Master weaver Wence Martinez.

Master weaver Wence Martinez

I’m excited to report that the most recent issue of “Indian Country Today,” a nationally circulated news magazine based in New York City, carries two features that are near and dear to my heart… and thanks to online publication through the Indian Country Today Media Network, I’m able to share both of them with you here.

The first is an outstanding review of the Cheyenne River Youth Project, the 23-year-old, grassroots, not-for-profit youth organization in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, with which I have worked for the last five years. Reporter Stephanie Woodard spent three days with CRYP staff and volunteers on the remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River reservation in October; my husband and I were delighted to meet with her, as her trip coincided with ours, and she’s done a beautiful job of capturing who we are and what we do.

I was wearing my PR hat for that October visit to South Dakota, so naturally I’m thrilled to see our organization and its dedicated staff and volunteers recognized in a respected national publication. But the thrills continue, as this particular issue  contains my first-ever editorial piece for ICT, a feature story about gifted master weaver and contemporary artist Wence Martinez.

Wence, a Zapotec Indian from Oaxaca, Mexico, learned to weave from his father at the tender age of 9, attended the prestigious Taller Nacional de Tapiz (National Tapestry School) in Mexico City as a teenager

Collaborative work: Sandra Martinez's "Semillas" design on Wence Martinez's loom.

and supervised a team of 40 weavers for an American company in his home village of Teotitlan del Valle. Then, in 1988, he met a young Milwaukee artist named Sandra Hackbarth, the woman who would become his wife. She also would become his artistic partner, collaborating with him on a variety of creative projects over the next two decades. Today, the couple lives and works in Door County, Wisconsin, a popular tourist destination that boasts a vibrant arts community; and together, they’ve garnered national acclaim.

I won’t tell you their whole story here, as you can read it in the article. But I will say that it was my privilege to get to know Sandra and Wence when my husband and I also called Door County home, and we’re honored to call them friends. Not only are they talented, soulful artists who produce one-of-a-kind contemporary work, they’re incredibly nice people who deserve all good things.