Saturday, 19 December 2009

My Muse

Our project for Indigo involves us finding a muse to be inspired by, and capturing the essence of them through a collection of fashion fabrics. I have chosen to look at Buffy Sainte-Marie as my muse, a 1960's folk singer, who is very proud of her Native American roots. I am fascinated by Native American culture, and was also very inspired by Buffy's life and what she has achieved, as well as her beautiful looks. I love the 60's images of her which all look very nostalgic and romantic. Here is a little about Buffy's life, which I found through her biography on the Internet:

Buffy was born February 20, 1942 on the Piapot Cree Indian reserve in the Qu'Appelle valley, Saskatchewan, Canada. She was orphaned and later adopted, growing up in Maine with parents Albert and Winifred Sainte-Marie, who were related to her biological parents. She attended the UNiversity of Massachusetts, earning degrees in teaching and Oriental philosophy, as well as a Ph.D. in Fine Arts. In 1964 on a return trip to the Piapot Cree reserve in Canada for a Powwow she was welcomed and (in a Cree nation context) adopted by the youngest son of Chief Piapot, Imu Piapot and his wife, who added to Sainte-Marie's cultural value of, and place in, First Nations culture.

Here is some more information from her website:
Buffy Sainte-Marie was a graduating college senior in 1962 and hit the ground running in the early 60s, after the beatniks and before the hippies. All alone she toured North America's colleges, reservations and concert halls, meeting both huge acclaim and huge misperception from audiences and record companies who expected Pocahontas in fringes, and instead were both entertained and educated with their initial dose of Native American reality in the first person.

By age 24, Buffy had appeared all over Europe, Canada, Australia and Asia, receiving honors, medals and awards, which continue to this day. Her song 'Until It's Time for You to Go' was recorded by Elvis and Cher, and her 'Universal Soldier' became the anthem of the peace movement.

She disappeared suddenly from the mainstream American airwaves during the Lyndon Johnson years. Unknown to her, as part of a blacklist which affected Eartha Kitt, Taj Mahal and a host of other outspoken performers, her name was included on White House stationary as among those whose music 'deserved to be suppressed', and radio airplay disappeared. Invited onto TV talk shows on the basis of her success with 'Until It's Time for You to Go', she was told that Native issues and the peace movement had become unfashionable and to limit comments to celebrity chat.

In Indian country and abroad, however, her fame only grew. Denied adult TVCaudience in the US, in 1975 she joined the cast of Sesame Street for 5 years. She continued to appear at countless grassroots concerts, American Indian Movement events, and other activist benefits in Canada and the US. She made 18 albums of her music, scored movies, gained international acclaim, raised a son, earned a Ph.D., and won an Academy Award Oscar and a Golden Globe for the song 'Up Where We Belong'.

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