Artist’s Biography

I am of mixed Lenni Lenape (Delaware), Shawnee, Cherokee and European heritage. I was born in Kansas into a family of artists, writers and musicians. I studied art in California at Ventura College, Moorpark college and Golden Gate University and have continued to study various media throughout my life. I began weaving about 20 years ago with a group of California Native weavers in Ventura. When I retired and moved to the Northwest in 2004, I began lessons with Kathy Ervin of Sequim. I learned much about local materials and how to use them in weaving. I also wove with Northwest Native weavers who were very generous and patient in teaching me.

While at a weaving event on the Lummi Reservation I met Jacque Rickard, a Walker River Paiute. We  quickly became friends. She taught me the Paiute style of weaving a pine needle basket and covering
it with peyote beadwork. Jacque makes traditional Paiute baskets – her beadwork is beautiful and
colorful, and typically uses geometric shapes. I wanted to put my own cultural stamp on the beaded
baskets and that’s how my story baskets were born.

Aside from basketry, I am best known for my 17-foot sculpture, Wheel Totem Pole, which was commissioned by the City of Ventura, California. It stands at the entrance to Foster Park in that city.

I have shown paintings and basketry in many galleries and shows including in California (Meisel Gallery in Santa Barbara, Simi Valley Cultural Center, and the Art Center in Ojai) and in Washington State (Ancestral Spirits in Port Townsend and Randolph Fredrick Gallery in Port Angeles). In 2004 I was one of the featured artists at the University of California’s Native Artists Exhibit. I have also done commissions for the National Park Service, and for a mythologist and collectors across the United States and Canada.

I have been a member of Front Street Gallery, an artist co-op in Poulsbo, where my work has been shown for the past six years. I am also a member of Northwest Basket Weavers, Vi Phillips Basketry Guild and Northwest Native American Basketweavers. My studio is located on the property I share with my husband Joseph in Poulsbo, Washington where I raise and collect most of my materials.


Artist’s Statement

I am a dream weaver. I take what I see in nature, in fellow humans and in my dreams and I weave it
into my art. To my way of thinking, art is a sacred process. It is one way we are like the Creator: we create. 

I am Delaware, Shawnee, Cherokee and European. Teachers from other tribes have given me the right to weave in the style of their people. I am considered a master weaver in the Paiute style of peyote beading over a pine needle basket. 

In the Delaware Indian language, Lenape, the name of the Creator is Kishelemukong - literally “The One Who Created Everything from Thinking.” As a sort of ancient practice of visualization, we are taught
to be mindful of our thoughts as Kishelemukong will hear them and bring into reality what we are thinking. 

With that in mind, my elders taught me that as I weave, I must hold good thoughts. If I become angry or upset, I must put down my work and come back to it when I have regained “balance.” As I weave I often pray that whoever will eventually own my work will love it as much as I have loved making it. Sometimes people pick up my work and say that “it just feels good.” I believe that such people are sensitive to the dreams and prayers of healing, peace and abundance woven into each piece. 

I hope that you enjoy the work I share with you. When we have a chance, I will invite you to pick up a basket and feel it, smell it, turn it over and look at the bottom. They are not fragile and are meant to be a joy to all the senses.

More Exhibitions

Along the Pioneer Highway, (towards Conway)

Pamela Wachtler: Impressions of Place

John Kenyon Ellis Bistro
October 13 - February 03, 2019
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BIMA@5: Selections from the Permanent Art Collection

Jon and Lillian Lovelace Gallery
October 13 - February 03, 2019
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