The new website for streaming of my classes is now LIVE! Visit www.taprootvideo.com to view the classes.
New this July: kits for some of my most popular classes are available for purchase at www.taprootfolkartshop.com
Firmly planted. Not fallen from on high: sprung up from below. Ocher, the color of burnt honey. The color of a sun buried a thousand years ago and dug up only yesterday. Fresh green and orange stripes running across its still-warm body Circles, Greek frets: scattered traces of a lost alphabet? The belly of a woman heavy with child, the neck of a bird. If you cover and uncover its mouth with the palm of your hand, it answers you with a deep murmur, the sound of bubbling water welling up from its depths; if you tap its sides with your knuckles, it gives a tinkling laugh of little silver coins falling on stones. It has many tongues: it speaks the language of clay and minerals, of air currents flowing between canyon walls, of washerwomen as they scrub, of angry skies, of rain. A vessel of baked clay: do not put it in a glass case alongside rare precious objects. It would look quite out of place. Its beauty is related to the liquid it contains and the thirst that it quenches. Its beauty is corporal: I see it, I touch it, I smell it, I hear it. If it is empty, it must be filled; if it is full, it must be emptied. I take it by the shaped handle as I would take a woman by the arm, I lift it up, I tip it over a pitcher into which I pour milk or pulque – lunar liquids that open and close the doors of dawn and dark, waking and sleeping. Not an object to contemplate: an object to use.
A glass jug, a wicker basket, a coarse muslin huipil, a wooden serving dish: beautiful objects, not despite their usefulness but because of it.
– Octavio Paz
Mankind has been making everyday objects not only useful but beautiful since the beginning. Folk art is art of the people, by the people, and for the people. It touches us on a deep cultural level; it says "yes" to our basic artistic yearnings.
As our society grows ever more frantic with electronic entertainment and gizmos, folk art offers a comfortable, calm, grounded balance. Creating with our own hands answers a need.
Ethnic art comes in every culture and such folk art offers a teachable moment for young ones, not only in creativity but also in geography, history, even economics and politics! Through the folk art, the world can open up to them.