Get Me to School EARLY — The Breaking-the-Rules Art of Brenda Trapani

Faithful Friends original watercolor India ink and colored pencil drawing by Brenda Trapani
Faithful Friends, original watercolor, India ink and colored pencil painting by BrendaTrapani

Getting to school extra, extra early isn’t top priority with many children, but when Walla Walla painter Brenda Trapani was a girl, she made the proverbial early bird look like a sluggard.

“When I was little, we didn’t have money for art paper, markers, or any sort of drawing or painting materials,” Trapani explains. “When I went to school in the first grade, I found that if I came in early, my very creative teacher would let us draw on paper that was piled high, and use big ink markers that were in a shoe box.

Garden Pillars, original watercolor, India Ink, and colored pencil painting by Brenda Trapani.
Garden Pillars, original watercolor, India Ink, and colored pencil painting by Brenda Trapani.

“I didn’t have any of those at home, but I had time, and I couldn’t get to school early enough.”

Paper, pens, markers, pencils, brushes — throughout a childhood that Trapani describes as “shy and introverted” — the artist employed her creativity not only through drawing and painting, but in finding the material to do so, and no scrap of paper — especially the highly prized backs of used envelopes — escaped her.

“It has taken over 40 years for me to throw away an envelope or paper with a blank side, without habitually pausing and thinking about the doodling and scribbling it could hold,” Trapani says, adding that those childhood scraps of paper were direct answers to prayer, although she did not realize it at the time.

“I often didn’t think that God was even listening or helping,” Trapani remembers. “I was desperate. I didn’t pray for paper; I prayed for help.

Long Walks, original watercolor, India Ink, and colored pencil painting by Brenda Trapani.
Long Walks, original watercolor, India Ink, and colored pencil painting by Brenda Trapani.

“I prayed for things to get better in my life and home.

“God did not force His will by preventing people’s bad choices, but He gave me a way to escape — a way to cope — a way for things to be better for me.”

In fourth grade, Trapani’s interest in art solidified into a long-term, lifetime passion as she found herself in the classroom of teacher Anne Bullock, who created pottery and paintings founded in the skills of ancient, indigenous people. To a young girl, Bullock’s encouragement was life changing:

“Not only did she read  to us wonderful, insightful, imaginative and compellingly deep stories, she encouraged us to do the same.

Quiet Dwellings Peaceful Livings, original watercolor, India Ink, and colored pencil painting by Brenda Trapani.
Quiet Dwellings Peaceful Livings, original watercolor, India Ink, and colored pencil painting by Brenda Trapani.

“Write! Read! Draw! Speak! Express yourself! Share! Make a big deal out of simple things! Tell your story!”

Telling that story is something Trapani has been doing ever since, both through her artwork — which encompasses watercolor, India ink, colored pencils, and oil pastels — as well as through her “day job” as a massage therapist, a skill she has practiced for the last 27 years.

“Like art, massage is a quiet, sacred type of work,” Trapani says.  “People often hold their stories, memories, traumas, and joys inside. Massage can help get the bad effects of pain and trauma out.

“Art can do this as well.”

The Memories of This Lifetime, original watercolor, India ink, and colored pencil drawing by Brenda Trapani
The Memories of This Lifetime, original watercolor, India ink, and colored pencil drawing by Brenda Trapani

Because of her own challenging past, and the influence that adults like Bullock had upon her, Trapani donates her time and talent to the lives of others, and has taught art to children and teens in public and private settings, including the “Action Zone” drop-in care at the YMCA. She marvels at the impact that doing art has upon children, especially those she describes as being “sweet, but troubled.”

“I am reminded that art is a gift from God. It may not seem like an answer to a hurting child’s prayer, but since the family often isn’t well, and God does not force his will on people, God still hears the cries of the children.

“Even if they do not see it then, like myself, hopefully (they) will see God sent them powerful teachers, kind grandparents, at least one dependable parent, a cool college kid to look up to.”

If there is any statement that Trapani makes in her art, it is this — that God is real, and that He hears the cries of those who hurt. Another statement she makes is that there is no inflexibly right or wrong way to do things — people frequently comment that she uses paint, ink, and pens “incorrectly” — and it’s no use letting the perceived or potential criticisms of others get in one’s way.

As she tells the young people she teaches, if they have a dinner plate to put blobs of paint on, some wads of paper towel for a brush, and some scraps of paper — even the backs of envelopes — they can create art as unique as they are themselves.

“I feel sad when people say, ‘I wish I was artistic!’  or, ‘I don’t have any talent!’ That’s nonsense!”

And that’s commonsense encouragement from someone who knows how to draw — quite literally —  the most out of the back of a used envelope.

Wenaha GalleryBrenda Trapani is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA from Tuesday, September 22 through Saturday, October 17. Many of the works in Trapani’s Event were created using watercolor paints, India inks, and paper given to her by David Bullock, after the death of his wife, Anne Bullock, in 2014. “She was, and still is, in the lives of many of her former students,” Trapani says.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

 

Life Is a Journey — The Primitive Rock Art Paintings and Sculpture of Monica Stobie

Belle, by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.
Belle, by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

Some humans live for many many decades, while others measure their lifespan in moments. But all humans, whether or not they ever physically walk on the earth, leave a footprint. It is part of their journey.

A Little Attitude by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.
A Little Attitude by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

For fine artist Monica Stobie, the concept of a journey is simultaneously highly personal and sweepingly universal, embodying the distinctive experience of the individual in concomitance with the lives, stories, and existence of people throughout history. Stobie, whose subject matter — and passion — is rock art, creates pastel, oil, mixed media, collage, and sculpture that draw inspiration from the petroglyphs (pictures carved into rock or stone) and petrographs (pictures drawn or painted on a rock surface) of ancient people. Raised on an apple ranch in the Yakima Valley, Stobie was attracted from a young age to the symbolism and animal imagery of Native American culture, and when, years later, she stumbled upon rock art at a site near the Snake River, she was, as she phrases is, “hooked.”

