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts for his Stone Crushed Inlayed American Flute, and in past years, his work has captured Directors Choice awards.

Detail from White Canoe hand carved flute by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee

Detail from White Canoe hand carved flute by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee

As beautiful as the flutes are to look upon, however, their ultimate test takes place in the playing, and McGee’s numerous clients have much to say about the creator, and what he creates.

“The beauty and soulful sincerity of this amazing instrument is only surpassed by the incredible artist who created it,” one musician writes on McGee’s website.

“The tone is amazing,” another fan said, describing how her husband, not knowing that she was playing her newly-purchased instrument, marveled at how much she had improved. “The flute made the sound jump a quantum leap — I sure wasn’t doing anything else much differently. The flute’s voice is just awesome.”

In his spare time, which he somehow finds despite a fulltime art schedule side-by-side with that of his wife, cut paper artist Cheri McGee, Roger has lately taken on refurbishing a totem pole, which when repaired, will return to the Creating Memories Camp for Disabled Children in Joseph. At the moment, the pole is in pieces as McGee fixes broken parts, fills cracks, sands, paints, and reassembles.

It’s all part of following that artistic muse, one that entered his life when he was the youngest of nine children growing up in the deep South, always using his hands to make things.

“It was easier to make myself a toy than it was to wait to get a store-bought one,” McGee remembers. “I have been very blessed!”

Wenaha GalleryRoger and Cheri McGee are the featured artists at Wenaha Gallery’s Art Event from Monday, May 18 through Saturday, June 27, at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA. There is a reception for both artists on Saturday, May 23 from 10:30 a.m. (immediately after the town Memorial Day parade) until 2:30 p.m. Roger will play the flute during the reception. Free refreshments are provided.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

Palus Museum historical site in Dayton WA showcasing the Palouse Indians Lewis and Clark and the pioneering homesteaders

Honoring an Ingenious People – The Palus Museum Celebrates the Heritage of the Palouse Indians

 

Palus Museum historical site in Dayton WA showcasing the Palouse Indians Lewis and Clark and the pioneering homesteaders

A large painting of Palouse Falls, surrounded by displays of artifacts, greets visitors as the enter the Palus Museum

We live in an area rich with history, steeped with the life stories of brave, hardworking people.

Frequently, those of us who reside in the West now associate those brave, hardworking people with the pioneers, many of whom did not make it here without losing someone along the way. But history goes back further than that, and before there were pioneers, there were brave, hardworking people who eventually lost a way of life: the Cayuse, the Nez Perce, the Umatilla, and the Palouse.

Palus Museum historical site in Dayton WA showcasing the Palouse Indians Lewis and Clark and the pioneering homesteaders

A thoughtful coyote and bronzework take viewers to a different place and time at the Palus Museum.

It is for this reason — that life changes, and we do not want to obscure or forget the past, and we wish to bring honor to those who live in the present — that a group of local people in Dayton joined together to create the Blue Mountain Heritage Society in 1999, with a focal interest to engage the public in the rich and diverse regional history of Columbia County and its environs. And one of principal people in this rich history are the Palouse Indians.

A small tribe in Southeastern Washington and Northern Idaho that was culturally related to the Nez Perce, the Palouse (or Palus) “were a very smart people and a very strong people,” according to Rose Engelbrite, one of the founding members of the society and the manager of the Palus Museum in Dayton.

“The things they had to make and do just in order to survive were very involved, from making shoes and arrowheads to gathering food.”

A hand woven basket, a baby carrier, and a trunk dating from 1812 are a link to the past at the Palus Museum.

A hand woven basket, a baby carrier, and a trunk dating from 1812 are a link to the past at the Palus Museum.

The museum, which possesses an unpretentious exterior that belies the treasures within, is home to numerous and diverse artifacts, from beadwork to handspun rope, bone hairpieces, clothing, hand crafted tools, a medicine bag, and — the foundation upon which the collection was started — arrowheads gleaned from the area by local resident Wayne Casseday.

“Collecting artifacts was a hobby of his, and he wanted other people to see them,” Engelbrite explains. “He asked us if we would be interested to set up a place where these could be shown and not be stored away out of sight.”

Palus Museum historical site in Dayton WA showcasing the Palouse Indians Lewis and Clark and the pioneering homesteaders

From the outside, Palus Museum gives no clue to the historical treasures within.

The arrowheads are all colors and sizes, painstakingly and skillfully crafted for their specific purpose, testament to the artistry and personality of their makers. One of Engelbrites favorite artifacts, however, looks like a long, slim rock, about the size of a small foot, and slightly curved, just like a foot. This is no accident, she says, but further evidence of the Palouse Indians’ astute resourcefulness.

“It’s a last,” she explains, “which is an object that shoemakers build their shoes around. Back then (the 1800s, and earlier) many shoes did not have a right shoe and a left shoe, but it was the same shape for both feet.

Barbed Wire at the Palus Museum

Who would guess that there could be so many varieties of barbed wire?

“The Palouse Indians used this last which has a light curve at the top, so they were able to make one shoe, a right one, and then flip over the last and make a left one.

“As I say, they were an ingenious people.”

The Palouse were noted horse breeders and traders — the Appaloosa, with its distinctive spotted coat, drawing its name from that of the tribe. Numbering around 1,600 during the expedition of Lewis and Clark, the Palouse tribe migrated between Palouse Falls in the winter, where the fishing was plenty, to the Dayton area in the summer, where they collected berries.

But as we know, with the advent of explorers, trappers, and pioneers from the east, this way of life drastically changed, and two cultures clashed until the Palouse, dwindling in size, no longer roamed the land they once lived. The museum itself addresses the issue, with exhibits featuring relics from both the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the pioneering homesteaders.

Set next to a woven cooking basket made from cedar root and cedar root skin is a small, handmade trunk, consisting of rawhide and fur over wood and lined with newspaper dated 1812. An annex to the museum houses the homestead room, with butter churns, washboards, a cast iron wood stove and an impressive display of the many styles of barbed wire used for fencing.

Most of the historical items are local, donated by families of the area, interested in the historical society’s mission and eager to contribute so that the past, though it is in the past, will have its place in the present.

“This is the history of the area in which we live,” Engelbrite says, “and it is a part of all our heritage.”

Wenaha GalleryThe Palus Museum, at 426 E. Main, is located two blocks from Wenaha Gallery in Dayton, WA, and is well worth a visit to view. Admission to the museum is free, with donations gratefully accepted. The museum is open Fridays and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, contact Rose at 509.337.8875, or contact the historical society through its Facebook Page.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.