Certain travel destinations perfectly suit some individuals. Every place offers its own rewards and lessons through various combinations of climates and cultures. Retreat leader Brecia Kralovic-Logan is one of those rare individuals who could find beauty and comfort in any location, but after interviewing her we’re pretty sure that the desert is her happy place.
From Native American weaving to lightning storms to the spiritual undertone that fuels all artistic creation, enjoy Arts and Cultural Travel’s second interview with this amazing woman:
Hi Brecia, we’re so happy to interview you about your upcoming art retreat in Taos, New Mexico. Last time we spoke about travel you said “One of my favorite things about traveling is finding that people everywhere respond to the urge to create. It reminds me to be aware of what my surroundings have to offer in the way of inspiration and raw material.” What inspiration and raw material are you looking forward to exploring in New Mexico?
New Mexico is aptly called the “Land of Enchantment.” Every time I have been there I have fallen under the spell of the landscape and the sky as they seem to create an ongoing dance of color and texture. Everything there seems so tremendous to me: The clouds, the desert, even the feel of the air. I’m fascinated by the sense of movement and there is a kind of intimacy that invites you to look closer. I get chills just thinking about it! There is an aliveness- That’s what I’m looking forward to. A connection with all of that sky and space.
It seems fitting that you as a multi-faceted artist specializing in fiber would be paired with this unique trip and location – one that focuses on multicultural and multi-dimensional expressions of creativity. How are you planning on using your unique style and skill set in conjunction with the planned itinerary?
I am a passionate basket maker. Taos has a rich history of Native art including basketry. My style is very contemporary and non-traditional and I encourage self expression in my workshops. I’m excited about offering basket making that includes the Ojos de Dios- or God’s Eye technique as that will create a bridge for us between tradition and creative exploration. I’m also looking forward to teaching some simple weaving techniques that will allow us to create an amulet bag. There is so much rich metaphor and symbolism that will allow us to spiral into our creative centers. I’m very happy that I’ll be able to share concepts from my book- The Spiral of Creativity and plan to include writing and ritual along with art making on our journey.
How – if at all – has deserts and open spaces influenced your life and/or art?
Funny you should ask . . . I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona which was then surrounded by seemingly endless desert. I spent time playing, hiking, and camping in places that seemed barren at first glance but in fact they were teeming with life. I learned to slow down and look closely, to pay attention and to appreciate the richness of life in the desert. I moved out of the desert but years later, the desert colors still dominate my signature work. I’m obsessed with copper and turquoise! I adore the colors of the sunsets I remember from my childhood, and the summer lightning storms. The last time I was in New Mexico it hailed in July! The clouds and ever changing sky were magnificent and it touched something very deep inside of me.
Getting back to raw materials, one of the projects planned for the trip is reed dying. Can you discuss reed dying and your experience with dying in general?
I absolutely adore creating color and consider dyeing one of my main passions. I love all kinds of dyeing but have really fallen head over heels in love with natural dyeing. I’ve explored quite a bit and love the connection with plants that both natural dyeing and basket making provide. I mostly use natural dye methods with fabric and yarn. There are specialty dyes for reed but I use Rit Dye, which works fantastic to create bright and glorious colors. For years now I have had my students help dye the reed for my basket classes. It’s fabulous to see how 30 unique looking baskets are created from the same pool of colorful reed. I do love working with natural materials for basketry but adding the color element is just so much fun! I look forward to sharing the spark in Taos.
One of the trip’s planned workshops focuses on creating carrying vessels – and then ties them into other projects throughout the week. Would you consider this art or craft? Can art in a traditional sense be functional?
At this point in my creative journey I have been engaged in the discussion of art versus craft for decades! I don’t make a distinction anymore. Both can involve creativity, imagination, expression, and emotional impact. Either can be functional or not. I place value on originality. I find a work of art or craft most compelling when the maker has breathed a bit of their spirit into it. It might be an object that is similar to others but the piece has an impact when it is formed out of the maker’s individuality.
Much of the art associated with this region is extremely spiritual – either with Native American or Christian influence. Without getting into your personal beliefs – can you speak of spirituality and religious insignia in art and how that can change perception of it?
Art and ritual are essential components of religious practice and expression of our individual and collective spirituality. I studied Depth Psychology at Pacifica Institute and I’m a fan of Joseph Campbell’s work on mythology. Symbols, rituals, images- all speak to our soul or subconscious self. When we are exposed to different cultures we are called to approach their sacred symbols with respect.
I once took a weaving workshop with Pearl Sunrise, a Navajo master weaver. She considered weaving a sacred act. She chanted prayers and blessed the looms with burning sage before we could begin. This ritual changed the way that I experienced my weaving. Pearl was an adamant spokesperson for preserving the use of her cultures sacred symbols. She made us aware of how reproductions of rugs that used Navajo sacred symbols were an affront to her culture.
We as people imbue images and symbols with meaning as a part of our enculturation. As we explore art in Taos, we can share our different perspectives on the images and symbols that have meaning in our lives.
Anything else you would like participants to know about you or this exciting adventure?
I grew up surrounded by Native American culture in the desert. When I was 12 years old I won a poster contest for the Heard Museum of Native Culture and Art in Phoenix. I drew a picture of a Navajo loom made from hand hewn wood logs with a half woven rug on it. I was presented with an authentic Kachina for my school. Weaving, art, the desert, and Native culture are all a part of my inner landscape. They all shaped me, influencing me in ways that I am continually discovering as I evolve ways to express myself. I currently live in the Pacific Northwest in the land of green and water flowing everywhere. Traveling invites us to enter into a new space, a new landscape, and in doing so, we also have the opportunity to explore our inner landscapes and discover more of what fuels our spirit.
Brecia’s upcoming retreat with Arts and Cultural Travel, Weaving Your Creative Life, is October 27 – November 2 2016 in Taos, New Mexico. Space is limited, please contact us today to reserve your spot!
More information about Brecia can be found on her website, BreciaCreative.com.