Cowbird by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.
Cowbird by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

“I have traveled extensively, exploring rock art sites, which has given me an unlimited source of inspiration,” Stobie says. “I worked for several weeks one summer documenting rock art sites on private land. Having a Navajo guide provided a unique perspective on these ancient sites. “Hiking through harsh desert conditions gave me an understanding of a much more difficult time of survival for ancient peoples.”

Fly Away by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie
Fly Away by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie

Stobie translates this understanding, empathy, and fascination into two- and three-dimensional format, and over a professional art career spanning 30 years, she has evolved her technique and style through exploration of various mediums. “Originally, I worked with paper collage — kind of a paper marquetry –fitting different pieces of paper into a design, much like a puzzle.”

Constant experimentation with papers led to her discovery of Mexican bark cloth, a heavily textured paper made from indigenous tree bark that holds layers of rich pastel colors and texture. The next step was sculpture, in response to requests by various galleries carrying her work, and the most recent path is that of oil and mixed media. Throughout all the variance and experimentation, the research and exploration, however, the crux of the matter, which forms the basis of her pilgrimage through both life and art, remains constant:

“When I look at the journey, the prevailing theme of textures, primitive imagery, and animals are prominent,” Stobie observes. She loves the mystery of it all. Life is, after all, a mystery to and for all of us, with none of us knowing where the next step will lead.

Red Hills by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie
Red Hills by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie

In Stobie’s case, art has been a part of her life since early childhood, when she learned under the aegis of her grandmother, a watercolorist.  Early school experiences reinforced a fledgling artistry, when a second-grade teacher praised Stobie’s interpretation of a bird as a sign of outstanding creativity. Adulthood found her graduating from Eastern Washington University with a degree in Art Education, which she put to use for 15 years teaching junior and senior high art in Walla Walla, WA, and Milton-Freewater, OR. Moving to Dayton, WA, coincided with the decision to turn her steps to a new path, one that plumbed the adventures of independent, full time, professional fine art.

Whispers by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie
Whispers by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie

“Working in a converted bedroom turned into a studio, I began my trek to carve a place in the art world,” Stobie says.

Given her chosen subject matter, it is ironically appropriate that Stobie chooses the word “carve.” The impact she has made extends far from her Dayton venue, as she shows and sells her work to a diverse and widespread clientele.

“During the span of my career I have shown in galleries, mostly throughout the Northwest but also Wyoming, Colorado, and California. In recent years, fellow artist Jill Ingram and I managed our own gallery in Dayton.”

And now, it’s a new adventure, a new direction on the path as Stobie and her husband prepare to move to the Southwest, using this new home as a base from which to travel.

As with all of life’s experiences, some things change, while others stay the same: in a new home, a new venue, a new adventure, the studio, for now, will start out in the familiar fashion of a converted bedroom. But it’s all part of the adventure. “And so,” Stobie proclaims, “a new journey begins.” Wenaha Gallery

Monica Stobie is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA from Saturday, August 22 through Saturday, September 19. An Artist’s Reception is scheduled Saturday, August 22, from 1 – 5 p.m. at the gallery, during which time Stobie will be present to meet viewers and talk about her art. Free refreshments are provided.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment.

Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

She Never Did Sell Wash Rags — The Oil Painting of Deborah Krupp

Bowls and Onions, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp
Bowls and Onions, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

When painter Deborah Krupp was a child, she proclaimed to the world in general that her goal, as an adult, was to sell wash rags and towels.

“Art and color and decorating and architecture have been a part of me from as early as I can remember,” Krupp, who eventually pursued a successful career in teaching, explains. “My mother would take us shopping in the department stores, and I remember holding her hand while we looked at the beautiful items, especially those in the linen department where there were red and blue and orange towels.

Impressionist Roses, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist, Deborah Krupp.
Impressionist Roses, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist, Deborah Krupp

“So I announced that when I grew up I was going to sell washrags and towels. It was a story that followed me through my life as my mother enjoyed telling it.”

Even though Krupp’s initial avocation declaration underwent significant change, her love for beauty, color, and artistry did not. During the years that she taught K-12, or served as fulltime librarian in the Nine Mile Falls School District outside of Spokane, Krupp lived, and taught, the internal skills that she would later draw upon in her painting.

“As an English teacher, I had the students sit and think before they started writing, and I instructed that they put their pencils down for ten minutes and just think about what they were going to do next,” Krupp remembers.

“As the year went on, the kids naturally started to put the pencils down themselves, and the classroom — which normally has its share of noise — was very quiet.

Beachy Dream, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp
Beachy Dream, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

“I rather believe that this is the same need we have in art. I think much of it is a matter of thinking to get into the feel, and that you have a peace by the time you get to putting color on the paper. It’s a slow process.”

For Krupp, who began actively pursuing a dream to paint after her retirement in 2009, this process of peaceful contemplation doesn’t always run smoothly, most significantly because her “studio” is a mobile one, which she sets up in the corner of the kitchen, family room, or den.

Golden Palms, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp
Golden Palms, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

“I make an announcement that I need to be uninterrupted for a time, although that rarely happens,” Krupp says. “My ideal is that I have a separate studio where I don’t feel guilty about not baking cookies or getting dinner on the table.

“I’m probably not as indispensable as I think I am, but everyone likes my cookies!”

