Traditional Pomo Cultural Arts With a Twist


Exhibit and demonstrations by Meyo Marrufo, Denise & Luwana Quitiquit of the Robinson Rancheria in Lake County

Traditional Pomo Baby Carriers made from peeled and unpeeled willow, handmade dogbane twine and cordage by Luwana Quitiquit.
Traditional Pomo Baby Carriers (Sika) Peeled & unpeeled willow,

This group of extraordinary artists exemplifies the resurgence in restoring the traditional survival, cultural and regalia arts of the ancient Pomo groups of the Clear Lake region.

Using only materials traditional to their area’s culture – tules, willows, cattails, and dogbane (used for cordage & twine) – an assemblage of utilitarian implements: baskets, traps, baby carriers and children’s toys, are constructed with age-old techniques.

Tule Bittern Bird Toys by Luwana Quitiquit.
Tule Bittern Bird Toys by Luwana Quitiquit

Luwana Quitiquit, whose niece, Meyo Marrufo, says, “can make anything”, has perfected the technique for making a traditional child’s toy from tule, of the omnipresent bittern birds of Clear Lake’s tule marshes.

She is renowned for her baby carriers (sika in the Pomo language) and may be the only weaver working today to make a truly traditional sika; using only indigenous materials including handmade dogbane cordage & twine, in place of the usual commercial cotton cord or fish line, to secure the rods of peeled and unpeeled willow.

Tule boat by Luwana Quitiquit and Meyo Marrufo.
Pomo Dolls, Redwood with tule skirt, clamshell eyes dogbane hair, Tule dolls shred. Tule boat. by Luwana Quitiquit & Meyo Marrufo.

Meyo Marrufo is well known for making beautiful jewelry and traditional dance regalia using acutely shaped abalone shell, clam shell, pine nuts, glass beads, feathers and cordage. She is also a founding member of an active traditional Pomo dance group.

A featured specialty; she has developed an innovative collection of “Regaled Teddy Bears”, dressed with traditionally designed and fashioned regalia and jewelry; one even has a miniature baby carrier with baby bear at its side.

The Gallery is located in the Historic District of Folsom, open Wednesday through Sunday 10:00 to 5:00

The Traditional Pomo Cultural Arts are available March 1 to April 6. See the demonstrations March 8 & 9, between 10:00 to 5:00. The Second Saturday Reception is on March 8 between 5:00 to 9:00.

Seaweed gathering/drying tray by Luwana Quitiquit. Unfinished quail trap by Meyo Marrufo. Both made of unpeeled willow.
Seaweed gathering/drying tray by Luwana Quitiquit. Unfinished quail trap by Meyo Marrufo. Both made of unpeeled willow.

Courtney Puffer is a writer and art dealer, who runs Pacific Western Traders with his father, Herb, in Folsom, California. Courtney is extremely knowledgeable about native American art and customs. Sadly, Courtney passed away on 17th September, 2008, while on a business trip, but his writing lives on at NewsBlaze.