Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 11 - More Interviews

During the day Monday, most of the student journalism teams had interview sessions in various places around the Navajo Nation. Some were doing a second interview with the elder who is the main focus of their oral history journalism project. Other groups were gathering more photos or "B-roll" video to fill-out their projects or were completing ancillary interviews with the elder's family members or co-workers.

(photo by Andrew Neumann)
The group that visited and interviewed Harry Walters (Chops Hancock, Larissa Jimmy, Andrew Neumann and Steph Precourt) worked most of the day repairing the outside and inside of an old hogan on the Walters family property.

The group working on Ruth Roessel's oral history project (Maya Acevedo, David Busse and Pete Swanson) visited the Rough Rock Demonstration School and interviewed several of Ruth's co-workers.

The group creating an oral history of Sam Tso (Eli Francis, Brandi Hagen, Cory Hinz, and Matt Wandzel), the Navajo Codetalker, visited his home again and interviewed his daughter, Yvonne, and looked through family photos albums and memorabilia. They also saw a complete Codetalker dictionary with translation of code words into Navajo and English.

Monday night, we had an excellent demonstration of fine jewelry silversmithing from Vernon Haskie, husband of Dr. Miranda Haskie, our partner faculty member from DinĂ© College. Vernon does museum-quality work in gold, silver, turquoise, coral and other precious stones. His work is amazing and he kept the student's attention for a couple hours explaining his process and demonstrating his art. 

Vernon did a spontaneous demonstration of creating a mold and pouring silver into it. He looked at the WSU Warrior logo that was on Steph Precourt's jacket and started carving. In less than five minutes he had a mold ready to go, heated up silver in a crucible to its melting point and poured it into the mold. The finished piece is rough and needs trimming and polishing, but the demonstration was impressive.

Then, Vernon showed some of his favorite finished pieces. We know they're his favorites, because most of them he had given to Miranda as gifts. 

Take a moment and type "Vernon Haskie" into a Google search. Follow a couple links. You'll see the quality of his work, and understand why we feel incredibly privileged to have enjoyed a close-up demonstration from the artist himself at his home workshop. We also found out he does commission work. You can contact him with your ideas for a piece of jewelry, belt buckle, bolo tie, etc., and he'll create some designs. When you're happy with the design you write a check to Vernon with lots of zeroes on it, and he creates a piece of fine jewelry for you!
As the day drew to an end, Cory Hinz created a beautiful image of a sunset over Lukachukai, Arizona.

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