Education Article :: Chapter 10 :: Heard Museum

Native American Poster Design -- Heard Museum
Human-bird Pottery Motif A - Letterform H - Letterform Rug pattern

The final project is The Heard Museum poster given at the end of the second semester of the sophomore year. All the students conduct a search of library information. A field trip to the museum in Phoenix is the next step. Finally, the students may question experts in the field for more information. The student is responsible to gather enough information on their own to make a sensible study of their project. This simple search aspect of design is essential at this point.

They collect images of pottery, weavings, and paintings to supplement their ideas. They use a combination of image, type, and color to express their ideas. Simple patterns and color schemes help communicate their designs. This observance of another culture helps to broaden their educational experience. Discussions on various aspects of the ancient nations (Anasazi, Hohokam, and Mimbres) help them understand more about the design process. The information gathered about the ancient culture is part of their liberal arts education.

Project analysis
The symbols derived by the students involve a search of the existing photographic documentation. A rich source of information is available at the university libraries. The Heard Museum project is the final visual communication exercise in the sophomore year of study. Local native American culture is investigated using either Mimbres, Hohokam, or Anasazi as the starting point of the investigation. Pottery, fabric, or other artifacts are used to inspire an original design. A combination of the previous graphic studies with the new information gathered is the logical beginning point of a successful design.

Bowl. Man-bird. Style III, Mimbres Classic Black on white. Janss Foundation Bowl. Mimbres. Death figure. Mimbres Painted Pottery, Brody, pg. 209. Bowl. Classic Mimbres. The Mimbres People, Steven LeBlanc, pg. 104

Mimbres Painting: An Artist's Perspective
The center of the Mimbres world was the forty six mile long Mimbres Valley. From the valley floor, the horizon is broken by the irregular lines of the flanking hills. Clouds fill the sky in ever-changing patterns which cast moving shadows on the land; ribbons of lightning and rainbows suggest geometric design. The Mimbres metamorphosed these surroundings into objects that they could hold in their hands. Standing in the valley, one can easily perceive this world as an enormous bowl inverted over one's head.
Tony Berlant 'Mimbres Pottery' Ancient Art of the American Southwest
(Hudson Hills Press, Inc., New York, 1983; pg. 13-15)


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