SANTA FE, N.M. – When Osage artist and fashion designer Wendy Ponca describes her latest collection as “universal,” she means it.
“I’m hand screen-printing my silks with original symbols that are universally recognized by both human beings and inter-dimensional beings traveling more freely due to CERN,” she says.
CERN stands for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, the French name for the European Organization for Nuclear Research. CERN is the organization responsible for groundbreaking physics research using incredibly complex scientific instruments like the famous Large Hadron Collider at their lab near Geneva, Switzerland. According to the CERN website, “physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe.”
Ponca’s collection takes into account futuristic, modern and ancient interactions with the universe and its mysteries.
“My material is tactical, as is SWAT gear,” says Ponca. “These symbols protect you much like religious symbols protect the faithful. But these symbols are universal and derived from ancient symbolism.”
But don’t imagine that means the designs feel like wearing bulky military gear or a spacesuit.
“The extremely comfortable clothes are ready to wear, wool, linen, silk, cotton, and velvet, with silk linings,” she says. “Accessories include earrings, belts, necklaces, bracelets, and bags. The current color scheme is red, black, white, and silver.”
Ponca’s collection will be presented in two runway shows at the 14th annual Native Treasures Art Market in Santa Fe, May 25 to 27. The festival will be held at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center located at 201 Marcy Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501. Native Treasures is produced by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.