Despite any clamor, however, the cookies must wait, as Krupp, in a burst of enthusiasm echoing the voice of her childhood, explains that she loves to “paint, and paint, and paint!” With an initial background in drawing from architecture and drafting classes that she took at WSU, Krupp advances her skills through a combination of reading and studying art and the masters, analyzing the properties of paint, and transferring what she learns intellectually to paint or canvas.

She has taken workshops with David Riedel (still life oil painting), Carl Purcell (nature in watercolor), and Diane McClary (oil impressionism) and draws upon, for subject matter, the whole wide world around her.

Wenaha Morning Mist, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp
Wenaha Morning Mist, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

“There are so many colors out there and so much beauty that I don’t have enough time in the day to take it on,” Krupp says. She sets up still lifes and studies the way the light reflects off surfaces. Other times, she paints landscapes, both from photo references and memories, but always she is seeking to capture that ethereal synthesis of light with color.

“As young as I can remember, I recall staying with my grandmother, whose shades were amber. In the morning, when the sun shone through, it turned the room gold, and that early memory has influenced my life ever since — from the colors that I put into my house to the paintings that I do now.

“There is a glow and a life that I want in the painting.”

Recently moved to Dayton, Krupp is still in the process of unpacking, and though she has connected with the Blue Mountain Artist Guild, she hasn’t yet set up her painting space.

“It’s like withdrawal and I find myself a little edgy not being able to paint. I think I’m going to have to work in the kitchen again, although I hope to set up a shed we have in back, into some kind of studio.”

She just needs time, place, and a space, but the one thing that’s always there is the love for, and appreciation of, color.

“I’m always striving for that natural glow that takes you beyond reality.”

Wenaha GalleryDeborah Krupp is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA from Monday, July 27 through Friday, August 21.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

Beautiful Lizards — The Pottery of Roberta Zimmerman at Sun Lizard Studios

Hand thrown pottery by Roberta Zimmerman
The shape, form, glazing, and decoration of Roberta Zimmerman’s hand thrown pottery pieces is inspired by Native American design

Even the most urban-based child manages to find enough dirt and water to create mud pies at least once in their lives, but for Dayton potter Roberta Zimmerman, three out of four of the sacred elements — Earth, Air, and Water — were an integral part  of every childhood summer. (Fire, she added when she was an adult.)

Hand-thrown pottery by Roberta Zimmerman
Hand-thrown pottery by Roberta Zimmerman

“I was born in Arizona, the first-born daughter of a real cowboy and a homemaker,” Zimmerman says. “We lived all over Arizona on cattle ranches and movie sets, as my father worked on all of John Ford’s western movies shot in Arizona.”

While Zimmerman’s father attended to the stuff of legends, Zimmerman focused on that legendary childhood stuff — mud pies, baked under the scorching Arizona sun. When it got too hot for inedible culinary production, Zimmerman did what any sensible child would do and ran around barefoot.

“We found Indian arrowheads just laying all over the land. Another favorite pastime was chasing lizards — it was a challenge to be fast enough to catch them!”

Such is the stuff of memories better than legends, and in Zimmerman’s life, those memories have shaped the art that she does today: hand-thrown, hand-painted pottery designed to endure (because of that Fire she added, pushing the temperature in her studio kiln to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit) as well as be used for the cooking and serving of food (definitely not recommended with mud pies).

Hand-thrown pottery by Roberta Zimmerman
Hand-thrown pottery by Roberta Zimmerman

The lizards she chased and the arrowheads she admired factor strong in the decorative inspiration she adds to her finished work, expressing her reverence for and respect of Native American art and artists.

“The works I create reflect my love of the West and the ancient people who came before us,” Zimmerman explains. “Each and every piece is thrown on the pottery wheel, so there are no identical pieces — no molds.

“The paintings are free-hand paintings, no stencils. All the glazes are lead free to be safe for dinnerware.

“It is my deep wish that folks will enjoy using these pieces I create.”

Hand-thrown pottery by Roberta Zimmerman
Hand-thrown pottery by Roberta Zimmerman

In between childhood mud pies and adult work with clay, Zimmerman’s residence in the art arena took a break as she ceded to the demands of the work world, serving 11 years as a police dispatcher and 11 years as a correctional officer at Washington State Penitentiary (she and her husband, Ralph, who also worked as a correctional officer, like to tell friends that they met in prison).

When severe back surgery in 1999 resulted in an earlier retirement than Zimmerman had initially envisioned, Ralph’s practical, yet encouraging, nature propelled her forward when he asked,

“What do you want to do?”

Pottery. The answer was out before the question was finished.

“I just always wanted to do that ever since I was a little girl,” Zimmerman says. “So I started taking classes at community college, Ralph bought me a wheel and a kiln, and I was off and running.

“I bought every book I could get my hands on and highlighted and highlighted, and just tried and tried.”

Through the years, in addition to working with white stoneware, Zimmerman has explored Raku, pit-fired, black smoked, and horse hair pottery, and she has sold her work through art fairs, regional shows, gift shops, co-ops, and at Sun Lizard Studios, the brand name for her work which she creates from her Wolf Fork home.

Hand-thrown pottery by Roberta Zimmerman
Hand-thrown pottery by Roberta Zimmerman

An inveterate learner, she has added the Internet to her repertoire of information resources, communicating online with artist colleagues in Germany, Israel, and throughout the world. Ralph, ever the encourager, owes gratitude to the opportunities technology offers, remembering the five-hour driving detour they took once in Nevada so Zimmerman could visit a potter’s studio she had heard about.

“It turned out to be a fascinating place,” she remembers.

But just as fascinating is Sun Lizard Studios, named when Zimmerman’s daughter playfully observed, “Well, Mom, you are just an old sun lizard!” In this mountain retreat, where a bear swimming in the pond or turkeys strolling through the yard replace lizards darting underfoot, the child who spent her summers slapping mud seamlessly picks up where those joyous days of abandon left off.

