Born in Tuba City, AZ in 1966 and
raised at White Mesa (between Tonalea and
Patrick began making fans while he was still in high school. Upon graduating from NAU in 1995, he decided to pursue his art fulltime. Prior to that, his amazing talent and beautiful creations were well-known only to family and close friends. It didnt take long for his art to become world renowned. Today, his creations can be found in permanent collections of major museums like the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK, the Smithsonian Museum: - Museum of the American Indian in New York City and Washington, D. C., as well as galleries and private collections that span the globe. He also makes ceremonial prayer fans used in many Native American ceremonies and rituals, and fans used in Pow-wows. His gourd rattles, staff sets and drumsticks are valued by the Native American community for use in their own tribal ceremonies, healing rituals and other religious purposes.
The prayer and blessing aspect of his art is very close to Patricks heart. Knowing that his fans may be used to help those experiencing difficulty in life, emotional or physical illness drives Patrick to fashion his creations with the utmost care, attention to detail and with the wisdom of his ancestors. Native Americans use his creations to communicate with the spirits of the four directions, Mother Earth and Father Sky to call upon their blessings, energy and wisdom in times of hardship, as well as in times of good fortune and blessing. Each component of his fans has special meaning and purpose, and therefore the raw materials are chosen with care and purpose.
Materials available to Patrick are more modern than what traditional artisans used. His featherwork, for example, comes mainly from the body feathers of goose, pheasant, turkey, macaw, parrot and occasionally duck. Patrick also makes use of natural and dyed feathers. Patrick chooses the best quality available for all components of his creations, like the bamboo sticks used for extenders on the stems of his feathers, and the commercially-tanned, deer skin hides that make up the fringes on his fans; the stems of the fan; the holder of the fans. The intricate beadwork on Patricks fan and gourd rattle handles, hair ties, drumsticks, lanyards and key chains is in a class by itself.
Patrick chooses to use impossibly small seed beads (mainly size 15 seed beads and occasionally 13 glass seed beads*) for his creations to achieve the intricacy of design that has become one of his trademark talents. Another testament to his creative talent is the invention of a unique beadwork stitch developed in 1991 by Patrick and his brother Bennie, known as the gourd stitch. He also uses the more traditional Peyote stitch, brick stitch (also referred to as the Comanche Stitch) and straight stack stitch. Special thanks to Wilbert Mike for passing much of this type of work to Patrick too!
Patrick then carefully washes
each feather using traditional herbs used by Navajo and passed down from his elders.
The next two days in the process involve streaming, flattening and extending
the extending the feathers with bamboo sticks. Patricks feather work is
customized for each client depending on the purpose of each fan, such as
The beadwork, thread work and feather work in Patricks fans and creations are very carefully matched in color, design, purpose and his clients preferences. This coordination of every aspect of Patricks creations is something that is rare and unique. Each aspect and component of Patricks creations are carefully planned and depend on Patricks personal knowledge of each client. Getting to know his clients and customers personally is one way that helps Patrick create personal and meaningful fans that his customers will treasure.
The feathers Patrick uses for the majority of his customers are parrot, macaw, pheasant, Impeyan and turkey feathers. Only a select few are from eagles and/or hawks, due to Federal regulations that dictate who may carry or possess feathers from these species of bird. In addition to other requirements set by Federal law, those who possess feathers from these bird species must be at least ¼ Native American and must be an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe. If all legal requirements are met, individuals can get eagle and hawk feathers from the National Eagle Repository after completing an application. This process means that some fans that Patrick creates can be extremely valuable and rare, and it may have taken his clients many years to collect the feathers.
Considering that most birds molt once per year, and the feathers must be paired for use in a fan, it often takes many months for Patrick to collect the best and most suitable feathers for his creations. Patricks flat fans are usually an odd number of feathers so there can be one center feather, with pairs emanating from there. Dancers mostly prefer wing feathers, and the tail feathers are the first choice of members of the Native American Church members.
It has taken Patrick many years and dedicated effort and work to refine his art and distinguish himself as arguably one of the best fan makers to be found anywhere. His art has taken him far from home, and yet constantly keeps him tied to his people, his traditions, his homeland and his culture. Owning a feather fan made by Patrick is an honor, and he brings dignity, respect and tradition to his craft something that is becoming harder and harder to find.
WHAT MAKES PATRICKS WORK DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS
What makes Patrick's Fan work different from the rest? First of all, each fan is individualized, that is, made for very unique individuals. Patrick begins by getting to know his clients individually, and for what purpose the fans or rattles are used. How will his creations be used? Will they become part of a private collection? Perhaps they are intended to be heirloom pieces. The answers to all these probing questions marks the beginning of Patrick's unique artistic process.
Patrick will then meditate over all the client information to get a clear picture of the colors and design he will use. Tobacco is often used in Patrick's Native culture to establish relationships with others, as well as being used as offerings during prayer. The design can take anywhere from a single week to a few months to create. Patrick's creative process evolves during the course of everyday life running, daily chores, as well as during ceremonies and while participating in sweats. Patrick will only begin work on his creations when he feels he has the design firmly in mind.
The feather work is by far the most time-consuming part of the process. Many hours are spent on the details. It is Patrick's intricate details that take up most of the time in the process, and also what sets his creations head and shoulders above the rest.Upon completion of a fan, the feather work is sealed, thereby preserving his work for years to come and insuring his clients receive top quality craftsmanship.
Patrick's beadwork is created with the unique gourd stitch. This beading technique was created by Patrick and his brother Bennie. The gourd stitch is the result of Patrick's relentless pursuit of perfection, trial and error, and his artistic talent. The gourd stitch is only just beginning to be a style known and copied by other beadwork artists. Unfortunately, there are more and more people who continue to attempt to copy Patrick's unique style and intricate designs.
Patrick only uses top quality white suede leather for his work. He will also use brain-tanned and smoked hides as well. Patrick requires only the best hides and leather for his fans.
Patrick takes as much time and care in his selection of the feathers as is required to satisfy his exacting standards, even if it takes him weeks and months to complete. Only top quality feathers, selected carefully by Patrick, are used. Patrick will often scrap feathers when he feels they are not acceptable, and will begin searching once more for precise top-quality feathers.
It is this unrelenting attention to detail, quality, his unique use of color and design and his superior craftsmanship that sets Patrick's art in a class all its own. This commitment to quality, regardless of the time involved, is one of Patrick's trademarks, and what assures that his clients receive only the most unique, museum-quality pieces to be found anywhere.