Thursday, January 5, 2012

In the Presence of Greatness

Today was the Portland Women's Forum meeting and our guest speaker was Lillian Pitt.  She is a Pacific Northwest Native American Artist whose ancestors lived in and near the Columbia River Gorge for over 10,000 years.  I am proud to call her a friend.  We've known each other for 30 years.  She is a wonderful person who told us a story of her life, how she was born on the Warm Springs Reservation near Mt. Hood, Oregon - and how she went to the first years of school on the reservation, then went to school in Madras - how it was not easy to be a Native American child in school in those days, or any child of color.  I'll tell you more, but the image below is one of her latest endeavors, this is "She-Who-Watches" - an important petroglyph in the Columbia River Gorge.  She sculpted the image in clay and then the glass artist cast the sculpture in New Zealand Lead Crystal.  Isn't it amazing?
Lillian also designed this image for a Pendleton Blanket.  It's a graphic interpretation of a legend her aunt handed down to her about Coyote and the Huckleberry Sisters.  My sister Denise owns this blanket and brought it to show the group.  Lillian signed the blanket for my sister.
The beauty of this blanket is it's reversible - I love this side of it! 
Lillian brought a wonderful selection of her artwork and provided it for sale to us after the meeting.  These tiles are a new project for Lillian. 
Lillian began her art career making these raku clay mask pins with feathers on top - and she is still making these wonderful pins!  I bought one today.  The one in the top middle.  He's a "Stick" figure 
She also brought some of her sterling silver earrings and necklaces. 
She also brought several larger raku clay masks. 
More and even larger raku clay masks. 
I love the bright colors on this mask, and the striped feathers. 
Two old friends. 
To continue her story... when she graduated high school, she headed to Portland to live and make her way in the world.  She began classes in a beauty school and there blossomed from a shy girl that had low self esteem to someone who learned to talk with people and loved the creativity of working with hair.  She then decided to try to get into the medical profession by taking classes at Mt. Hood Community College.  She took a pottery class as an elective and learned to work with clay - and her artistic passion bloomed.  She has since had a long life of creating her art in many different media - clay, silver, gold, glass and now bronze sculptures.  Please do click on her name above and visit her website to learn more.  She was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Portland!  

I told Lillian about my blogging and she expressed an interest, so I told her I could come and visit sometime and show her how to start a blog of her own.  :-)

The membership all totally enjoyed hearing Lillian tell her story.  I hope you did too.
((hugs)), Teresa :-) 


  1. What an interesting story your friend Lillian has. What a wonderful artist too. You never cease to amaze me yourself Teresa!!!
    You do lead an interesting life up there in God's Country!!! I enjoyed hearing about this!

  2. You indeed have a great friend and an extremely talented one, just like you!!

  3. It sounds like you had a wonderful time visiting an old friend and perusing her lovely trinkets. The blanket is BEAUTIFUL! I adore it! That's something I know even my husband would love to own something like that. I would like to know the legend behind the design :)

  4. What an interesting lady - and with such talent. Those masks are amazing. I loved seeing the photo of the two of you too Teresa.

  5. One of the things I like best about visiting with you in your blog, Teresa, is meeting,interesting people, places, and information new to me...beautiful...colorful! Thanks, again. <3

  6. I have just found your blog and find it amazing. Two years ago we had a holiday in Oregon and we loved it. To see all your photos of the falls, gorge and surrounding areas bring back many happy memories. My husband climbed up the Multnomah Falls and I watched him! Unfortunately I was so mesmerised by the place that I forgot to take photos of him up there and don't think that I have ever been forgiven! Thank you for a wonderful blog.

  7. I was free yesterday, you should have given me a call! I wish I could pop over for your 'Portland Women's Forum Meetings'. :)

  8. Hi Teresa,
    Loved this interesting post. What a lovely lady Lillian seems to be, and so talented. Love the blanket and the reverse side also. I would feel honored to call her a friend too.
    Hope you have a good weekend, xoRobin❤

  9. Wonderful story. I have a dear father who loves and collects Native American Art. That blanket is simple superb. The colors are great. I love the pins too. Ok, I love it all. But that last picture of the two of you is a keeper. Look at those happy faces. What a fabulous life you have out there in God's Country. Maybe, I need to move or get out of the city for a while.

  10. I loved your post today Teresa, what a remarkable and very talented lady she is . I would have loved to be at that meeting. Her work is stunning and you are so lucky to have been able to purchase that stick's gorgeous. I also loved the blanket very much.
    Have a great weekend,
    Jane x

  11. What a talented lady! I love the glass piece! So gorgeous. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Thankyou Teresa I certainly enjoyed reading about Lillian.She is a very talented lady-as are you. Anne x

  13. Amazing lady! I also love the glass piece, stunning.


  14. Love the Pendleton Blanket. A sudden lust for huckleberries overwhelmed me for a second.


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