Join us for a conversation featuring emerging artists Becca Vasquez and Sespe Miller. Moderated by ELA fellow, Sydnie Pace, the artists will elaborate on the artwork that they produced during their five-week virtual artist residency, hosted by Pace, which was centered around contemporary craft.
Becca Vasquez (@__bvaz__) is a Chicana weaver & jewelry fiber artist residing in El Paso, Texas. Her current work focuses predominantly on handwoven wool earrings using a combination of naturally colored wool, commercially dyed yarn, hand-dyed yarn, and yarn hand-dyed using natural dyes. This is her very first artist residency. She has a BA in International Studies: Emphasis in Global Resources and the Environment from the University of Iowa.
Sespe Miller (@beaver_coppiced_willow) was born in Chumash territory, what many people now call Santa Barbara, and was raised on their father’s small organic farm in the foothills above the city, where they farm to this day. Sespe apprenticed for two years with Earth Walk Vermont, where they studied and practiced ancient teaching methods. Realizing that nature is a tool to strengthen community, Sespe made it their goal to connect people to their natural surroundings and to study a variety of mentoring and teaching styles. After this journey, Sespe found a handful of teachers of old handcrafts, such as fire by friction, animal tracking, storytelling, pottery, tanning and weaving, these skills cracked their heart open. The first basket Sespe wove was 11 years ago and since then they have been embodying the craft within their hands, they apprenticed with a master, who cultivates willow species within her garden and weaves styles that are from around the world. With rich dark reds, yellows, vibrant greens, and deep browns, Willow is a dear old friend to people of all traditions, and an important part of how we got here today, Sespe feels a deep connection within their own ancestry while weaving baskets in the stillness of the forest, and can usually be found making something useful and beautiful with their hands.