Patricia Michaels has been been featured on taoStyle several times.
Coming and going from Taos to Santa Fe, all her life, with ties here and there, Pat is somewhat of a gypsy. She was a rock and roll gypsy when I first met her early on in her career, when she was making clothes for musicians. That spirit stuck with her even as she’s traversed Fashion’s frontier, staying true to herself; her roots.
Patricia will be at NM Artisan Market at Hotel Albuquerque this weekend showcasing a new collection, rising triumphantly from the proverbial ashes, after a flood recently destroyed her studio/workshop and years of archived drawings, designs and materials.
Her resilience and fortitude, not to mention her attitude of gratitude in the wake of disaster, serves as a reminder to us, this Thanksgiving Day, that being thankful, even for the small things, is often enough.
1) Lots of people know you from Project Runway, but what don’t they know, that you think they should?
People should know that I have been creating modern contemporary designs since 1985 at SF Indian Market but for the most part, it was considered Non-Native.
I took Best of Show at SWAIA in textiles for a mixed media but was brought to a finished look with digital printing. Recently this is the direction that I have produced but strictly with digital printing after the 1000 Year flood that visited my studio. I am going to debut this collection on Thanksgiving weekend at the show and then on my new website pmwaterlily.
I may have lost years and years of illustration, drawing, patterns, and fabric that was new work for 2018 Indian Market but I am Thankful that I have such a healthy working environment and continual support of people who are there to work with me or cheer me on. For the most part, it has been long lonely hours to recreate patterns, fabric, drawings, and supplies but somehow it’s happening I just keep at it and it’s coming back together. James Duran, my companion, and I moved to Santa Fe a little over a year ago to help with my elderly parents.
I kept thinking of my Papa Frank Turley with his Parkinson’s disease and my mother and how they depend on us. Papa Frank got deathly sick in January 2018 had to relearn how to eat, talk, walk, function in the restroom independently, sit up, get out of bed, write and he did all of this still with his quirky sense of humor and then walking with a cane. We got through this but we have much to do, it doesn’t feel so hard when we keep our humor and not look at the load but at one another’s individually important concerns and needs.
My mission from the beginning was to make clothing that gave self-worth to the individual and it really does count because this is what gives back to the ones I love and my clients response to wearing my garments is always comforting that we can take the time to see our strengths.
This will make a happier healthier environment when we can bring us to a full circle together.
By creating something with a high sense of self I don’t feel like someone is likely to quickly throw it away and we already live in such a throw away society. If I can make the world’s biggest consumers feel something other than wear and throw away, that there is meaning behind the garment, and it’s not just about trend, then I’m accomplished as an artist, I have made my audience feel something different.
2) Taos Pueblo is a place you always return to even as you come and go, how does your ancestral home continue to inspire you?
The place that has held its own truth can always bring out the truth in me. I look at what has been preserved in nature. Many of my elders have lived a long healthy life that was simple and that is the hardest life to live. I love the detail in work and much detail as I do it doesn’t seem simple but the rhythm of doing the process over and over till it is done is through simple thought and breathing so it becomes meditative this is where I am happiest but it is not always easy to get to be in that peaceable kingdom. I have many demands for places I have to go and to and time taking away from my studio and production; this is what tends to happen with my time at the Pueblo too. I get busy helping family and non-for profit organizations with fundraisers or educational institutions to help answer questions who to create a modern take on Natives in the arts and about who we are now and what we have retained. I’m not unhappy proceeding in this direction but it is a lot of work to finally have a voice. Our Pueblo has always had their voice out in the world of art and culture I’m just part of what is being said today so I continue to try my best to walk carefully and lightly pacing myself and give way to a new opportunity that was never been there in the way have today with social media. I appreciate this tremendously because just as I was raised with the morality of treating one another as equal now we have a voice to bring our stories our voice equally as important as the next person.
3) You are one of the featured artists at Heritage’s Hotel Albuquerque Market over Thanksgiving weekend, could you please tell my readers a little about your participation in this event, and your relationship with Heritage?
Yes, I created the uniforms for the Hotel Chaco which are a first for uniforms that have an overall contemporary pattern. The company who produced my designs for this collection now use my concept for their fashion shows. My advantage was textile design; creating each uniform a little different so that the employees feel a sense of appreciation through the slightest change in uniforms.
Well, uniforms are to be the same so that’s what uniform means ,but what I did was I slightly changed the background that the overall pattern sits on. Each uniform is becoming slightly different and amongst the employees who see detail recognized this and felt as individuals. They felt a self-importance which I try to bring my work for the persons wearing my creations. I will have work available at the show with some of it influenced by Hotel Chaco.
Heritage hotels want to carry my work in their gift shops so I’m currently working on items to put into five of their hotels; El Monte Sagrado, Hotel Chaco, Eldorado, Inn of Loreto and the St. Francis Hotel.
Thank you Patricia!
For much more on Patricia Michaels, and to see more of her extraordinary work, please visit her site linked below this post.
Portrait of Patricia by Jennifer Esperanza
Exterior shots of model wearing PM Designs, taken by Bill Curry
All other images (including Hotel Chaco’s Staff outfitted in her designs, thanks to Patricia Michaels