|The following is an interview transcription from the 1998 Smithsonian Folklife Festival with participant Arnold Herrera, a Cochiti Pueblo drum maker and teacher. Interview by Anthony [last name unknown], presenter and interpreter at the Festival.*|
Technology & Invention in The Rio Grande:
Drum Making Among the Conchiti Pueblo
|A: The late
Santiago "Jim" Herrera, was Arnolds
father, teacher, mentor. Arnold worked alongside his dad
learning the intricate and intimate knowledge of
Herreras elders. After his fathers death,
Arnold was left to fill numerous orders that his father
had not been able to complete due to illness. Since that
time, Arnold has become an accomplished drum maker and
silversmith in his own right. He is now passing on this
extensive art knowledge to his three sons, Tim, Carlos,
and Thomas. They are learning and making their own styles
of jewelry as well as exploring other forms of
self-expression in wood, clay, metal, and on paper.
Arnold and his sons travel around the state of New Mexico
and the country to share their crafts at festivals,
fairs, and markets. They also perform traditional dances
and sing their own musical compositions. Visitors from
all across the country and around the world have been
encouraging interactive participation. Together they
present workshops to disabled students and children and
other people. They present positive alternatives that are
available to young people. Arnold is often called upon to
help school teachers acquire a greater cultural
sensitivity and awareness for their native student
population. At this time, I want to introduce Arnold
A: Okay, well start with the log here on this bench. He is going to demonstrate how to shave a log and prepare it or the drum. But, you start with the log and then. . . .
When we make drums we benefit from some of the tools my dad made. In 1971, my dad died. I was thrown right in the middle of the whole process because when my dad passed away, he had backlogs of orders. But here are some of the tools. . . .
[Arnold demonstrates how to shave the log]
A: He is going to demonstrate how to process Aspen wood in New Mexico. The other wood he uses is cottonwood. This comes from an old scythe.
My dad had an accident when I was quite young. He learned
through the process of elimination of what kind of tools
to use. Some of you who may be carpenters or work with
wood, you would appreciate these tools, which are really
fine, better than any you can buy in a market--contrary
to tools that are made nowadays. They want you to buy
one, throw it away, and then buy another one. These tools
have been in the family for a good sixty years right now.
I touch them up maybe once a year.
* transcription edited for clarity
Cultural Conservation through
Practice and Invention ]
[ Science, Technology & Invention in the Rio Grande ]
[ Impacto, Influencia, Cambio ]
[ History of Science, Technology and Invention]