“Making pottery has been the fulfillment of a dream for me.”

Wenaha GalleryRoberta Zimmerman is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA from Monday, July 13 through Saturday, August 8.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

 

Timelessness — the Wildlife Art of Jackie Penner

Lunch Break by Jackie Penner
Lunch Break by Jackie Penner.

Some things — not cell phones — never change, and in a world where the news of 15 minutes ago is hopelessly outdated, it is good to know that there is another world, a quieter one, where things move at a slower pace.

Such is the reality embraced and painted by fine artist Jackie Penner, who focuses on the west — its people, its landscapes, its horses, and its wildlife. And while, admittedly, cowboys and Indians are more of a legend than contemporary fact, Penner draws inspiration from a sphere of wildlife and domestic animals whose daily life, in many ways, consists of the work and play that they have always done.

Header Team by Jackie Penner
Header Team by Jackie Penner

Grizzly bears, despite their size and temperament, still look remarkably winsome as they’re trying to spear a fish; horses exhibit an intelligence resulting in veritable friendship between themselves and their owners; wolves, in their solitary existence, remain outcasts, but ones capable of evoking awe and respect.

“Western life in its variety holds a special fascination for me,” Penner, who for the last 49 years has lived on a family farm since she married her Dayton high school sweetheart, Jay Penner, says. Penner’s introduction to art began when she was a child, taking informal drawing lessons from longtime area resident and artist, Vivian McCauley Eslick, and she added oil painting to her repertoire upon adulthood.

Living within the midst of both farm and wildlife, Penner gathers reference material just by virtue of living each day, with many a gentle ride on her beloved Quarter Horses resulting in an unexpected siting of two young badgers playing; a bird in the bush; or one of the majestic, working Belgian horses, raised by her husband’s family for many years.

This, primarily, has been her education in art:

Welcome Ride Home by Jackie Penner
Welcome Ride Home by Jackie Penner

“Live in an old rural schoolhouse, surrounded with an abundance of wildlife, and paint, paint, paint.”

Like many artists, however, Penner has had to find time to paint, paint, paint. In the early years, raising two children to successful adulthood was her primary goal, but even after those human birds had flown, Penner found her hours demanded by the bookkeeping she does for the family business. Not so oddly for her, numbers are as fascinating as paintbrushes, and the attention to detail she accords accounting translates well to the canvas when she is recording a living subject.

“I’m very, very detailed,” Penner says. “All my life people have been saying, ‘loosen up, you need to loosen up.’ But I got to a certain age and thought, ‘I’m going to do what I like to do, which is detail.’ ”

This detail comes out most strongly in Penner’s graphite drawings, but her paintings, as well, focus on the damp textured pattern of a bear’s fur, the plumage of pheasant in flight, the intricate harness and tack of a Belgian horse team ready to work the harvest.

Building in Wheat Field, fine art photograph by Gary Wessels Galbreath
Building in Wheat Field, fine art photograph by Gary Wessels Galbreath

“Living on the farm, surrounded by nature and the animals and lifestyle I love, gives me the passion to transfer those feelings to canvas.”

Through workshops, Penner has studied under well-known wildlife artists such as Daniel Smith, Paco Young, Terry Isaac, and John Banovich, and she herself is a member, emeritus, of Women Artists of the West, an organization of more than 200 professional female artists. Penner has served as both its president and ad director.

“My art has taken me on a journey that I never dreamed possible,” Penner says. It is a diverse and varied journey that Penner, a 1966 graduate of Dayton High School, did not foresee 49 years ago, and as Dayton Alumni Weekend approaches this Saturday, July 18, Penner joins another Dayton Alumni, Gary Wessels-Galbreath (1975), in celebrating that artistic journey, through a combined art show and reception at Wenaha Gallery.

Wessels-Galbreath, like Penner, focused on art from a young age, with that focus being quite literal from the other end of a camera — beginning with a 110 Kodak pocket model when he was 12.

Traveling the world as a Navy Seabee, Wessels-Galbraith studied photojournalism upon rejoining the civilian world, graduating from Evergreen State College with a B.A. in art and Native American Studies. He directs his attention primarily upon the environment and landscapes, and, like Penner, captures a sense of timelessness in a rapidly changing world.

Animals. Landscapes. People. Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Thankfully.

Wenaha GalleryJackie Penner and Gary Wessels-Galbreath are at an artists’ reception in their honor Saturday, July 18 from 10:30 a.m. (immediately after the Alumna Weekend Parade) until 2:30 p.m. at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA. Free refreshments are provided.

Penner’s show at the Wenaha Gallery runs from June 27 through July 25. Wessel-Galbreath’s work is on hand from July 6 through July 25 .

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

 

The Things You Find on Church Clean-up Day — A World War I Service Banner

World War I Service Banner preserved and framed through Wenaha Gallery, banner is the property of the First Congregational Church of Dayton WA
The Service Banner from World War I found at the Dayton First Congregational Church. On the left is the banner’s front, featuring the colored stars and symbols; the back, on the right, are hand-sewn name tags corresponding to the symbols on the front

Anyone who has ever participated in church clean-up day knows that the most exciting aspect of the event generally wraps around lunch. But for a group of Congregationalists in Dayton, WA, a find in the attic definitely outshone anything on the dessert table.

It was 2002, and Roslyn Edwards, wife of then-pastor Steve Edwards, was with a group in the attic, tidying up.

World War I Service Banner of First Congregational Church Dayton WA, preserved and framed by Wenaha Gallery
During the measuring process, the Service Banner was gently laid flat across a surface, but the rest of the time, it needed to be hung.

