Living a family tradition going back hundreds of years, Robert Patricio takes the art of Acoma pottery forward.
Funding for COLORES was provided in part by:
Frederick Hammersley Foundation...
...New Mexico Arts,
a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs,
and by the National Endowment for the Arts.
...and Viewers Like You
THIS TIME, ON COLORES!
LIVING A FAMILY TRADITION GOING BACK HUNDREDS OF YEARS,
ROBERT PATRICIO TAKES THE ART OF ACOMA POTTERY FORWARD.
BEAD ARTIST CHELA LUJAN IS SEEKING HER ROOTS.
SCIENTIST JOE HANNIBAL EXPLORES THE FACTS AND
FICTION BEHIND GIANT INSECTS IN THE CLASSIC
HOLLYWOOD SCI-FI FILM, THEM!
WITH IMMENSE MUSICALITY AND BREATH-TAKING
DELICACY, PIANIST BEHZOD ABDURAIMOV CEMENTED HIS
PLACE IN CLASSICAL MUSIC.
IT'S ALL AHEAD ON COLORES!
IT'S AMAZING WHAT COMES FROM CLAY.
>>Robert Patricio: Holding on to Mother Earth
is what you want.
>>>Patricio: Keeping the tradition alive and making
pottery I mean that's what we were brought up from.
Our ancestors were the ones that started making pottery.
It was passed down from generation to
generation you know.
My ancestors used to make cups themselves,
pitchers, water ollas, you know, just to carry,
you know, drinking water.
You're getting it from the spring what it does is it
purifies it and it makes it taste like when it
snows or when it rains and you smell that aroma.
>>Patricio: I have to get it to like a powder form.
I guess it does really take some part of you, of
your heart and soul when you make a pot.
When I'm making a new pot you know I think about my
parents, my mother.
Sometimes when you get the clay I tell myself, I say
"oh please mother, you know, help me make a new
pot, you know, make me work as fast as I can."
You know you're always asking for that prayer
for, you know, help and guidance
>>Patricio: I actually learned from some of the elders that
used to live up here when I was growing up here on
Acoma the village of Sky City, I would go and watch
them actually make pottery.
I came back and asked my mother, you know "can you
show me how to make pottery?"
So my mother and my father were the ones that, you
know, really inspired me and said, you know, "okay
we'll show you how to do pottery."
She really told us you know "Mother Earth is
here, you know, to show you."
Well I think the clay has its mind of its own you know.
Sometimes we coil the pottery up and then
sometimes it doesn't want to cooperate with us.
Sometimes they'll have cracks along the side.
Sometimes the pot won't stay up and they'll just cave in.
You know, some of those- some of the times when
that happens you know we always think back you know,
"What did I do wrong?
You know, did I add enough pottery shards?
Did I add enough water?
Or did I add too much water?"
Sometimes I have pots that will cave in but, you
know, it doesn't stop me there.
What always drags me back is the way the clay feels.
Mixing paint, grinding clay.
When my aunt on the Chino side, Marie-- they said
"You have a talent you know just keep going never stop.
Don't give up."
>>Patricio: Some of the designs stay in the
families, say like the Kiva step design is black
and white--mostly black and white were done you
know by my grandma Marie Z.
Chino and then she started adding you know a little
bit of orange in it.
>>Patricio: Most of the time it was clouds,
the Sun, Mother Earth which is the whole pottery itself.
We all here on Acoma pray for rain.
Yeah, this is an old style design.
It's a rainbow and then the insides are cornfields
so anything that has squares are cornfields.
This is considered as a rainbow, so, when, after
it rains then it shines over corn--over the corn fields.
And it's just like saying "let me write a letter,
except I'm gonna draw a painting on my pottery" so
that's my letter to Mother Earth or to the clouds to
bring the rain here.
A lot of it is mainly a journey to life, like
The reason why they did the Tularosa is when they
started migrating from pueblo to pueblo trying to
find a house.
>>Patricio: When I sell pottery, my pottery
has actually migrated you know different places.
