Judy Tuwaletstiwa creates mixed media paintings from natural materials like sand, mud, feathers, sticks and fiber. She's also known for her fine art edition books that capture the creative process through images and words. Her art has been exhibited extensively, at such institutions as the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff and the Crocker Museum in Sacramento.
What inspires you? The beauty and complexity of feathers inspired me for a long time: the coloring, shape and curve of each feather speaks about the bird from which it came. Feathers evolved over millions of years from reptilian scales. They hold transformation.
Tell us about your process. Each medium I use has its own special language. I listen to the materials and develop that language. When I lived on the Hopi Indian Reservation in Northern Arizona, I began using sand in my art, sifting it onto paint on my canvases. Then I added in repeating elements like sticks and feathers to create a natural language based on texture and rhythm.
Why make art? I once wrote that I wanted to make art as essential as breath. In fact, art is like breathing for me. It's my way of breathing meaning into life. I make art because I must.