“I don’t know why, but Roslyn for some reason decided to go crawling into the rafters,” Dallas Dickinson, a member of the church and the crew, remembers. “And then she says, here’s a rag. She pulled it out, and it was a banner on a stick.

“We unrolled it. I looked on the back of it and then I said, ‘That’s my great uncle’s name on the back, Charlie Johnson.'”

Other names — on 42 hand-sewn tags — looked familiar to Dickinson. Broughton, Lyman, Boldman, Dumas — she read them out, and within short order the group realized that, whatever they’d found, it definitely wasn’t a rag.

“When I saw the name, Frank Bauers, that was a clue that what we had dated to World War I,” Dickinson says, explaining that Bauers, who died overseas of wounds in 1918, is the military member after which the local American Legion post is named.

The framed service banner, the whole package, was carefully rolled down through Main Street during Dayton, WA''s All Wheels Weekend
The framed service banner, the whole package, was carefully rolled down through Main Street during Dayton, WA”s All Wheels Weekend

What the  group had found was a service flag, a banner (in this case, hand-crafted) that honors family or community members who serve in the armed forces during any period of war or hostilities in which the U.S. is engaged. Such banners consist of a white field with a red border, a blue star representing each service member, and a gold star placed for one who died during service. The banner found at the Congregational church includes one gold star, for Bauers, 38 blue stars, two red crosses (for nurses) and a red triangle (spiritual or recreational service).

Frames for World War I Service Banner owned by First Congregational Church Dayton and framed by Wenaha Gallery
While the service banner weighs practically nothing, two frames, with Optium Museum Acrylic, result in 58 pounds of hanging weight.

“I recognized 20 or so of the 42 names on the back,” Dickinson says, “and I knew the descendants of them, mainly because my family has been here since the 1880s, 1890s. Although I have to admit when I saw the name John Rockhill, I was surprised. I always thought (local Dayton landmark) Rockhill was called that because it was a big rock, but it must have been named after John and his family.”

It was a find indeed, but a perplexing one, because while the group knew they couldn’t put the treasure back where they found it, they weren’t quite sure where to take it next.

“We carefully rolled it back up and consulted with people at the (historical) Depot,” Dickinson remembers. “We ended up keeping it there with their precious things,  folded it properly, and put it in a box with acid free paper. But I always had the idea of preserving it in such a way that we could get it out there, to the community, so that it could be seen.”

Considering that the Service Banner is 46 inches wide by 69 inches high, it is not small piece of conservation acrylic that needs to be measured and cut to fit -- twice -- one for each side.
Considering that the Service Banner is 46 inches wide by 69 inches high, it is not small piece of conservation acrylic that needs to be measured and cut to fit — twice — one for each side.

Dickinson’s idea approached reality this year, as she consulted with Lael Loyd, principal framer at Wenaha Gallery, regarding how feasible — and how much — it would be to frame the flag for both posterity and display. At 46 inches wide by 69 inches high, the banner — which needs to be seen on both sides — is no simple framing job.

Loyd consulted conservationists, designers, contractors, and other framing experts to come up with a plan, while Dickinson wrote letters to as many descendants of the names on the banner that she could find, requesting funds.

“People were really generous,” Dickinson says, “and I was able to raise two thirds of what we needed. The balance came from the Dayton Columbia County Fund, a local organization that supports projects like this.”

During the two hours that the service banner was on outdoor display, during Dayton's All Wheels weekend, two volunteers supported it from both sides. Once the stand has been completed by a local artisan, this will no longer be necessary!
During the two hours that the service banner was on outdoor display, during Dayton’s All Wheels weekend, two volunteers supported it from both sides. Once the stand has been completed by a local artisan, this will no longer be necessary!

Loyd, meanwhile, was trying to figure out a way to hang the flag between two — very large — pieces of Optium Museum Acrylic, which she describes as top in the industry for protection and conservation. But she didn’t want the fabric pressed between the acrylic; she wanted it hanging, as naturally as possible, at the same time ensuring that the textile was sealed and framed for protection.

Added to the challenge is that the banner, while she worked on it, was rarely laid flat, but hung, requiring the (white gloved) hands of two or three assistants. “Everything was pieced together as the banner was standing upright,” Loyd says. “We didn’t want it laying flat with the weight of the acrylic on one side or the other.

“It’s all about preserving for generations to come.”

That it is, and the finished project is slated for a semi-permanent home at American Legion Post 42 museum on Clay Street in Dayton, with Dickinson envisioning it being loaned out to interested parties upon request.

“We want this banner, this piece of history, to be out where the public and community can see it,” Dickinson says.

“By far, it’s the best thing we’ve ever found up in the church attic.”

Wenaha GalleryThe Service Banner of the Dayton First Congregational Church will be on display at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, June 22 through Saturday, July 11.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

 

Rock, Paper, Scissors — Cheri McGee’s One-of-a-Kind Cut Paper Paintings

Colorful Spheres original cut paper art by Wenaha Gallery artist Cheri McGee.
Colorful Spheres, original cut paper art by Wenaha Gallery artist Cheri McGee

Most people, even if they flee at the mention of a fabric store, have met a quilter. Those unfamiliar with the craft marvel at the concept of taking yards of intact fabric, cutting it into smaller and disparate pieces, and reassembling those pieces into one planned, designed, and cohesive unit.

Blue Cat, original cut paper art by Wenaha Gallery artist Cheri McGee
Blue Cat, original cut paper art by Wenaha Gallery artist Cheri McGee

But a quilt seems like a simple thing when placed side by side with the cut paper art of Cheri McGee, an Enterprise, OR, artist whose palette consists of thousands of snipped, scissored, and punched out pieces of paper — some of them smaller than a tick. Practiced throughout the world, paper art can be as basic as a silhouette, those portraits in profile that we associate with the Victorian era, or insanely complicated — as  is the more intricate traditional work from China, Indonesia, Germany (Scherenschnitte), and the Philippines.

