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Lesson Plans

Re: Navajo sandpaintings

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Christine Merriam (
Wed, 28 Oct 1998 09:01:33 -0700


Just a little context, not sure it answers your question as to "how to
make a sandpainting".

Here on the Navajo Rez, there are two kinds of sandpaintings nowdays.
The permanent or commercial ones are done by painting thinned white glue
on a pre-sanded surface, such as wood. The sand used is already colored.

Traditional sandpaintings use ground semi-precious stones like
turquoise, and sand found naturally; charcoal, corn pollen, and other
plants. These are used in healing ceremonies. The ceremony is not
finished until the sandpainting is swept up into a blanket, then taken
out to a remote place where the wind can blow it away. This is part of
the cycle of the ceremony. A real healing sandpainting is never
reproduced as a permanent commercial work. Many people do not want to
mess with that kind of "power".

Many administrators in my school have sandpainted name plaques on their
desk. Also there are some artists who use stencils and make the same
image over and over.....

Christine Merriam
Kayenta Intermediate School