Chairman Neil Ramshaw started the meeting prompt at 1030 a.m.welcoming attendees and advising of five apologies.
Roy Smith ( Treasurer ) made a short address to the audience regarding mislaid property. Members were advised that Christmas Lunch ( December 15th ) was now fully booked and the Chairman asked for suggestions regarding the Christmas Lunch Charity collection to be advised to him or John Taylor. Peter Belton had advised that one of the recipients of last years collection an African girl studying with his daughter was now at Johannesburg University.
Today saw the return of a regular and much-anticipated Speaker Professor Martin Curzon whose talk was titled “Arts & Crafts of the Desert Indians”. This proved to be an entertaining and informative narrative about the Pueblo Indians of South West U.S.A., an area the Speaker had spent about seven weeks touring around. He spoke to us about their traditional arts and crafts which include Weaving, Jewellery, Baskets, Kachino’s ( dolls ) and Pottery. The point was made that their arts were based on what related to their natural culture and environments. Geographically the area comprised Arizona and New Mexico where around 3000,000 Navajo still live. In original tribal lands the Anasazi’s ( cliff dwellers) lived on top of the Grand Canyon and came from Siberia over 3,000 years ago into lush and fertile living conditions. Climate change was taking place though which led to less hospitable conditions–much drier, hotter. Further significant changes occurred in 1541 with the appearance of the Spanish Conquistadors who came up from Mexico consisting mainly of hot-headed cavaliers looking for adventure and the fabled El Dorado!! They brought many negative issues such as death, disease ( smallpox; measles ), looting and missionaries but on the positive side introduced horses, sheep, iron and smelting techniques which extended the range of arts and craft products. The various tribes in the area included Hopi, Apache, Navajo, Acomi, Zuni and Taos all bringing their own individual design to their various arts and crafts based on subjects such as Water, Migration, Lightning, Birds and Friendship. These various designs can be seen in their attractive jewellery ( mainly Navajo, Hopi and Zuni ) and the use of Turquoise,Opal, Pink Coral etc in their production of Stones. South West Clay Pottery was interestingly designed without the use of a wheel ( not invented by North American Indians–no need for it!) and by using a coil method in their creation. Basketry was made mainly from Yucca plants and the Weaving of Rugs and Blankets from wool. Quilt Design was introduced by missionaries and Kochina’s (Wooden figures–Dolls ) had an impressive array of designs and sizes. The talk was well backed up by impressive slides showing pictures and facts along with examples of baskets passed around the audience to examine and books relating to the subject matter available for perusal. Questions and comments followed the conclusion of the speech.
The Vote of Thanks was given by Vincent Naylor on behalf of the 39 attendees.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY