First posted in 2014
Folk arts are often a part of people’s everyday lives. That’s the case with many of the objects shown in “Art of the Hunt: Wyoming Traditions,” the exhibit that recently opened at the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne and that will run through June 20, 2015. I particularly like the logo for the exhibit, which features a fish design in a rug hooked by Pat Rentsch of Aladdan, Wyoming.
Wyoming Arts Council’s Annie Hatch, Folk and Traditional Arts/Underserved Program Specialist, began dreaming of the exhibit over seven years ago as a way to highlight the creativity associated with an activity that is so much a part of Wyoming’s culture.
The website of the University of Wyoming explains the background work that went into producing the exhibit. Andrea Graham, a folklife specialist, “led a project to capture Wyoming’s hunting and fishing lore and traditions. She and a number of UW American Studies master’s degree students have criss-crossed the state to meet with gunsmiths, fishing rod makers, fly tiers, bow makers, saddlers, decoy carvers, knife makers, guides, outfitters, taxidermists, trappers, camp cooks and others to document their work and tell their stories.” See www.uwyo.edu/uw/news/2014/07/exhibition-highlights-uw-research-on-hunting-and-fishing.html. Also, the facebook page of the “Art of the Hunt Community” is quite active: https://www.facebook.com/artofthehuntwyoming.
As a partner exhibit to the one in Cheyenne, the University of Wyoming in Laramie is currently showing “Photographing Art of the Hunt,” featuring work by Peter Gibbons. During an internship with the Wyoming Arts Council, Peter traveled the state to create portraits and workshop scenes of many of the “Hunt” artists. Peter’s portrait of Tom Lucas, ram’s horn bow maker from Dubois, Wyoming, is truly eloquent. It is shown below.
It’s particularly exciting to me that one of Handcrafted Art Tradition’s newest artists, Karen Mott of Lander, WY, has a piece in Art of the Hunt. Karen creates cinches, girths for Western saddles or packs, using the wool from Navajo-Churro sheep that she raises in Lander, Wyoming. I don’t yet have a photo of Karen’s double pack cinch shown in the exhibit, but here is of one of Karen’s cinches that we carry. You can learn more about Karen on her page on the Handcrafted Art Traditions website.