McGee does a little of everything, embracing a style that ranges from a timelessly nostalgic folk art village scene to a sinuously flowing, almost curvaceous abstract mixed with realism. And then there are the mosaic works, consisting of itsy bitsy (think back to that tick, in company with sunflower seeds and some orange pips ) squares and circles and triangles and diamonds meticulously arranged to create a paper version of something you’d expect to find in a Turkish marketplace.

African Dancers, original cut paper art by Wenaha Gallery artist Cheri McGee.
African Dancers, original cut paper art by Wenaha Gallery artist Cheri McGee

“Painting with oils may be easier,” the artist comments, explaining how, in the process of cutting and layering card stock into a cohesive image, weeks fly by. But it is this very detail and intricacy, in addition to the uniqueness of the medium itself, that is the attraction.

“I have been working in paper for 30 years,” McGee says. “It began as both an experiment and a need for wall art when the phrase, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ kept echoing through my head.” Faced with a new home of blank, white walls, McGee’s eyes turned to her young daughter’s supply of construction paper, her hands picked up a pair of scissors, and a passion was born.

City Scene, original cut paper art by Wenaha Gallery artist Cheri McGee
City Scene, original cut paper art by Wenaha Gallery artist Cheri McGee

In short order, one pair of scissors grew into more than 25, and the cache of paper multiplied to, well, the equivalent of a quilter’s stash, as McGee kept an eye out, everywhere she traveled, for unique, unusual, textured, exotic, patterned, and colored stock. A spare room in her home functions as her studio, where creativity reigns and portable desk fans, even on hot days, do not.

Every finished artwork is unique, and while McGee may work on multiple projects simultaneously, there are no (no pun intended) short cuts. While in the early days she pre-cut and stored in drawers images and shapes as a means of speeding up future artworks, McGee found that she never used them, preferring, instead, to custom cut exactly what was needed precisely when the moment called for it.

It’s a build-as-you-go process, and the artwork itself makes its own demands. But when it comes to subject matter, anything goes, depending up McGee’s mood and inspiration, both of which are influenced by her interests, a childhood background in traveling as the daughter of a military family , and marriage to another artist, sculptor and flute carver Roger McGee.

“Being a self-taught artist, I find inspiration in that freedom, to create what strikes my fancy,” Cheri says. “I have recently begun a series of images and designs from the ’60s. I am also inspired by Moroccan designs, having lived there as a child when my father was serving in the Air Force.”

Lucky Charmz, original cut paper art by Cheri McGee
Lucky Charmz, original cut paper art by Cheri McGee

McGee’s works are in the homes of collectors from California to New York, as well as in Japan. She has shown and sold her work at the Kalispell Art Show and Auction in Montana, Spokane’s MONAC Western Show and Auction, and the Western Art Association Show and Auction in Ellensburg.

But the best place to find the artist herself is in that studio, scissors in one hand, paper in the other, as eyes, soul, and psyche focus on creating a work of art that has no twin of itself, anywhere, in the world.

Wenaha GalleryCheri McGee’s cut paper art is on display at Wenaha Gallery through Saturday, June 27, 2015.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

The Unexpectedly Unconventional Square — Showcasing the Landscape Art of Gordy Edberg

Fractured Terrain, original oil painting, by Wenaha Gallery artist Gordy Edberg
Fractured Terrain, original oil painting, by Wenaha Gallery artist Gordy Edberg

In the mid twentieth century, the term “square” was derogatively used to connote a boring traditionalist, one reluctant to take chances or break out of the box in his or her thinking.

For 21st century artist Gordy Edberg, however, square is the new unusual, and the landscapes which he paints in this format are not constrained by what he calls the typical, conventional horizontal format that people have come to expect.

Endless Fields, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Gordy Edberg
Endless Fields, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Gordy Edberg

“The square format, with its harmony of shape, is a useful and non-natural approach,” the Whidbey Island artist says.

“By using the square structure, the landscape subject is contained more, and it removes the expected topographical connotations.

“Thus there are segments . . . fragments . . . sections of the landscape and their abstract qualities which are allowed to come forward.”

Edberg, who has been painting since high school 60 years ago, approaches his artwork from the perspective of an architect, a profession he made his central career for 41 years. The combination of the two disciplines results in Edberg’s signature style, one “grounded in realism with a leaning toward impressionism.”

With a principal focus upon the landscape, Edberg says that, although he does not purposely make political statements with his art, he is fascinated by the existing environment, and how it is changed by man’s impact upon it. There are buildings, roads, pathways, patterns, and how they integrate with their surroundings creates and shapes the finished piece. The very nature of lines themselves — an element strongly used in architectural drawing — invites the artist, and his viewers, to explore the realm of abstract within the world of reality.

Basin Hills and Fields, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Gordy Edberg
Basin Hills and Fields, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Gordy Edberg

“I look for change occurring, things disappearing, other characteristics of the environment that suggest potential for abstraction expressions,” Edberg explains. And herein that square format intensifies the fluidity of form and shape, emphasizing the transcendental in the midst of physical reality, bringing out the best of each.

“The goal is for the formal subject matter to be seen as a composition, an arrangement of shapes and colors and with aesthetic qualities while still suggesting place,” Edberg says.

While Edberg has painted landscapes from throughout the Pacific Northwest and the west coast, as well as forays into Hawaii, Mexico, Ireland, England, France, Italy, and Greece, it is his Southeastern Washington landscapes that showcase, boldly, the integration of line and form, abstract and reality, outline and shape. Large, illusorily monochromatic fields and agricultural spreads are intersected by roads, power lines, waterways and the patterns of the fields themselves, a balance of both natural and man-made factors.

