October 31, 2008

Furniture uses sand paintings

The Art of FurnitureGrowing up near the Navajo Indian Reservation Benny learned early in life to appreciate Native American art, from this appreciation grew his inspiration and from his inspiration Benny's concept of functional pieces of art were born.

The quite, modest entrepreneur had a plan to combine unique wood craftsmanship using hardwood of southwestern oak and alder with the ancient art of Navajo Sandpainting to create coffee tables, bedroom furniture, entertainment centers, china hutches and dinette sets.

Benny enlisted the artistic touch of Medicine Man Robert Lee and his wife Erma. The Lee family from Sheep Springs, New Mexico descends from a long line of sand painters. Keeping with their Navajo tradition of art, their sand paintings are natural sands gathered from around their home near the Painted Desert, some of which are tinted by natural methods of exposure to the sun and rain, then mixed with other sands and liquids. Each painting interprets a story. "The Coyote Stealing Fire, Storm Patterns, The Bear and the Snake" and many others.

For centuries sand paintings were only used for ceremonial purposes by medicine men and had to be destroyed by the end of the day. It took many years for this art to be allowed to be painted as permanent art. Each piece is signed by the artists.

The self-taught furniture maker opened his first shop Trails End Furniture in Jerome, Az. in 1990.
Comment:  I believe the image below is a Trails End piece. The inlaid rectangular panels are reminiscent of Navajo sand paintings.

No comments: