November 20, 2016

Atlatl

By Nancy Dewhurst
Big Bend State Park, TX
November 1, 2016

We are at the Big Bend State Park, on the Texan side of the border between Texas and Mexico. The Rio Grande divides the two. At the Centre for Big Bend Studies at the Sul Ross State University we learned about the Atlatl (among other things) - a spear-throwing tool used by Native Americans up to 30,000 years ago in the Big Bend area and around the Southwest. The Atlatl would serve as an extension to the arm, allowing the hunter to achieve greater velocity in their throw.

I was enthralled by the idea of these ‘arm extensions’ and immediately began thinking about other devices I could create to extend the length of my arm and my throwing power.

I spent the first two days at Big Bend creating giant spoons - the handles made from Yucca stalks and the bowls made from wire and woven grass.

For the rest of the time I explored these objects, their relation to my body, and their relation to the space I was in. Throwing stones and mud across the river, I explored the notion of ‘border’ - who owns the fluid space of the river? Whirling the spoons in the air, I claimed ownership to the wind.

No comments:

Post a Comment