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18th Northwest Native Art exhibit on now at State of the Arts in Olympia

Post by Rosemary Ponnekanti / The News Tribune on Aug. 16, 2010 at 11:42 am with No Comments »
August 16, 2010 11:42 am


Button blanket by Nancee Wood. Photo courtesy State of the Arts gallery.

In the wake of “In the Spirit,” the annual Native art festival and exhibit at the Washington State History Museum (the festival’s gone, but the show’s still up through Sept. 19), comes the 18th Northwest Native Art exhibit at State of the Arts gallery in downtown Olympia. The show this year features work by Lori Boess (ceremonial drums and feathered fans), Jennifer Wood (drums), Meleno Lovato and Ken Mayberry (carvings) and prints by various other artists.

As well, there’s a button blanket by artist Nancee Wood, who’s married to a Sammamish tribal member and has studied and created works of art to honor her family’s heritage.

Says Wood: “There are many different accounts regarding the history and origins of the modern button blankets of the Northwest Costal Tribes. The story I was originally told states that Russian fur traders brought wool and felt blankets to trade with the native tribes for their furs (another version claims that the Hudson Bay fur traders were the source of material and that the blankets themselves were made of duffel material). Typically these blankets were black, red or blue in color.
Native peoples typically made use of whatever materials were available to create new and interesting things, so the native peoples began using different colored blankets and shell buttons to create designs on the blankets. Over time, button blanket designs became more intricate. Due to the time and effort involved in creating these works of art, button blankets became highly valued as ceremonial wear.”

The 18th Northwest Native art show runs through the end of September at State of the Arts gallery, 500 Washington St. SE, Olympia. Hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Free. 360-705-0317, www.thestateofthearts.com

“In the Spirit: Northwest Native Arts exhibit” is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday through Sept. 19 at the Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma. $25 families/$8 adults/$7 seniors/$6 students, military/free for five and under, and 2-8 p.m. third Thursdays. 888- BE THERE, www.washingtonhistory.org

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