Tradition Re-Created, Art of John MacLeod and Russ Kruse, at Turquoise Tortoise Gallery in Sedona Arizona
Sedona, AZ: Turquoise Tortoise Gallery opens “Tradition Re-Created: The Art of John MacLeod and Russ Kruse” on 1st Friday, April 1, from 5-8 pm. The new exhibition showcases the gifted artists’ meticulous re-creations of Native American ceremonial war shirts and headdresses, respectively.
Both artists have mastered the myriad skills necessary to create such show-stopping pieces. They work with soft leather, primarily from deer, with beads, horsehair, ermine, trade cloth, paints and pigments; they carve wood, knap stones, master complex and beautiful beadwork, hand-stitch leather, hand-paint feathers, paint designs in acrylic on rawhide, leather, wood, and bone. It can take weeks or months to complete a piece.
“My true goal is to replicate beautiful art of Native cultures as authentically as possible,” says Russ Kruse. Deep studies by Kruse into the culture of the tribes of North America, including his own Cherokee heritage, provided the insight and detail now exhibited in his headdresses. Kruse’s skills were evident as a child as he re-created Native American artifacts and weapons. As an adult, he learned lazy-stitch beadwork with glass seed beads and began to make all types of beaded items: brow bands for headdresses, knife sheaths, dance items, war shirts, pipe bags, cradle boards, and a wide variety of regalia.
A love of detail work and a passion for creating now drives Russ Kruse to create ever more intricate Native American headdresses from relatively simple halo styles, which surround the head to bonnets with a hip length trail of feathers or ones with floor length single or double trailers of feathers.
A longtime wood worker and wood carver, John MacLeod became involved with the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting in the late 1990s. Admiring other participants’ leather gear he tried his hand at making his own. Soon he began creating scabbards, knife sheaths, spur straps, wrist cuffs, chaps, chinks and more; it wasn’t long before he began making leather work for others. Encouragement from galleries led John MacLeod to turn his considerable talents to the creation of Native American-style pieces with their emphasis on artistry and color. Today John MacLeod creates ceremonial war shirts that can measure over 60” wide (displayed with outstretched sleeves) of hides he traditionally colors from browns to whites. “Creating something that can be beautiful to look at, historically based, and many times functional, all in one piece of work …” that is the great pleasure of John MacLeod as an artist.
These headdresses and ceremonial war shirts are truly impressive pieces that compliment and elevate any collection of Native American or Southwest artwork. Both artists will be at the exhibition opening to meet visitors. “Tradition Re-Created: The Art of John MacLeod and Russ Kruse” at Turquoise Tortoise Gallery runs through April 10.
Visit on Facebook at: www.Facebook.com/TurquoiseTortoiseGallerySedona; “Like” and definitely share your comments. Turquoise Tortoise Gallery, 928/282-2262, www.TurquoiseTortoiseGallery.com, located at Hozho, 431 S.R. 179, Sedona, AZ. Open daily: 10-6 Mon-Sat; 11-5 Sun.