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Hemlocks continue to make mark in Santa Fe

Kanien’kehá:ka artist Carla Hemlock was the recipient of multiple awards at the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts’ 96th Santa Fe Indian Market. (Courtesy Raven Swamp)


Carla and Donald “Babe” Hemlock’s latest work has earned them further accolades at this year’s prestigious Southwestern Association for Indian Arts’ (SWAIA) Santa Fe Indian Market.

“To be accepted into SWAIA is an honour in itself, to receive recognition for your work is quite humbling,” said Carla, a textile and diverse artist.

“We are truly grateful for all of the love and support that we received that weekend, it is something that we will carry with us for a while!”

The annual event, which took place from August 15-20, celebrates Indigenous art, fashion, music, dance and film. Best of Show winners are awarded to nations’ most exceptional artists in a variety of juried categories.

“I want to extend my congratulations to the 2017 Best of Show winners, and to the hundreds of artists from around the country who submitted their best work for jurying,” said Dallin Maybee, SWAIA chief operating officer, in a statement. “It is our honor to reward these artists, who are doing phenomenal work in their respective mediums.”

Carla’s piece “Walking Through Time” which includes a coat, hat and purse, won first place, best in division, and best in class for beadwork/quillwork.

“As I was called to the podium for the Best in Class for Beadwork/Quillwork, all I could think about was my friend and mentor Gail Montour, and I kept thinking that I so wish Gail could have seen what I made,” said Carla.

She said she was flirting with the idea of making a coat for quite some time and this one ended up taking her six months to complete.

(Courtesy Daniel Nadelbach, SWAIA)
(Courtesy Daniel Nadelbach, SWAIA)

“I worked on nothing but those items. I just wanted to try it and see if it would work out and I am glad that it did,” said Carla. “Although I had submitted the work into the Textile category the judges moved it into the Beadwork/Quillwork category. That alone took me by surprise.”

The couple collaborated on a cradleboard titled ‘Big John, Shooting the Rapids,’ which also received first place and best in division for diverse arts.

“Big John Shooting the Rapids is legendary to our people and we thought what better platform to tell his story,” said Carla, about Big John Canadian.

The two are no strangers to SWAIA. Last year, Carla was the recipient of the Bernard Ewell Innovation Award for her 65 by 58 inch quilt “We Remain Haudenosaunee” about the 1779 Sullivan Expedition, a military campaign during the American Revolutionary War against Loyalists and the Haudenosaunee who had sided with the British.

Even though their annual trip to New Mexico has come and gone, Carla said they’re going to be heading into a busy year working on new projects.

“As much as we would both like to rest, we have a number of exhibits we will be part of well into 2019, so we need to get busy. But before that, I plan on vegging out on movies and going bike riding,” she said.

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