In 1979, I had the wonderful pleasure of traveling to South and Central America for a summer with Florence Gilman Meyer (1918-2006).
Attached is a new chapter of my book that I am writing about individuals who have touched my life. As I was reviewing all of the photos and information about my dear friend, I came across our adventure in the Galapagos Islands. We thought we were taking a moderately priced cruise ship, but ended up in a scam where many of us from all over the world were on a fishing boat in the middle of the ocean with wooden bunk beds below. At first, we were furious. But as the two weeks progressed I could not have had a more remarkable experience. We were able to go in and around the islands and land wherever we could to view the magnificent animals. Florence even got to swim with the seals off one of the islands until a large bull charged the group.
I have included four photos which show the lovely shoreline, Florence swimming in the ocean, and our fabulous accommodations on the fishing boat. This was by far one of the most memorable trips I have ever taken. I do miss Florence and the many adventures we had together, but she is always with me as I look over our memorabilia and write her chapter. Click on Florence Meyer Chapter below to read about her contributions to life.
This is Marijke Fan’t Suderein (AKA Micky) with David Bruce in a 2014 huntseat winner’s circle photo. Marijke is a 19 year old Friesian mare who is over 17 hands. She has placed many times in National and Regional Western Pleasure and Huntseat events throughout her show career.
Kelly Bell, who is a nationally recognized trainer and rider in huntseat, took Marijke into the English Pleasure Open Hunseat Class at the 2015 Denver Western Stock Show in January. They placed 1st out of 20 horses. David Bruce took her into the English Pleasure Adult Amateur Huntseat Class, and they placed 2nd out of 14 horses, winning a trophy jacket for their efforts. Marijke was the only Friesian at the show because it is mostly other horse breeds performing western events. This will probably be Marijke’s last show because of her age, but we were thrilled with her performance and beauty. She is a very gentle giant who has brought us lots of joy. She moves with grace and beauty and a long forward trot.
WF Reflejo is a 6 year old Peruvian Horse gelding. He is a 2014 Reserve Champion in Luxury Gelding, Northeast Peruvian Horse Show and is currently being trained by Kelly Bell for Performance. He has shown in gait, as well. His sire is WF Su Majestad, and his dam is WF Rebelde. He came to us from Westview Breeding, Gene Pepe, in New York.
In late 1983 and early 1984, I organized a special project with the People’s Republic of China, traveling with Chinese government officials and a professional photographer, Nancy Kuhl, to bring out a collection of baskets produced by master basket makers. The trip culminated in a special exhibition at the University of Colorado in Boulder the following year and a wonderful article I wrote in Arts of Asia (May-June, 1984, “Modern Baskets of China”), published in Hong Kong. This article details the basketmaking techniques and political philosophy of China during this time. The creation of art was not separate from the political philosophy.
This is one of the most difficult projects I have ever undertaken because we went into areas that were not open to foreign travel as of yet, being monitored daily by the government. I carried the collection with me as I travelled by train, car, and plane. There was very little heat where we traveled, and it was cold! It was difficult to experience the hardships of the local rural people who gave us the best they had to offer in the way of food and comfort.
I have a masters degree in fiber design, and basketry was my specialty. This is what fueled the interest in this topic. So, one of the publications written by me and donated to the museum described and diagramed the various woven techniques used in bamboo and grass basketmaking.
After extensive travel within China’s basket regions, we exited through southern China by train. I had no idea how I was going to get everything across the border because I had been warned that my collection would be taken at customs when leaving the train. Meanwhile, we met a group of Getty Oil employee wives in Southern China who helped me. They said I needed a lawyer to get through customs and made way for me to make a private telephone call to Hong Kong while entertaining my escorts. I called a gentleman I met in Hong Kong on my way into China. He happened to be the Barrister for England at the time. I had no idea what that meant until he met me at the border and brought this wonderful collection through customs with his inspection. I have great appreciation for his help to preserve this collection for future generations. It is a slice of history with beautiful photographs that documented the people and their lives, as well as the mass production of art at that time in history.
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Department of Anthropology has agreed to accept this collection with all documentary materials, which include portrait photographs and slides. The collection includes 40 baskets and will be known as The Sharon La Pierre/Nancy Kuhl Collection and at some point be open to the public and to other museums for further exhibitions. All legal property rights were conveyed to the Museum on June 23, 2014. I have attached one photograph of all the baskets together as I left the collection on the sorting table with the museum. The museum gave me the permission to use the other photos for this blog announcement. Many of the baskets are of animals, such as a buffalo, chickens, a rooster, and frog to name a few. Each is beautifully crafted by a master basket maker.
I had originally intended to leave these items in my will to the museum, but Nancy Kuhl died more than 20 years ago and left her slides and materials to her son, Michael Kuhl. One day he called me out of the blue. He had been searching for me and had boxes of slides and beautifully framed portraits of Chinese people from this project. That set the stage to donate everything now so I could help with classification of materials and give verbal embellishments. Nancy had been one of my students when I taught at Community College of Denver, Red Rocks Campus. She was a professional photographer who was taking design classes to enhance her business. Her husband, Norm Kuhl, ran divisions of Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado.
So, it is my pleasure to share these wonderful baskets and documentary materials with future generations by celebrating the museum’s acceptance of this collection. Here’s to you, Nancy! …..Sharon La Pierre
I have been in the process of writing a book about people who have touched my life significantly because of how they have lived their lives. This is one of the chapters about the founder of Wild Fawn Rescue in Kenwood, California, Marjorie McKenzie Davis. She is now 96 years old. Enjoy!
Animal rescue can be painful because one takes an animal for a limited amount of time, knowing that it may not live a long life due to injuries caused by abuse. But the rewards of loving such animals is great because they bring joy and purpose to one’s life. This little horse did exactly that……She gave us her whole heart and in return we gave her safety and care for as long as possible. She made a huge impact on my life!! Click on the below file, My Caramela, for her story.
This is Reedann’s All Aglow in 2013 with David. She was the “Three Gaited Country Pleasure Champion” at the Lawrenceburg, Kentucky show. There were 14 horses in the class. Laurel Nelson was the rider. It was a wonderful thing!