Introducing The Chaperone

I am pleased to announce my newest work in clay…and introduce my new philanthropic organization

My newest sculpture, The Chaperone, features a Navajo woman tending to young sheep of her flock. Notice her garments: She is wearing the traditional blanket dress of 150 years ago.

The Chaperone

The Chaperone

You may be thinking that Navajo subject matter is a departure for me-and you would be right.

My typical Native American subjects are high country and Great Plains warriors. So where did I get this inspiration?

Sharing our blessings

The story of this sculpture starts with a conversation over barbeque in my backyard with my good friend, painter James Ayers. James and I were relaxing after our meal and chatting about how fortunate we were to have successful careers creating fine art.

We realized that our professional achievements would be even more satisfying if we “paid it forward” and shared our good fortune with young artists trying find their place in the art world.

Since both of us derive inspiration from Native American cultures, it seemed only natural to help Native American youth enjoy the benefits of art education.

From this, we started a new organization, Wopila Artist Guild . We plan to have a benefit art show in 2011, with part of the proceeds going to benefit the young weaver fund of the Navajo trading post at Toadlena.

Wopila: Thanks given for all of existence and the blessing inherent in each moment of it

The Lakota have a saying “What you give away you keep; what you keep, you lose; this is the spirit of the Wopila Artist Guild.

By definition, Wopila is a Lakota word often is used in connection with the Lakota tradition of giving away things to people you love as a gesture of thanks and blessing.

Our mission is to help keep traditional art forms alive by providing support, education and funds for Native American young artists, to keep by giving away. James Ayers and I thought, what better way to give back then to provide support and encouragement to young Native American artists?

Honoring the Navajo weavers of Toadlena

James and I will host our first benefit show in June 2011, to celebrate the Navajo weavers of Toadlena.

These traditional weavers continue the intricate process their great-great-grandmothers used, from raising the sheep, to hand-spinning the wool, to create their peerless textiles.

This type of weaving is an endangered art form, as fewer people every generation choose to make the commitment this ancient, skilled art requires.

In Native cultures, there is a very fine line between function and art with art nearly always being an integral part of function. Weaving is a perfect example of the Native idea of art and function being two sides of the same kind, with the textiles being both exquisite and useful.

Four footed inspiration

The colored-wool sheep of Toadlena

The colored-wool sheep of Toadlena

James and I will both be debuting three pieces created in honor of the Navajo weavers of Toadalena at this benefit: James’ on canvas, and mine in bronze.

To decide what to depict, I chatted with one of the weavers at Toadlena. I asked her if she could find one word to encapsulate the whole culture, to sum up the most important parts of it in one word, and she immediately said “the sheep”. Given that answer, I have chosen to highlight the sheep in each of my three pieces.

Culture in clay

Close-up of shoulder detail

Close-up of shoulder detail

My first piece, titled “The Chaperone”, depicts a Navajo woman wearing an historic blanket dress and holding a sheep. The blanket dresses, which replaced the older, Pueblo style dresses in the 1700s, were created entirely by the weavers, from the yarn to the finished product.

I felt it was important to ground the modern craft in its history, to show how venerable and central this type of weaving was, and still is, to the Navajo people.  The blanket dresses were fastened at the shoulders and stitched up the sides, leaving the arms bare.

In addition to showcasing the weaver’s art by choosing to have my subject in a blanket dress, I think the bare shoulders give the sculpture dimension and texture. The soft slope of the shoulder, bared to let the arms curve around the sheep, gives her a degree of emotion and femininity that I find very appealing.

Two more works to follow

bergsgaard-virginia-deal

Virginia Deal, master weaver at Toadlena, demonstrates wool carding

In addition to The Chaperone, I will be debuting two other sculptures in honor of the Toadlena weavers.

One will depict a male figure on a horse, carrying or rescuing a lamb, highlighting the deeply ingrained tradition of caring for the sheep as an integral part of Navajo culture not limited to the weavers themselves.

The other will center on women involved in the painstaking process of carding and spinning the wool into yarn, prior to weaving it.

