Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kashari "Clown"

Since I was a child growing up in Arizona the Native American culture and the Spirit of the Kachina Dolls have fascinated me. I would draw pictures of the religious symbols with bright colors and spend hours telling stories of my dolls powers. When I got much older I learned that what I thought were just play dolls for a little girl were actually "messengers" from the spiritual worked who brought rain and fertility to the Hopi people. I have always been drawn to the desert lands and not really understanding why. This last year my husband and I moved to Arizona. I am glad to be home. With this in mind and with all respect...set out to create my first fabric Kachina. I realize that the art of making a Kachina is done by Native Artist and traditionally carved out of cottonwood that is then painted.
I love the story of Ogre Kachina (Clown Kachina). My mother would tell me that even though this doll was a "sacred clown"; their job was to scare children into obeying parents (Elders). The Ogre Kachina ate bad little children! But because parents always love their children so much they would stop the Ogre and promise the children would do better. Then my mother would laugh and tell me other stories about how the Kashair or Tewa, (other names for the Pueblo clowns) would be naughty themselves by eating large amounts of watermelon, being very loud and playing tricks on everyone. With this display of "bad" behavior the Kashari would help the community see through exaggeration and taking things to extreme actions by one person can hurt the unity of the tribe.
So with the Kachina season (late December to July) I decided to make my own conception of the Kashari. I drafted and designed this doll. I really enjoyed making the Moccasins even if there was a lot of muslin mock-ups before I had a finished pair. I wanted to share this with all of you during this traditional religious time.
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  1. I love your Kachina creation. I used to run a Gallery in Tombstone, AZ. We lived there for 10 years until I got sick and tired of getting stung by the scorpions. Ewwww.... Hate those little buggers.
    You have wonderful imagination and creations. I will visit often

  2. Wonderful creation and thanks for sharing the history too.