ELLEN MACOMBER – Artist/Designer – New Orleans, Louisiana
Ellen Macomber started selling clothing she designed at festivals around the country and traveled to places such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Central America and Indonesia, where she collected textiles for future designs. Her map collection sparked her cartography artwork. On the Festival’s first weekend, Ellen is celebrating New Orleans’ Tricentennial with a live mural demonstration featuring her signature cartography and textile designs.
SUSAN KINKELLA – Kissing Cane Maker – Kenner, Louisiana
Unique to New Orleans, the “Kissing Cane” tradition comes from the blending of Irish American and Mardi Gras parade traditions. It was the Jefferson City Buzzards, the first organized walking group in New Orleans, who started offering paper flowers to pretty ladies in exchange for kisses during their Mardi Gras parade in 1890. Each year, Susan’s colorful arrangements are one of the highlights of Irish Channel and and the Italian American St Joseph parades in New Orleans.
CYNTHIA RAMIREZ –Sugar Skull Painting– New Orleans, Louisiana
In Mexico, sugar skulls represent a departed soul, whose name is written on the forehead. They are placed on the home ofrenda (altar) or gravestone to honor the return of a particular spirit during the Day of the Dead celebration. Decorated with colorful icing, sparkly tin and glittery adornments, they reflect the traditional folk art style of Southern Mexico. Multimedia artist and Southern University Professor Cynthia Ramirez will hand paint sugar skulls in front of the Day of the Dead altar she built for the Festival.
RODNEY ASEVEDO – Isleños Wood Relief Carving – St. Bernard, Louisiana
Rodney Asevedo was born in St. Bernard Parish, where many Canary Islanders settled when they immigrated to Louisiana to defend Spain’s Gulf trade routes. His mother was a member of the Houma Indian tribe. His artistic talents include wood relief work, duck decoy and furniture carving, and oil and water-based painting. Rodney uses art, and in particular wood relief carving to keep his culture and heritage alive.
JONATHAN BERTUCCELLI – Float Maker – New Orleans, Louisiana
Jonathan Bertuccelli is a third-generation float-maker from Viareggio, Italy, a city known for its vibrant carnival tradition since 1873. His father Raul Bertuccelli moved to New Orleans in 1977 to work for Blaine Kern, and became recognized throughout the world for his outstanding Italian craftsmanship. The Bertuccelli family founded Studio 3, Inc. in 1983 and Jonathan has continued in his father’s footsteps ever since. He built the Butterfly King float for the Krewe of Rex, the New Orleans Pelican’s King Cake Baby mascot, and this year’s animated Dancing Friar for the Krewe of Tucks 100th anniversary parade.
CHARLES GILLAM SR. – Wood Carver – New Orleans, Louisiana
Charles Gillam is a self-taught artist who finds inspiration in the music of New Orleans. His work, most notably his totems, can now be seen at all the House of Blues across the country and in the Algiers Folk Art Zone, a museum and art environment at his home on Algiers Point, New Orleans. Charles has been a fixture of the Festival’s Folklife Village for many years. This year he joins the celebration of New Orleans’ Tricentennial at the Festival by carving a 20’ long wood relief scene of the City outside the Cultural Exchange Pavilion.
JOBY VERRET and AUGUST CREPPEL – United Houma Nation – Dugout Canoe Making
Dugout canoes have been found as far north as Canada and as far South as Chile. Dugouts are made of a single log, hallowed out and worked into a boat shape. Native American dugouts were so well-adapted that many Europeans explorers and settlers adopted them to travel on inland waterways. Houma Nation members Joby Verret and August “Cocoa” Creppel will demonstrate the carving of a dugout canoe outside the Cultural Exchange Pavilion over both Festival weekends.
MARY MONTGOMERY – Isleño Teneriffe Lace – St Bernard, Louisiana
Between 1778 and 1779, the King of Spain subsidized folks from the Canary Islands with food, tools and money to relocate to St. Bernard Louisiana. These immigrants introduced garlic, Jambalaya, and Teneriffe Lace to the area. The needle lace is named after the Island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain. Mary has been demonstrating her lace work at the annual Isleños Festival for the past fifteen years.
GOLDEN COMANCHE CHIEF JUAN PARDO – Mardi Gras Indian beadwork – New Orleans, Louisiana
Chief Juan Pardo dedicated his 2018 Mardi Gras Indian suit to the history of New Orleans in honor of the City’s tricentennial. Juan Pardo sewed multicolored beaded patches for his brother for several years before making his own suit in 2003. He joined the Golden Comanche Mardi Gras Indian tribe and worked his way up the ranks to Big Chief. Chief Juan Pardo is also an accomplished performer who appears at Jazz Fest regularly. He produced the Voices of the Nation recording with other Mardi Gras Indians.