Robert Patricio

Living a family tradition going back hundreds of years, Robert Patricio takes the art of Acoma pottery forward.

AIRED: March 21, 2020 | 0:26:59

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.

Art works.

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>>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

Tularosa designs.

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

the tradition.

>>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.


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 Diné 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

indigenous people.

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

Jicarilla Apache.

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

Diné 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 Diné 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.


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

Natural History.

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

Doctor Hannibal.

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

looking ants.

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 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.

Too loud!

>>Paul: Who had brought together the Russian

school, the dramatic Austrian tradition, the

Italian tradition.

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

Park University.

The International Center for Music, or ICM, was

developed to offer elite instruction to promising

young players.

While giving a master class in Italy, Stanislav

discovered Behzod.

>>Stanislav: I saw him first time, he was 15.

He has everything.

He's a very special talent.

It was obvious from the beginning.


Now three.



>>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,

I mean.

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

professional life.

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?

- Yeah.

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

delicate passages.

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]


New Mexico PBS dot org and look for COLORES under

What We Do and Local Productions.



Funding for COLORES was provided in part by:

Frederick Hammersley Foundation

...and Viewers Like You


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