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Spirit Talkers: Masks and Feather Fans
“Every life experience, every time we learn something new and understand, we are further enlightened. A goal...? Maybe in a small and quiet way, my "Spirit Talkers" will teach others to reconnect with nature.” Tyanne
Tyanne is an artist who lives her life in the awareness that “there are no accidents”. From childhood, Tyanne always made art and requested her parents send her to art school. What the artist describes as “harsh realities” prevented such education from happening, and perhaps sharpened the awareness which imbued her character of living in harmony with the universe. This was a harmony of recognition of where she was and what she could do.
Over the years, Tyanne’s career manifested in diverse ways so indicative of the pragmatic American character. She recounts: “harsh realities didn't include such frivolous things. I have never had any formal training. Even in high school there were no art classes offered. However, art in one form another has always been part of my life. I have always drawn, written poetry, designed clothes, made homemade soap.
· I was a hairdresser in the 70's, and involved in competition styling.
· In my 20's I designed and sewed several wedding gowns.
· When I was a kid, I helped my mother make Mardi-Gras masks. These were actually huge heads. I played a lot with paper-Mache.
· In the 70's and early 80's I did all the flowers for several weddings. All the arrangements, bouquets, corsages, etc., and my favorite... the bridal bouquet.
· I owned a dance, aerobic and lingerie store, and put on big fashion shows way before Victoria's Secret!
· I spent 15 years as a painting contractor, with a specialty in faux painting and murals.
· I spent 5 years as an interior design specialist in a home decor business.
· For 40 years I have been a closet landscape architect, which has given me countless opportunities to design and execute beautiful lawns and gardens for friends and loved ones.
· I've created 3-D art pieces that I call 'Naturescapes', some small and some very large, that grace several friends homes.
· Most recently, I've been oil painting and playing a little with pottery.”
Here is an artist who concurs with John Keats: “Beauty is its own excuse for being.” Perhaps if Tyanne had been exposed to formal art training, she would not have developed the mélange of aptitudes which always, instantly, advise her: “When I see something, I know instantly how I can use it.” So, Tyanne is a collector of gifts from nature, and people also bring her things.
She also adapts usage of things, such as the feathers. While her Native American brethren keep bird feathers closed, Tyanne has taught herself to position them in an open form, as if in flight.
Tyanne explains: “Within Native American belief systems regarding ‘Animal Medicine’, or ‘Totem Magic’, it has been taught that every animal exhibits patterns of habit that teach us specific lessons regarding how to heal or how to live. When calling upon and drawing strength from an animal’s power, we are …in harmony with their essence… which leads to healing or understanding.
As an artist, my incorporation of these ‘medicine traits’ by way of a ‘story’ attached to each mask seemed only natural. I have long been an eccentric collector of ‘natural artifacts’, as well as of books and information regarding Native American Medicinal Knowledge and Shamanism.
When I first decided to put them all together in the form of what I call “Shaman Masks,” it not only made perfect sense to me, but it felt right. It meant I could give meaning to my collection. I could utilize the ancient knowledge I’ve learned about my ‘artifacts’
I started my masks about 12 years ago. I was teaching a young lady how to make papier mache, and we decided to make a mask. I decorated mine with some of the stuff lying around my studio, and the idea grew from there. My collection of stuff (artifacts) started a long time ago... probably 35 - 40 years. Every trip to the beach meant at least one bucket of sand, bags of rocks, shells, sticks & seaweed. Camping trips in the woods meant logs, limbs, stumps, moss, weird bugs & snake skins... I grew up on the beach, and moved later to the mountains. I saved little birds that died in the woods and on my front porch from hitting the window.
It also became quite fun in my studio as they began forming personalities and answering me as I constantly talked to them. Their names…? I don’t know that they mean a thing…! They just came to us together in nods of agreement.
Shaman Masks are an artistic expression of …the ancient practice of mask making, combined with the ancient knowledge of animal magic… that together give them personality, and make them come alive. My masks are purely artistic impression and expression. They do not represent any indigenous group or belief system in any way.
I also would like to offer apologies to my Native brothers and sisters if I have offended in any way. I am not of native heritage, nor have I been taught in your ways, so if there are inaccuracies, please forgive, and know that my motives and methods are pure.
I think they’re fun and eccentric beings who might help us transform by listening to their lessons.
Same with the fans….
Tyanne writes: “Feathers are traditional messengers and communicators of energy. When feather fans are used to smudge, they are directing energies to communicate with our self-healing and self-strengthening abilities“
Fans can be used for group or personal smudging, and are useful energizers just by themselves. Large feather fans can be very effective journey aids.
Tyanne’s affinity for harbingers of the spirits talking dates back to her long residence in Montana during which time she often had the occasion to attend Pow Wows, even those of the peoples of all nations.
For Tyanne, art is play and play is art.
The James Ratliff Gallery has fifty years’ experience in the cultivation, exhibition and representation of contemporary art and artists.
For further information about Tyanne, contact the James Ratliff Gallery:
email: FineArt@jamesratliffgallery.com; www.jamesratliffgallery.com