The American Southwest is one of my favorite places (I even wrote a book about it…), and I was thrilled to be able to spend some of the summer in Arizona this year. One of my dreams was to bring my children to the Navajo and Hopi reservations in northeastern Arizona and southern Utah.
As Americans, I feel it’s important for all of us to understand how Native American peoples lived in the past (even in the relatively recent past), and also how they live today. We were humbled and privileged to be able to visit several homes and villages of these generous people, and to truly understand how they reconcile the past and present in their daily lives.
If you haven’t visited the reservations, GO. It is a wonderful way to enjoy some of the most striking and beautiful landscapes of North America, and to come face-to-face with native artists preserving the traditions of their ancestors.
I’ve spent time in the Southwest and taken pottery classes from Mark Tahbo who lives in 3rd Mesa in Pollaca, AZ. He learned pottery from his grandmother who was a famous potter related to Nampeyo. I agree with you that it is a special experience to visit the pueblos. I’ve been to San idelfonso and Santa Clara several times over the years. I am a potter and I collect Native American pottery. My grandmother was Native American and I am proud to be a member of the Citizen Band Potawatomi Nation although my blood degree is very low. I just got back 2 days ago from a month in northern Italy and used your books for Venetzia and Firenze for names of artisans. We are collecting Comedia del’arte masks each time we visit Venice. We also bought a wooden sculpture of a gondola prow that is lovely. We got to watch the artist in his workshop. I loved your book The Gondola Maker. Now when I see gondolas I have so much more understanding about how they are made. Thank you so much and keep writing your novels!
Wow, what an impressive range of knowledge you have about traditional craftsmanship! I would love to see pictures of the items you’ve collected; you can feel free to email them to me. Many thanks for taking the time to share your experience! –Laura