We want to say thank you to our outgoing Guest Curator, Donald Cosentino! If you missed a chance to see his fantastic artifacts, please stop by the Guest Curator Archive Page. You can also examine all of our past Guest Curator’s as well.
Welcome to our Guest Curator, Clodagh Brennan Harvey!
Clodagh Brennan Harvey is now living in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She received her Ph.D. in Folklore and Mythology from the University of California, Los Angeles (1987). She has taught courses in Irish and American folklore, the Irish storytelling tradition, and specialized courses on aspects of Irish tradition at the college/university level and through continuing education programs. She was an instructor of English Composition at the university level and served as Managing Editor for Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society (2000-2003).
Her research interests include popular and traditional storytelling (Irish and American), the ‘heritage industry’, and mural art in Ireland and the U.S. She received a Research Attachment to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (1993) to study contemporary storytelling and a Cultural Traditions Fellowship from the Community Relations Council of Northern Ireland (1994-1995) to research Northern Irish heritage attractions. In 1994-1995 she served as project manager for the then-Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland (DOE/NI), coordinating a province wide storytelling competition in N.I.’s primary and secondary schools. She has published articles on both the Irish and American storytelling traditions and questions of ‘heritage’; she is the author of Contemporary Irish Traditional Narrative: The English Language Tradition (University of California Press, 1992).
Since retiring in 2012, she has turned her hand once again to fiddle playing and poetry writing. Her poems have appeared in Irish poetry anthologies and online journals and have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2015) and the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing (2017).
Burma; dimensions: 19.75”x19.75” (50 cm) I purchased this piece in Belfast in 1994. In Burma these tapestries are referred to as ‘gold thread embroidery’, employing a technique known as shwe gye. These heavily embroidered appliquẻ tapestries involve padded figures made from a variety of different materials sown on to a cotton or velvet background (usually red or black) to form scenes from Burmese classical plays (e.g., Hindu Ramayana stories, Buddhist Jataka tales). They are sewn using metallic or plain threads and decorated with sequins, beads, and glass.
Dimensions: 6.25” (16 cm). Mexico. Clay figurine. I confess that I love this little lady! I purchased her in West Los Angeles in 2003. The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos, Nov. 2) is a Mexican holiday celebrated in Latin America and throughout the Mexican diaspora. This is a lively, colourful festival when the souls of the dead return to visit the living. It involves the making of home altars (ofrendas) and calaveras (‘skulls’) of various kinds (chocolate, sugar); visitations to family graves; and offerings of favourite foods, beverages, and flowers (marigolds) to the dead. Over time Catholic elements have been removed and the festival focus is on indigenous iconography.
Taos, New Mexico. Dimensions: 5.75” (14.5 cm) Artist: ‘Juanita’ (probably Juanita Martinez). I was given this figurine as a gift in 2001. It is a fine example of these dolls, and typical of such figurines, with children clambering up to hear the words of the (open-mouthed) storyteller, who can be either male or female. The motif itself is not traditional, but is an embellishment of the traditional motif of the ‘singing mother’; it was created by potter Helen Cordero of Cochiti Pueblo in 1964. The popularity of the motif spread rapidly and, eventually, several hundred potters were making storyteller dolls in more than a dozen pueblos.
I purchased this piece in Santa Monica, California, in 2002. ‘CowParade’ was the first (and largest) public art exhibit of its kind. First held in Chicago in 1999, and subsequently in more than 80 cities worldwide, more than 2500 fibreglass, life-sized cows were created for these exhibits – always standing, grazing, or reclining – and decorated by local artists, both professional and nonprofessional. Cows were chosen for their universal appeal and for their flexibility as a ‘work space’. ‘Folkloricow’ is one of the collectibles to come out of CowParade. (These figurines are among the most popular collectibles in the world.) She begged to be put in the gallery!
Mexico. Dimensions: 4.25” (11 cm). Clay figurine. Artist unknown. I purchased this beautiful little figurine in Los Angeles in 2006; close inspection reveals its remarkable detail. I believe she is Yemanjá, an important water spirit/orisha in Candomblé (a syncretistic religion of Afro-Brazilian origin), but my attempts to confirm this have failed. I would greatly appreciate it if any visitors to the Gallery could provide any information on the identity, provenance, or purpose of this figure.
Tibet/India (?). Wool. Dimensions: 69”x26.5” (175cm x 67cm) This shawl was sold to me in Los Angeles in 2011 as ‘Tibetan’. My investigations so far have revealed very scant information except that it appears to be machine made and is possibly the work of Tibetan workers in India. Again, I would greatly appreciate it if any visitors to the Gallery could enlighten me on any aspect of this piece.
If you are a folklorist or a collector of folklore/popular culture artifacts, please consider becoming a Guest Curator. Your objects will be highlighted here on a rotating basis.
All we ask is that the objects be yours, you have a photograph of the objects, and all or most of the information about the object (see the guidelines below, for more details).
Guest Curator Guidelines:
1. Artifacts must fall within the subject of our website (folklore, folk art, popular culture, etc).
2. Artifacts must be a part of your own personal collection.
3. Submissions must be limited to no more than five artifacts.
4. Submissions must contain a photograph of the artifact, as well as the title, purpose, country of origin, culture , materials, and dimensions of the artifact.
5. We also would like your photograph and a brief biography to accompany the collection.
Please contact, firstname.lastname@example.org and write Guest Curator in the subject line for further information or with any questions. We cannot wait to highlight your collection!