Mixed Media

Lillian Pitt’s mixed media art reflects Native American culture of the Columbia River Gorge, and helps to give voice to her ancestors.

No other medium is more fun for me to work with than mixed media. The creative possibilities are endless.

I mix new objects with old objects, contemporary and traditional, steel with porcelain, beads and feathers … you name it, anything goes.

As with all the types of art I create, my mixed media art reflects Native American culture of the Columbia River Gorge. But when I mix media, I’m sometimes able to elaborate a little more on the story. I can jazz it up a bit, add a different twist or angle.

—Lillian Pitt

Crow, Trying to Fix Up His Old House

Lillian has created hundreds of unique mixed media pieces over the years, but she still remembers the stories of how most of them came about. Here, for example, is her story about the piece titled “Crow, Trying to Fix Up His Old House.”

I collect old things and objects from nature that look interesting to me, and then I wonder how they can be used. I collect shells rocks, metal containers, wood … whatever. I’ve become a real pack rat.

And all this stuff just sits around my studio while I keep looking at it and picking it up, and wondering what I’m going to do with it … until finally, an idea comes.

So an artist friend of mine, Rick Bartow, knew I collected old things and gave me an old piece of wood he thought I might like. Eventually, I ended up putting Crow on it. But it took a while to figure out what to do.

The board was cracked, so I fixed it up with copper wire. And this made me think of my old home in “Hollywood.” That’s what we called the place on the Warm Springs Reservation where we lived when I was a young girl. It was a joke of course because all the homes there were old and dilapidated, and we were always trying to patch them up with whatever types of odds-and-ends might be laying around over there.

But now I had the idea. The crow I ended up with on that old cracked board, was just like the beautiful people I knew growing up on the Warm Springs Reservation, who were always trying to fix up their old houses.

—Lillian Pitt


A Near Life-Size “Stick Indian”

This interpretation of a Stick Indian was on display at the Oregon Historical Society when Lillian had her exhibit there titled “Building on the Frames of My Ancestors.”

According to Warm Springs legend, when an Indian travels high up in the mountains in a lonely place and hears the sound of a certain bird, especially in the evening, he knows it is probably not a bird at all, but a “Stick” Indian.

If you’re a bad person and you follow the whistle of a Stick Indian, it will lead you deeper and deeper into the woods so you can’t get out. If you’re a good person, the whistle will guide you out of the woods so you can get home.

Learn More about the art of Lillian Pitt

Lillian Pitt creates works of art in a range of media. Click here to see more about Lillian Pitt…