Power Grid, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Gordy Edberg
Power Grid, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Gordy Edberg

Shots of unexpected color, calligraphy, textured paint, and marks and incisions upon the substrate surface enhance the mood and setting of the work, creating a place that is real and identifiable, yet not remotely as a camera would capture it.

“Landscape images and also urbanscape and marinescape images painted in the studio are many times imagined in response to the mood and feel of actual places that I’ve sketched or painted en plein air,” Edberg says. In the spirit of fluidity and freedom, he refers to plein air paintings or onsite sketches for his studio pieces, and does not rely upon the camera.

The goal is to catch the mood, the place, the feeling, because within each landscape, Edberg feels, there is a story, and it is his pleasurable goal to tell that story.

Wheat Road, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Gordy Edberg
Wheat Road, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Gordy Edberg

In addition to creating his oil-painted landscapes, Edberg also works in pastels, as well as designs and builds wood furniture. To do as much as he does requires space, and Edberg’s studio in the upper floor of his home is set up with four painting stations, including a wall easel which can accommodate up to six-foot sized paintings. The garage houses his woodworking equipment and tools, and, in addition to furniture making and packaging and shipping of paintings, another important activity takes place there: the cars can still be parked within.

That’s the architect, sharing space creatively with the artist.

A signature member with the Northwest Pastel Society, Edberg has earned awards from both that organization and the Puget Sound Group of Northwest Artists, and he has received Best of Show at the Washington State Convention Center Art Exhibition. His work is housed in both private and corporate collections throughout the U.S., and he maintains paintings in galleries on both the East and West coasts.

The architect may be retired, but the artist is very busy these days.

Wenaha GalleryGordy Edberg is the featured artist at Wenaha Gallery’s Art Event from Monday, May 4 through Saturday, June 13, at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

The Sensual Flutist — Roger McGee Hand-Carves an Ancient Instrument

Handcarved Eagle Flute by Wenaha Guest Artist Roger McGee.
Handcarved Eagle Flute by Wenaha Guest Artist Roger McGee.

The hauntingly beautiful music of Native American musicians Carlos Nakai and Mary Youngblood is nothing short of sublime. And while neither Grammy Award winner is a resident of Oregon or Washington state, some of the flutes that they have played originated in the studio of Roger McGee, a master flute maker from Joseph, OR.

Egret bronze sculpture by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee
Egret bronze sculpture by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee

“What a fine and gentle artist this man is,” Youngblood described McGee. “(The flute is) almost Georgia O’Keefish . . . very sensual and so carefully carved.”

McGee, who has created more than 1,000 custom, hand-made flutes, is a professional sculptor of 35 years standing, making his initial mark as an artist of western and wildlife bronzework. As a Vietnam War veteran, he considers it a high honor to have created four monuments placed in the Pacific Northwest, including the Jonathan Wainwright statue at the Veterans Medical Center in Walla Walla, Peo Peo Mox Mox near the Marc Hotel in the same town, and the VFW Globe in Salem, OR.

The path to creating Native American-style flutes, he explains, was a winding one. Like most artists, McGee listens to a variety of music for inspiration while working in his studio.

Detail from hand carved Horsehead Flute by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee
Detail from hand carved Horsehead Flute by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee

“I was particularly captivated by the haunting sounds of the Native American flute and wanted to learn as much as possible about this small instrument with the powerful voice.

“I was inspired to make a Native flute, and the awesome sound of the flute that I made captured my soul. It has changed my life and given me a new way to express myself with my art.”

Now, in addition to his bronzework, McGee has added the intricate detail of hand making, one at a time, highly individualized Native American flutes, an instrument with a history dating back reportedly 60,000 years (they are said to be the third oldest known musical instrument in the world). McGee creates all artwork, painting, woodwork and sculpture on his flutes free hand, burning the holes in with a hot metal rod.

Not Forgotten Bison bronze sculpture by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee
Not Forgotten Bison bronze sculpture by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee

“I guess you could say that I follow where the artistic spirits guide me,” McGee says, adding that he not only makes the flutes, but plays them — with two CDs to his credit — as well as teaches others how to do so.

“Over the phone, I taught a Navaho Indian (Fred ‘Yellowknife’ Keams) how to make and play flutes . . . I also taught a Buddhist Monk (Park Jin Hong) from South Korea how to play the flute using Skype and the Internet!” McGee sells his flutes throughout the world, with other noted names who play McGee’s instruments including Grammy Award nominee Peter Phippen and recording artists Robert Mirabal and John Two-Hawks.

Inlaid shells, buffalo teeth, carved totems, feathers, beads, and paint are all part of the customized creations, with themes ranging from rattlesnakes and scorpions to horses and bears. In 2013, McGee won the Best Cultural Heritage Award at the Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts for his Stone Crushed Inlayed American Flute, and in past years, his work has captured Directors Choice awards.

Detail from White Canoe hand carved flute by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee
Detail from White Canoe hand carved flute by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Roger McGee

As beautiful as the flutes are to look upon, however, their ultimate test takes place in the playing, and McGee’s numerous clients have much to say about the creator, and what he creates.

“The beauty and soulful sincerity of this amazing instrument is only surpassed by the incredible artist who created it,” one musician writes on McGee’s website.

“The tone is amazing,” another fan said, describing how her husband, not knowing that she was playing her newly-purchased instrument, marveled at how much she had improved. “The flute made the sound jump a quantum leap — I sure wasn’t doing anything else much differently. The flute’s voice is just awesome.”

