Featured Artist: Clayton Rippey

Clayton Rippey at work in his studio.

Clayton Rippey at work in his studio.

Aside from our regularly exhibited artifact collection, Frontier Homestead State Park Museum has a rotating special exhibit gallery that is used by artists and artisans of many disciplines to showcase, highlight, and sell their work. Through June 27 we are pleased to feature the work of watercolor artist Clayton Rippey. Exhibited works feature an extensive collection of watercolors highlighting desert scenes, water images and long-standing buildings.

A Rippey nautical scene.

A Rippey nautical scene.

Rippey was born in Oregon, but settled in California following WWII.  After graduating from Stanford University, he was offered a teaching position at Bakersfield High School.  Rippey eventually taught art at Bakersfield College where he retired in 1980.  Collections of Rippey’s art are located not only in the U.S., but around the globe – in Mexico, various European countries, and Japan.

Topping 90 years of age, Rippey continues to broaden his art into more areas and more themes, exploring new colors, textures and shapes in his work. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Rippey has participated in abundant group and solo shows, beginning in 1949 and continuing to the present.  “If, through my observance of, and wonder at, the dynamics of life, some small part of it filters down through my brush and on to the canvass, I am happy,” Rippey commented.

“Our Museum is honored to be graced with the work of such an accomplished artist,” says Todd Prince, Park Manager.  “Clayton has an incredible body of work and we are delighted to be able to share it with our visitors.”

A Clayton Rippey forest.

A Clayton Rippey forest.

Through Labor Day, Frontier Homestead is now open seven days a week, from 9am to 6pm. Don’t let the opportunity to see this amazing artistic collection pass you by. Remember, the exhibit closes June 27.

Next Time: Bottles

A Clayton Rippey landscape.

A Clayton Rippey landscape.

The Atlatl

The dart is on the way to its target.

The dart is on the way to its target.

Continuing our theme of how the local Native Americans hunted, we thought a discussion of the atlatl is necessary. The atlatl is a wooden handle about 24 inches long.  At the tip end is a hook, point, or pin.  It is used to cast or throw darts with great accuracy and tremendous force.   The darts are about 5 or 6 feet long and are flexible and look like oversized arrows.  The back end of the dart is hollowed out a bit so that it will fit over the pin on the atlatl.   This helps hold it in place but the dart is also held onto the atlatl with the thumb and first finger of the hand that is holding it in preparation for the cast.  The atlatl has been used for at least 20,000 years and predates the bow and arrow.  Compared to the atlatl, the bow and arrow is a very new development.  The atlatl was used all over the world.

The atlatl was used for more than 20,000 years because it provided greater penetrating power than a hand held spear. It had a velocity 15 times greater, could reach four times the distance and hit with an impact 200 times greater than a spear thrown by hand. Additionally, it proved multi-functional and could be used to make fire, grind pigments, as a musical instrument and often as a memory aid.

Upclose illustration of a hand holding an atlatl. Illustration by Neal Anderson

Upclose illustration of a hand holding an atlatl.
Illustration by Neal Anderson

By the early A.D.’s, the bow and arrow had almost completely replaced the atlatl. The bow and arrow allowed for greater velocity, ease and swiftness of movement, a shorter launch time, ease of mastery, and proved more accurate. Next time you stop by Frontier Homestead, ask to take a crack at the atlatl on our range and see if you have what it takes to not go hungry.

Next Time: Artist Clayton Rippey

 

Young hunters practicing their technique.

Young hunters practicing their technique.

Paiute Deadfall Trap

The Deadfall - Illustrated

The Deadfall – Illustrated

With Archaeology and Historic Preservation month in full swing, we thought it might be interesting to explore one of the ways the early residents of Iron County caught food: the Paiute deadfall trap. This type of trap is named after the native Paiute peoples – nomadic hunters and gatherers who depended on wild plants and animals.  But these simple types of traps have been used for thousands of years by people across the world.

Animal trapping, or simply trapping, is the use of a device to remotely catch an animal. Animals may be trapped for a variety of purposes, including food and pest control. Trapping also facilitates the capture of animals for their furs which may be sold or bartered for other useful items, or which may be used for making clothing and other articles.

A deadfall is a heavy rock or log that is tilted on an angle and held up with sections of branches (sticks), with one of them that serves as a trigger. When the animal moves the trigger that has bait on or near it, the rock or log falls, crushing the animal. The Paiute deadfall is a popular and simple trap constructed from materials found in nature (three sticks with notches cut into them, cordage, plus a heavy rock or other heavy object). Next time you visit Frontier Homestead, test your skills and see how long it takes for you to set this trap.

Next Time: Atl-atl

Our New Native Heritage Exhibit

Map of the planned Native Heritage Exhibit.

Map of the planned Native Heritage Exhibit.

Iron County and Cedar City have a long cultural history, including that of Native peoples dating back thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers.  Before pioneers arrived in Southwest Utah, there were a number of different American Indian groups who lived here: 1) Paleo-Indians, 2) Archaic people, 3) the Ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi), 4) the Fremont, and 5) the Numic (Paiute).  The Paleo-Indians were the oldest, going back 12,000 years, followed by Archaic hunter and gatherers, the Ancestral Pueblo, and the Fremont culture. The most recent are the Numic who arrived between 500-700 years ago and are still living here.  At Frontier Homestead, these traditions are represented by the Paiute camp and surrounding area that is dedicated to telling the story of these early peoples.
The pithouse under construction.

The pithouse under construction.

  The Native Heritage Exhibit, a new area of Frontier Homestead State Park & Museum, will allow each visitor the chance to experience how Native peoples lived in Iron County prior to Euroamerican settlement.  Additionally, students will be able to become archaeologists for the day, learning techniques and methods of the archaeological process.Explore the Fremont pit house and the Paiute wickiups, see a traditional shade shelter and Native garden, all set among native vegetation and replica prehistoric village mounds.

This project is a joint effort of the Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation, The Archaeological Conservancy, Southern Utah University, Project Archaeology, and Cedar City RAP Tax.

Next Time: Paiute Deadfall Trap

Corn grinding will be one of the activities available.

Corn grinding will be one of the activities available.