My pottery is probably overseas by now.
My girls are gonna be the ones to carry on the
tradition of me making pottery, of how my mother
taught me, of how I actually went to go see my
aunts, my grandmas make pottery.
You know those are stuff that inspire you to keep
going you know, to keep moving your tradition.
I inspire my girls by making, painting, telling
them what the design really means, what the
pottery they make really means you know.
So if they do get inspired and then they pass it on
then you know I'm actually doing my job by passing on
>>Patricio: It's really quite amazing you
know what comes out of a piece of clay or piece of rock.
I see peaceful- peacefulness because when
you come up here to Acoma it is peaceful, it's quiet.
And when you look at pottery and you say like
"boy, I see peacefulness in this pottery."
It's a gift.
A peaceful gift.
FINDING NEW FAMILY TRADITIONS.
Chela Lujan: Southern Colorado and northern New
Mexico, it all has the same air of just that high
desert, high plains, which I think my beadwork really
draws from that energy.
We grew up on the DinÃ© nation, the Navajo
reservation, in Ganado, Arizona.
All of those traditions and cultural backgrounds
really had an effect on me.
Ceremony and traditions and the culture of
Those things are just really, really near and
dear to my heart.
They really kind of shaped who I was growing up in that way.
My mother, Charlotte, her grandmother was
Her name was, uh, Delavina Chipoon.
I don't know much about that lineage, unfortunately.
I really wish I did.
But back in those times, she didn't tell anybody
that she was Apache.
So, there isn't a lot of those traditions that she
might have had in her life passed on to my family.
My mother, Charlotte, was actually the one who
taught me beadwork and she was taught by a famous
DinÃ© Navajo artist.
I remember her teaching me the loom, um, the beaded loom,
which, when I was about 6 years old, I was just a baby.
And I remember taking to it really easily.
But I didn't pick it up again until I was 23.
I remember seeing a hatband that somebody was
wearing, and I knew that that's what I wanted to do.
And I knew that I had to teach myself how to, how to do it.
And so, I did.
The name of my business is Roadside Remedies.
You know, you go to these places and there's always
vendors on the side of the road who are selling jewelry.
It started off on like Etsy.
We found the name and I started getting the supplies.
And my supplies at that time were cheap for lack
of a better word, you know, cause I didn't know
the difference between this bead or this bead
and, and quality versus quantity, that sort of thing.
Finally opened up my own online store, which looks
a lot better.
Thank God for Instagram and things like that.
And then I, I have gotten on board with really
talented women, other women makers, people like
Cate Havstad, who is making her own hats.
Suzy Cotcher, who, her hatband was the first
hatband I saw that I wanted to do, and she was
really supportive of my work.
This is a porcupine quill hatband.
So, you string up the porcupine quills first and
those are all hand dyed.
This is, um, a DinÃ© Tree of Life, the Navajo Tree of Life.
It's a corn stalk and birdies and the basket and
feathers, and it's all, it's all sacred symbols.
This is the Cheyenne brick-stitch.
This one in particular was inspired by ceremony, by
the four rounds of the ceremony.
So, this is what I call, um, Midnight Water, and
the, the line of blue represents the water.
And the shape, of course, is the teepee, the womb,
the, the ribs, the mother, and the gray is the smoke
coming out of the fireplace.
I use a lot of hearts and a lot of triangles that I
think represent fire and, and like this teepee shape
to represent the womb and, and mother earth, essentially.
Yeah, and the colors just, it's kind of like a, a
painter would pick out his palette or her palette and
I do the same thing with my beads.
To develop the, the relationship with threads
and beads and patterns and colors and they talk to me.
That's kind of how I feel.
There's times when I think that I don't want to teach
somebody, but I know that people have helped me so much
learn that, and it isn't mine, it's not mine to hold.
It's not mine to own.
So, it has to be passed on or it'll be lost.
My own lineage, my being a woman of color, and trying
to find out my roots and what, what those are, um,
I think really is what inspired me to continue the
beadwork as my mother started it and passed it on to me.
