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Spirit Lines: Helen Hardin Etchings

Helen Hardin (Santa Clara, 1943–1984) emerged in the 1970s and 1980s as a trailblazer for Native American women artists wishing to break from tradition. Although influenced by time-honored pueblo imagery as well as the work of her mother, renowned Santa Clara artist Pablita Velarde (1918–2006), Hardin strove to create a style all her own.

In high school, a drafting class introduced Hardin to architectural tools and processes that she then incorporated into her work. Repeating complex geometric forms based on the imagery she found in petroglyphs and ancient potsherds, she became recognized for her use of increasingly bold, vibrant colors and her affinity for iridescent paint.

In 1980, Hardin began using the copper-plate etching process, a printing technique that allowed her precise lines and detailed compositions to reach a broader audience. Spirit Lines consists of the entire first edition set of Hardin’s 23 copper-plate etchings, which at the Crocker will be accompanied by original paintings by Hardin, Pablita Velarde, and Margarete Bagshaw (1964–2015).
Relevant research areas: North America, 20th Century, Etching

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