For more information

Would you like more information on The Chaperone, Wopila artist guild, or the Navajo weavers of Toadlena? Please call me at 720-312-4498 or send me an email.

Capture the Day – newest piece in The High Country series

Second installment in the High Country series

bergsgaard-capture-clay-sidEdition of 18 – 14″ x 14″ x 19″
$2,900 precast price
Price will be raised to $3,600 after casting

Ever seen daybreak from a mountainside? In Capture the Day, a high country Native American man surveys the land and prepares for the day ahead.

You can see more views here: Capture the Day

About The High Country series:
If you haven’t seen the West from the high country, you haven’t seen the West at all. This series celebrates the Blackfoot, Ute, and Crow tribes who made their lives in the highlands of North America.

A Better View – First in a NEW series

First in the High Country series

bergsgaard-better-view-clay2

Edition of 18 – 18″ x 8″ x 24″
$2,900 precast price
Price will be raised to $3,600 after casting

From Lewis and Clark to Curtis and Bodmer, the early explorers spoke of the superb horsemanship exhibited by the indigenous peoples. This deft skill is the inspiration for this piece which depicts a rider with full and utter faith in his mount as he ascends to better his view.

You can see more views here: A Better View

About The High Country series:
If you haven’t seen the West from the high country, you haven’t seen the West at all. This series celebrates the Blackfoot, Ute, and Crow tribes who made their lives in the highlands of North America.

Collectors! Recounting the Coup, Full Figure available at the low precast price for only two more weeks

The price goes up $3,000 once the series goes to the foundry

“They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it.” ~ Chief Red Cloud, Lakota

Get yours before the price increase!

Recounting the Coup by Craig Bergsgaard

Recounting the Coup by Craig Bergsgaard

Recounting the Coup, Full Figure depicts a Lakota man reminiscing about his life and the soon-to-vanish lifestyle of his people. This basic premise has been captivating collectors at all my 2010 shows, from Arizona to Canada.

Now it is time to cast the first piece. Once I send the clay to the foundry on September 17, the price will increase by $3,000. So if you have been thinking about adding Recounting the Coup, Full Figure to your collection, you have only a few more days to do so at the reduced price.

More about Recounting the Coup, Full Figure

This piece was created to finish telling the tale started with my ¾ size bust, Recounting the Coup. After completing that work, I knew I had created something special, but I felt like there was more of this subject to explore: his clothes, his accouterments, and his stance.

You can read more here about Recounting the Coup, Full Figure.

One of the best things this sculpture is hearing the personal experiences that my collectors relate to the piece. One of my favorite stories is the client who bought it because it reminded her of the wisdom in her grandfather’s eyes.

Order yours before the price increase-a great Christmas gift!

The price of Recounting the Coup, Full Figure at the pre-cast price is $10,500. After September 17, 2010 the price will go up to $13,500.

Call me today at 720-312-4498 or email me and I will reserve one for you immediately. (There are only 15 total in the edition.) I will also make sure yours gets into the queue at the foundry so that you can get your finished sculpture before Christmas.

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Soup’s On, my homage to pin up art is going to the foundry.

Order yours by 11:59 pm on September 10, 2010 to save $1,000

2010 was the year of the pin up at Craig Bergsgaard Studios

Soup's On by Craig Bergsgaard

Soup's On by Craig Bergsgaard

Soup’s On is my homage to this sometimes-kitschy, always entertaining art form: the Western pin up.

This lady has captured hearts at all my major 2010 shows, but now it is time to get the purchased ones cast in time for Christmas.

You still have a few days to get yours at the pre-cast price-and get your bronze in time for Christmas

I’ll bet you know a vintage western fan that would love this sassy lass for their collection. Or perhaps you can relate to her moxie yourself!

Call me at 720-312-4498 or send me an email before 11:59pm on September 10, 2010, and you can get Soup’s On for the precast price of $2,895 and save $1,000. Once Soup goes to the foundry, the price will be increased to $3,895.