In his spare time, which he somehow finds despite a fulltime art schedule side-by-side with that of his wife, cut paper artist Cheri McGee, Roger has lately taken on refurbishing a totem pole, which when repaired, will return to the Creating Memories Camp for Disabled Children in Joseph. At the moment, the pole is in pieces as McGee fixes broken parts, fills cracks, sands, paints, and reassembles.

It’s all part of following that artistic muse, one that entered his life when he was the youngest of nine children growing up in the deep South, always using his hands to make things.

“It was easier to make myself a toy than it was to wait to get a store-bought one,” McGee remembers. “I have been very blessed!”

Wenaha GalleryRoger and Cheri McGee are the featured artists at Wenaha Gallery’s Art Event from Monday, May 18 through Saturday, June 27, at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA. There is a reception for both artists on Saturday, May 23 from 10:30 a.m. (immediately after the town Memorial Day parade) until 2:30 p.m. Roger will play the flute during the reception. Free refreshments are provided.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

Honoring an Ingenious People – The Palus Museum Celebrates the Heritage of the Palouse Indians

 

Palus Museum historical site in Dayton WA showcasing the Palouse Indians Lewis and Clark and the pioneering homesteaders
A large painting of Palouse Falls, surrounded by displays of artifacts, greets visitors as the enter the Palus Museum

We live in an area rich with history, steeped with the life stories of brave, hardworking people.

Frequently, those of us who reside in the West now associate those brave, hardworking people with the pioneers, many of whom did not make it here without losing someone along the way. But history goes back further than that, and before there were pioneers, there were brave, hardworking people who eventually lost a way of life: the Cayuse, the Nez Perce, the Umatilla, and the Palouse.

Palus Museum historical site in Dayton WA showcasing the Palouse Indians Lewis and Clark and the pioneering homesteaders
A thoughtful coyote and bronzework take viewers to a different place and time at the Palus Museum.

It is for this reason — that life changes, and we do not want to obscure or forget the past, and we wish to bring honor to those who live in the present — that a group of local people in Dayton joined together to create the Blue Mountain Heritage Society in 1999, with a focal interest to engage the public in the rich and diverse regional history of Columbia County and its environs. And one of principal people in this rich history are the Palouse Indians.

A small tribe in Southeastern Washington and Northern Idaho that was culturally related to the Nez Perce, the Palouse (or Palus) “were a very smart people and a very strong people,” according to Rose Engelbrite, one of the founding members of the society and the manager of the Palus Museum in Dayton.

“The things they had to make and do just in order to survive were very involved, from making shoes and arrowheads to gathering food.”

A hand woven basket, a baby carrier, and a trunk dating from 1812 are a link to the past at the Palus Museum.
A hand woven basket, a baby carrier, and a trunk dating from 1812 are a link to the past at the Palus Museum.

The museum, which possesses an unpretentious exterior that belies the treasures within, is home to numerous and diverse artifacts, from beadwork to handspun rope, bone hairpieces, clothing, hand crafted tools, a medicine bag, and — the foundation upon which the collection was started — arrowheads gleaned from the area by local resident Wayne Casseday.

“Collecting artifacts was a hobby of his, and he wanted other people to see them,” Engelbrite explains. “He asked us if we would be interested to set up a place where these could be shown and not be stored away out of sight.”

Palus Museum historical site in Dayton WA showcasing the Palouse Indians Lewis and Clark and the pioneering homesteaders
From the outside, Palus Museum gives no clue to the historical treasures within.

The arrowheads are all colors and sizes, painstakingly and skillfully crafted for their specific purpose, testament to the artistry and personality of their makers. One of Engelbrites favorite artifacts, however, looks like a long, slim rock, about the size of a small foot, and slightly curved, just like a foot. This is no accident, she says, but further evidence of the Palouse Indians’ astute resourcefulness.

“It’s a last,” she explains, “which is an object that shoemakers build their shoes around. Back then (the 1800s, and earlier) many shoes did not have a right shoe and a left shoe, but it was the same shape for both feet.

Barbed Wire at the Palus Museum
Who would guess that there could be so many varieties of barbed wire?

“The Palouse Indians used this last which has a light curve at the top, so they were able to make one shoe, a right one, and then flip over the last and make a left one.

“As I say, they were an ingenious people.”

The Palouse were noted horse breeders and traders — the Appaloosa, with its distinctive spotted coat, drawing its name from that of the tribe. Numbering around 1,600 during the expedition of Lewis and Clark, the Palouse tribe migrated between Palouse Falls in the winter, where the fishing was plenty, to the Dayton area in the summer, where they collected berries.

But as we know, with the advent of explorers, trappers, and pioneers from the east, this way of life drastically changed, and two cultures clashed until the Palouse, dwindling in size, no longer roamed the land they once lived. The museum itself addresses the issue, with exhibits featuring relics from both the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the pioneering homesteaders.

Set next to a woven cooking basket made from cedar root and cedar root skin is a small, handmade trunk, consisting of rawhide and fur over wood and lined with newspaper dated 1812. An annex to the museum houses the homestead room, with butter churns, washboards, a cast iron wood stove and an impressive display of the many styles of barbed wire used for fencing.

Most of the historical items are local, donated by families of the area, interested in the historical society’s mission and eager to contribute so that the past, though it is in the past, will have its place in the present.

“This is the history of the area in which we live,” Engelbrite says, “and it is a part of all our heritage.”

Wenaha GalleryThe Palus Museum, at 426 E. Main, is located two blocks from Wenaha Gallery in Dayton, WA, and is well worth a visit to view. Admission to the museum is free, with donations gratefully accepted. The museum is open Fridays and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, contact Rose at 509.337.8875, or contact the historical society through its Facebook Page.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.