indian jewelry

              Native Artist Pablita Verlarde, Santa Clara Pueblo

              Pablita Verlarde, explains she became a painter. "In the beginning it was half a way to make a little money just so I
              could survive tomorrow, but I wasn't in it for the money. I was doing it because I wanted to do it. If I sold a
              painting, fine. I liked making pictures, whether anybody liked them or not."

              Verlarde's commitment to painting mattered deeply enough to emerge as a factor in her divorce from Herbert
              Hardin after seventeen years of marriage. Hardin objected to his wife's career. Citing his opposition as the
              principal reason for their separation, Verlarde alluded in an interview with Samuel Gray to the frustration and
              depression she experienced when she was unable to paint. The reasons for her unhappiness may be clarified with
              respect to the processes that stimulated her creativity, which she discussed with Seymour in the mid-1980s.

              Her own words describe a dream-like state of consciousness that inspired her to paint, arising at times from
              actual dreams and a subconscious level of thought, but also produced as an immediate or after-effect of attending
              ceremonial events. Verlarde characterized the sense of beauty and satisfaction she took away from those
              experiences as the most rewarding component of her art, and recalled that imagery often took shape in her
              imagination during those times. Lingering impressions of dreams and dances would recur as persistent memories
              that she felt irresistibly moved to give visible form.

              It is something you either dream in your sleep, or you have it in your subconscious mind, and it just comes out. And
              you want to do it. So you do it.... When I go to the ceremonies, I listen to the chants and listen to what they are
              saying, and that is the most beautiful part, to listen. Then you drift off into a dream world, and it makes pictures
              in your head. You remember those nice thoughts when you get back home. Your heart is still pounding with the
              rhythm after you leave the place. And you lock it up someplace in your head. As time goes on, when you get a quiet
              moment, you begin to think of those things. And they begin to haunt you, so you have to do something about it. That
              is the way I do things; I just keep remembering.

              Spectatorship has been cited by a number of painters as a key source of inspiration, and as Verlarde's remarks
              suggest, witnessing as well as dancing may act as a vehicle for inducing intensely imaginative mental states. This
              association may be traced to the dynamic, effective agency attributed to thought and psychological activity in
              Pueblo and many other Native American worldviews. Attendance and spectatorship are regarded as active
              participation, so that viewers as well as dancers are seen as contributing with their moods, thoughts, and
              imaginative engagement to the purpose and success of the rite. As Jill Sweet observes in her study of Tewa dance,
              attendance does not involve passive watching in the Western theatrical sense, but a quite different state of
              awareness which she calls "active listening." Copyright 2012

              Deats, L. Contemporary Native American Artists. 2012.
              Reno, D. Contemporary Native American Artists. 1995.
              Schaaf, G. American Indian Jewelry I: 1200 Artist Biographies. 2003.
                Pablita Verlarde