A handmade, traditional straw appliqué cross set with a turquoise nugget in the center. The silky straw shows its luster against the black-painted wood that has lively accents of turquoise. A simple, handsome and powerful piece that encapsulates history. This graceful, austere piece is meant to adorn the wall (has a rawhide loop on the back for hanging). Native American craft with meaning. Signed Carlton Gallegos, Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M.
The history and culture of the Rio Grande Pueblos and their Spanish conquerors have been intertwined for almost 600 years. The age-old tradition of inlaying wood with straw is still being practiced by both groups. The understated decoration on this cross echoes the yucca plant designs on Pueblo pottery--an example of how the Pueblos have always accommodated both their traditional and Christian beliefs.
Carlton Gallegos is traditional member of Santa Ana Pueblo, just east of Bernalillo, New Mexico. When only two elderly people in the pueblo knew how to do wheat straw applique--a Spanish Colonial craft--Carlton learned to do it so that this traditional craft would not be lost.