And, uh, hopefully my daughter will, will do it, too.
I'm all for it.
I, I can only imagine wanting to sit next to her
and teach her how to do this and pass it down like
my mother passed it down to me.
But, um, I definitely, uh, I'm a little slower now.
GIANT ANTS WALK THE EARTH?
Exterior Desert In New Mexico, day.
A New Mexico state police plane soars across the cloudless sky.
- But, (whir of a tape rewinding) they don't show
New Mexico terrain.
It, in fact, was filmed in southern California, and I
knew that terrain.
(bell rings) (quirky music) - What?
There we go.
My name is Joe Hannibal, and I am the curator of
invertebrate paleontology at the Cleveland Museum of
I love movies, I like old movies, I like movies that have
giant bugs in them, and I especially like the movie Them!
because it is the mother of all bug movies.
- [Narrator] There is no word to describe Them!
(dramatic music) (woman screaming) - In the
seminal creature feature from 1954, giant mutant
ants wreak havoc on an unsuspecting public.
Humanity's only hope lies in the bumbling Doctor
Medford and his bombshell daughter, both of whom are
myrmecologists, ant specialists.
It might sound hokey, but the film with crawling
with charm, according to Doctor Hannibal.
(dramatic music) Number one, the music, it's
spectacular music with crescendos of information.
I like the noises made by the ants.
(ants screeching) Okay, they're not too accurate,
but they are cool, and it does have a series of very
accurate observations in it.
These accurate observations were in the
spotlight at the Capitol Theatre last week as
moviegoers were treated to a special screening of the
sci-fi film, along with a post-film chat with
It's called arthropleura.
It's part of the Reel Science film series, a
collaboration between the Cleveland Museum of
Natural History and Cleveland Cinemas.
- Reel Science is an attempt to engage the
public with our curators, with knowledge about
particular kinds of science that ties into movies.
And, Doctor Hannibal's past study of giant
prehistoric arthropods, a phylum that includes
insects like ants, makes him uniquely qualified to
uncover the real and not so real science of Them!
Well, you might say that the ants are not the most
accurately reproduced ants in the movie business.
(laughs) In fact, well, they're kind of funny
But, heck, there's such big kernels of truth in
the movie, it's amazing.
Okay, there are no big ants like that, but there
could be big arthropods like that, and there were
in the past.
It was an animal about eight feet long.
This is a giant arthropod.
They made track waves in the sand and mud during
the Coal Age, about 300 million years ago, and
pieces parts of them are found all over the place.
A lot of my study has been about fossil arthropods.
And, among these arthropods are rather
large ones, including supposed giant millipedes,
and even bigger giant millipedes, and in the
movie, they actually replicated what I did in
my particular study, and that is based upon a part
of an animal, they figured out how big the animal was
in its entirety.
- Over 12 centimeters.
That would make the entire - About two and a half
meters in length.
Over eight feet.
So, that's plausible.
So, they really did their research.
Audience members at the Capitol screening were
pleasantly surprised that the film received a stamp
of approval from a bonafide giant bug expert.
- I thought it was pretty cool that the stuff in the
movie was fairly accurate, and he was able to confirm
that, which I thought was pretty neat.
But, of course, there was also a healthy dose of skepticism.
- It's kinda hard to relate to giant ants in
the desert when you live in Cleveland.
(laughs) (ant screeching) (woman screaming)
PLAYING THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ARTIST AND AUDIENCE.
[playing classical music]
>>Ashley: Welcome to the office of Behzod Abduraimov.
On this day in May of 2015, It's in the
century-old Folly Theatre, where he's practicing for
his Kansas City solo debut.
Weeks before, he was filling concert halls in
Finland and Spain, and in less than a week, his
workplace moves to Paris, then on to Copenhagen.
His meteoric rise started just after he won the
London International Piano Competition in 2011.
Behzod's musical journey was guided by a series of teachers.
