Please join us on Saturday February 24, 2018 to enjoy a basketry demonstration with artist Kathy Vance. The demonstration will be held from 11am to 1pm.
Kathleen (Kathy) Vance is of Tohono O’odham and San Carlos Apache lineage and calls the southern Arizona desert home. Primarily raised on the Tohono O’odham Nation she has been culturally influenced by a community of people who respect and value the Himdag (O’odham lifeways). In 2003, with other womenfolk, Kathy began working with Alicia Bustamante of S-Gogoksik community located in northern Mexico which is historically O’odham country. She was one of the few remaining traditional O’odham potters. With Alicia, Kathy leaned the basic fundamentals of the anvil and paddle method. Alicia encouraged Kathy to not give up and reassured her that great potters have humble beginnings and that each setback is actually growth in this tradition. After Alicia unexpectedly passed away, Kathy remembered her words and in earnest began to work on pots again and began to also teach what she knew to a few friends. She participated in demonstrations at the Heard Indian Market, the Himdag Ki Cultural Center and Museum, and at local schools and other events.
Kathy met Reuben Naranjo who became a resource and mentor to her. Together they demonstrated at the Arizona State Museum. In addition, Reuben was able to share his personal knowledge about pottery with Kathy who continued to refine her pottery techniques. Earlier this year Kathy and four other women were fortunate to participate in a pilot project with the Southwest Folklife Alliance. For fun, the group called themselves, “The Pothead Society.” Reuben was their teacher for a six week period at the Nation’s Himdag Ki Cultural Center and Museum. This was an opportunity to focus on all aspects of O’odham pottery such as collection, processing, technique, painting and firing. Reuben impressed on the group they would become the teachers and would be instrumental in continuing this tradition. The group publically presented “Clay Stories” to share their experience. Kathy was approached by the Topawa Community to share her knowledge about clay and pottery making. She was able to work with community members from kindergarten age to elders, which she very much enjoyed.