|The following story was written and reported by Karin Eagle, Native Sun News Staff Writer. It appears in Eyapaha Today, a monthly publication of the Native Sun News. All content © Native Sun
Rez Hoofz designer Joy Lynn Parton
Guided by a dream: Rez Hoofz
By Karin Eagle
Native Sun News Staff Writer
Rez Hoofz is an independently owned business, specializing in painted contemporary and custom made Native American design work.
Rez Hoofz was born in 2006 when artist Joy Lynn Parton an Oglala Lakota/Ft. Sill Apache recognized her own artistic ability and received the vision to create a series of painted dolls. The Lakota inspired dolls were an interpretation of a dream that coincided with a traditional Lakota story. The result was the creation of the “No Face Woman” series.
For generations Lakota elders would sit and tell the story of the woman with "no face" to the children. The story would recall a beautiful woman who was unable to get past her own perception of beauty.
The woman could be found day after day, looking at her own reflection in a river that ran alongside the camp. As she grew more beautiful she would taunt and tease those whom she felt were less attractive. One day, as she was sitting by the riverside, a spirit appeared to this beautiful woman and warned her that vanity had no place in the camp circle. He told her, that if she continued with her self-absorption, instead of being a good relative and helping those in the camp circle, the spirits will take her beauty.
The woman paid no attention to what the spirits told her and so had to walk the Earth with no face, and to become a keeper of the children. As promised, the spirits took her face. She was no longer the most beautiful woman in camp and she became humbled.
The woman decided it was time to forget her once beautiful face and dedicate herself in teaching the children the value of having a good heart and being a good relative.
The moral of the story is to let your inner beauty shape the change you want to be for yourself and those in the world. This is the vision behind Rez Hoofs. The mission being, through creative expression we can all have the inner beauty we seek.
Joy Parton began her journey to this lesson while living in Minnesota. “I was a single mother having a hard time. I had just got out of treatment and was sober for about two years at the time,” describes Parton.” It was a hard time because my son, a pre-teen at the time, was acting out, fighting with me and at times hitting me.”
“I was working two jobs just to make ends meet and it seems they never did,” say Parton.” I decided to take my son home to the reservation to stay with my grandparents and uncles so I could get back to my drinking. My thinking was that even though I had sobered up to give my son a better life he didn’t care.”
“I just wanted to give up. After calling home and asking my uncle to meet me half way. I stopped in Albert Lee, Minnesota and got myself a case of beer and a bottle of vodka,” remembers Parton “When I got home it was late. I decided to start my drinking in the morning. I went to bed and fell asleep, awakening to the sound of an owl calling my name and singing.”
“I started to pray that nothing bad was coming. It got louder and louder, and as I looked out a small window by my bed, I saw everything in a butterscotch yellow hue,” said Parton. “The sky, the grass, the trees, everything, was that color.”
“I looked up and saw the huge white owl sitting in a tree. I started to cry and asked her (the owl) to take me. She flew up and landed on the ground, and then she turned into a woman dressed in white buckskin. Everything on her was white, from the beadwork to her hair and skin and the fan she carried.”
“I told her that I felt that I was in a prison and that no matter what I did I couldn't make my life better. She told me that I had to stay and do what I was meant to do here on Earth. At that point, people started to join her. They were people I knew from home; aunties, uncles, grandparents who had passed away.”
“They all told me to be strong and that everything was going to be okay. I cried myself to sleep after they had all gone. The next morning I woke up and went to a friend’s wood shop and asked him to cut out the shape of a female doll. He cut one for me and I went home and created the first doll, all in white.”
When Parton showed the doll to her friend, he immediately offered to cut more shapes for her. That day, she went home and started to paint her “ladies” until her whole living room was filled with them. A few months previous she had repainted her walls. Butterscotch yellow was the backdrop for her new creations.
Parton started to take her dolls to powwows and other events and quickly sold every single one. She had made more money following her dream than she had working at two jobs that year.
Now, Parton has expanded on her creations to include women’s and men’s apparel, including dresses, shawl, jackets, and all manner of footwear. Her bags are highly sought after pieces and easily recognizable as authentic Rez Hoofz creations. Another new addition to the Rez Hoofz line is the jewelry line that echoes to artistic yet very organic feel of the clothing line.
From her home in Hermosa, South Dakota, a few dozen miles from the reservation border, Parton and her Wicasa, her man, Gabe Gibbons, collaborate on creating new and inspired pieces that carry not only a beautiful combination of color and design but also the legacy of the lessons handed down through the generations of Lakota people.
“To this day, I continue to create because I believe that she brought me a gift to help me create a better life and to share with all of the wonderful people in my life,” said Parton “These ladies, the dolls, are so special to me.”
Rewinding to that day in Minnesota; that case of beer and bottle of vodka were never, ever opened.
For more information about Rez Hoofz or to see their available pieces, you can visit their shop at www.etsy.com/shop/rezhoofz
(Contact Karin Eagle at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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