Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Kindred Spirits

Please join me for a post that means a lot to me.  Yesterday my friend Chris and I went to visit the Warm Springs Museum.  My dear longtime friend and Pacific Northwest Native American Artist - Lillian Pitt - has decided to retire from her successful art and sculpture career and the museum installed a retrospective exhibit of her work.  Lillian was born in Warm Springs and is a member of the Warm Springs, Yakama and Wasco tribes.  As we entered the exhibit, there were two amazing pieces of her sculpture done in crystal glass - this one is "She Who Watches" cast in New Zealand lead crystal.  Oh how I love this.  

But I'm ahead of myself.. this is the entrance to the museum.

The main lobby is beautifully designed with these wonderful wooden supports to the sky blue arched ceiling.

The impressive entrance to the exhibit.

This is the Warm Springs Stick Indian mask.. isn't this beautiful?

Lillian also makes masks of clay and fired in a raku kiln.  I love how she decorates the masks with feathers, leather and beads.

Two large art pieces loomed high on the wall.

This sculpture was also tall and impressive with a bronze mask.

Lillian has also done many cast glass pieces which are just luminous and in many colors.  This one incorporates a hammered copper base.

Clay mask - called "Warning Spirit" inspired by an ancient petroglyph.

A large installation of standing sculptures, clay masks and framed art.

The beauty of Lillian's masks is that each are individually formed of clay so each has it's very own personality.

Seneca Woman.

I love the colors in this one.

In the center of the room was a large glass case with glass sculptures in a rainbow of colors.

There were several informative displays telling us about the art and Lillian.  If you want to enlarge this to read it, click on it.  

After the exhibit we visited the wonderful gift shop of the museum.  

When I knew I was going to this art exhibit I felt that I needed to add something wonderful to my small collection of Lillian Pitt pieces.  I looked around and heard Chris call to me.. she wanted me to see this small bronze sculpture in the window... 

The bronze sculpture below came home with me.  If you hold out your hand and spread your fingers, this would fit right in your hand.  I'm in love with it.  The legend of Tsagaglalal or She Who Watches is that she was a woman chief of her tribe, when she died her image was stuck upon a high rock so she could watch over her tribe forevermore.

The real petroglyph is below - you have to hike out through a rocky landscape to get to visit She Who Watches - I've been there twice and both times were very special to me.  I got this photo a few years ago.  She is located in Washington State on the Columbia River.

The beautiful Warm Springs woman who was in charge of the shop that day showed us one of Lillian's clay masks and I shared with her my trade beads I was wearing.. that were dug out of the sands of the Columbia River before Bonneville Dam flooded the river and covered the beaches forevermore.  

I admired the beaded wallet in the window.. 

Another one is white with bright colors.. 

A gorgeous beaded purse of roses.

A collection of handmade dolls.

As we exited the museum I enjoyed the water feature there which is calming and beautiful.

A beautiful and peaceful place to visit.

As we drove out of Warm Springs and enjoyed the desert around us with the high mesas I was once again amazed at the beautiful place we live and how the topography changes is such a short time.  You could see Mt. Hood as we came up out of the desert valley of Warm Springs where the Deschutes River rushes through.  As we drove along it got closer and closer until we were upon it's massive shoulders.

And this is what our mountain looks like in late summer before the fresh snow falls to cloak her in a freezing clean coat of white.

On the way out of the museum there were posters for the taking so we each snatched up two of them.

I wore my special Lillian Pitt earrings of She Who Watches.  I actually wear these almost every time I go out of the house to "town".  Lillian sold me her very own gold sculptures before I left to Washington DC to visit the National Museum of the American Indian.  She wanted to make sure that She Who Watches would protect me and watch over me on the trip.  Is it any wonder that I adore Lillian?  :-)

This is a photo of Lillian and I when she gave a presentation to the Portland Women's Forum 4 years ago.  :-)

I do hope you enjoyed my photos and story of a very special day.  ((hugs)), Teresa :-) 


  1. Your friend is brilliant, so many gorgeous pieces in many media. The glass sculptures and masks are breath taking. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. What a fantastic museum and such beautiful art work. I LOVE "She Who Watches" (and the story behind it). The Visionary Stick Indian is amazing. Such beauty. Thank you for sharing!

  3. What a wonderful visit. I love your sweet mask. She is an amazing artist xx

  4. Thanks for sharing this very special visit. Lillian is a very talented artist. The masks are very powerful. Thanks again!

  5. You love to surround yourself with creative people. I love meeting them.

  6. Oh Teresa, what a very special day. I loved going along with you to the museum and I learned a lot today. "She Who Watches" is gorgeous and an inspiration. The story of LIllian giving you her earrings is so special. No wonder you adore her. Also thank you for the beautiful pictures of Mt. Hood. So it will be covered with snow again.
    Blessings always my friend,

  7. Hi Teresa! What a wonderful cultural trip for us all!
    I loved all the stick Indian masks.. and the glass sculptures are very beautiful... Lillian is such a true artist, so good she spreads her cultural heritage :))) Thanks for sharing!

  8. Interesting exhibition Teresa. I'm not a fan of masks but there were some other lovely things there. I do like your earrings though. Your friend is very talented indeed. xox

  9. What a wonderful exhibit. The museum is lovely ... I especially like those wooden supports -- it's like looking at the underside of a parasol. Lillian's work is incredible. I love masks from different cultures and their meanings ... you picked a nice one to take home.

  10. This is so fascinating! And your photography...madam, you are a master of the craft!

  11. I want to go there now!!!!! Love the wood in the museum MOSTLY love the end photo of you two!

  12. You were in my neck of the woods! I'm 12 miles south of Warm Springs. I haven't been to the museum for 20 years and I remember how much I loved it then. Lillian is an amazing artist, and love the history of She Who Watches.. I used to live in The Dalles, across the river from Wishram, and did walk to some petroglyphs down by the river, but never knew about She Who Watches up above Wishram. That is amazing to know. When I lived in The Dalles, a Native American woman had a little shop across the river in Washington, at the little town of Dallesport.. and she had some beautiful beadwork done by the Warm Springs and Celilo Native Americans... I took my son there alot and he so loved all of the beadwork, leatherwork, Indian dolls, etc. The gift shop at Warm Springs is wonderful and I mean to go there soon!

    Yes this is an amazing and stunning area we live in!

  13. This post is a beautiful tribute to Lillian and her work, your friendship with her, and the wonderful area in which we live. Thank you, Teresa xxxxxxxxx


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