>>Behzod: I was almost six years old when my mother
started teaching me all the basics, written notes,
etcetera, and then, I think, when I turned six,
she took me to my first piano teacher.
>>Ashley: That was the late, legendary Tamara
Popovich, who is credited with helping propel dozens
of young pianists to the international stage.
Next came Stanislav Loudnitch, a fellow native
of Uzbekistan, who won the prestigious Van Cliburn
Piano Competition in 2001, where he caught the music
world's attention, including critic Paul Horsley.
>>Paul: You could hear immediately, that there
was a very personal, very immediate style.
It was almost rhetorical for me.
It was almost as if he was speaking.
He had studied with a broad range of teachers.
>>Paul: Who had brought together the Russian
school, the dramatic Austrian tradition, the
American Juilliard tradition.
>>Ashley: So when Stanislav decided to eschew the
concert circuit, for the rewards of teaching, he
opted to remain in Kansas City and sell the idea of
building a world-class boutique music program to
The International Center for Music, or ICM, was
developed to offer elite instruction to promising
While giving a master class in Italy, Stanislav
>>Stanislav: I saw him first time, he was 15.
He has everything.
He's a very special talent.
It was obvious from the beginning.
>>Stanislav: One of the most important
values of him as a musician is very, very
sensitive high-tuned sensitivity to the sound.
He is also humble at what he does, in a good sense,
How he treats the -- musical text.
>>Behzod: I came to Kansas City being
very young, only 16 years old.
I didn't speak English.
I was in discovery of an unknown future at that time.
It can be kind of terrifying, but most
importantly, I was surrounded by great people.
They became part of my family.
>>Ashley: Now Behzod is the first artist in residence
at Park University, where he sets the bar and
coaches ICM students on the rigors of the
Everything from nuancing a record deal to the
necessity of practicing four to six hours a day to
the subtleties of interpreting a musical composition.
Very tricky moment when it shouldn't be too much
yourself than the composer's intentions.
How do you deal with nerves onstage?
Well, first of all, you, of course, practice for
many, many hours.
How much time do you spend on airplanes?
I counted once, a year.
It's most likely a month.
- A month?
On the road or an airplane or train.
>>Ashley: But even after a critically acclaimed debut
at Carnegie Hall and playing with symphonies
and philharmonics across the globe, there's still
one audience that causes him some trepidation.
>>Behzod: You know, they say the most difficult
place to play is home, and since Kansas City is my
hometown now, it's a lot of pressure, because at home,
you know, you know everybody, and everyone knows you.
And you have to go onstage and perform, and it's a
lot of pressure-- in a good way, of course.
[playing vibrant piano music]
>>Ashley: Hours before his KC solo debut,
Behzod is pouring over the
evening's repertoire, carefully plotting
And masterfully harnessing the framework's torrid thunders.
>>Paul: Behzod practices in a very unique way.
He will often do snippets of different pieces sort
of in random order, and he would play a certain
passage that he's concerned about.
He'll come back to it, and then he'll go and do
something else, and he'll come back to that passage.
[crossing signal beeping]
>>Stanislav: He is a strong personality as well.
He is very strong.
He deals with pressure, with huge pressure, beautifully.
[playing piano music]
He has this sound and this charisma, and it's hard
to put a pinpoint.
It's not just sound.
It's not just hugeness of crass volume.
It's really about sort of an inner fire.
>>Behzod: For me, the most intimate moment, when you
play really quiet or soft or intimate places.
And then there--there is not even a signal sound or
any cough or anything, and people are just so focused.
You have them on hook, and it's fantastic.
My humble desire is to bring all the great music
of great composers to the audience and hopefully
touch their souls.
[cheers and applause]
TO VIEW THIS AND OTHER COLORES PROGRAMS GO TO:
New Mexico PBS dot org and look for COLORES under
What We Do and Local Productions.
Also, LOOK FOR US ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM.
"UNTIL NEXT WEEK, THANK YOU FOR WATCHING."
Funding for COLORES was provided in part by:
Frederick Hammersley Foundation
...and Viewers Like You