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'Rock Art' from the National Indian Head Start Sacramento Conference 2015

Posted by Jerry Bergosh on

NIHSDA Jurassic Sand Rock Art Boards

Greetings to all NIHSDA members!

I'm so excited for you to see these wonderful Rock Art carvings done on our Jurassic Sand Scratch Boards at the 2015 NIHSDA meeting in Sacramento.  

I want to thank everyone that took me up on my offer to 'sign' our unique visitor book. It was a 5" x 7" piece of Navajo Sandstone mounted to white cardboard that you had to carve into to make modern-day Petroglyphs.

We make them from the sand that has weathered out of the 200 million year old Navajo Sandstone Formation (the geological name of the rock formation we use). They are the orangy-red cliffs you see in Utah and Arizona.  

On a personal note, I have to tell you the origin of the idea for these Rock Art Sand Scratch Boards before I go further.  In 1995, when my boys Jeff and Scott were little, they knew I would always bring something home from my travels around the Southwest as a geologist.  One trip I brought home two slabs of orangy-red sandstone for them to carve petroglyphs into.  

This was the beginning of a lot of work for me.  They loved it so much that every time I went to the desert exploring I had to bring them back slabs of sandstone for them to carve petroglyphs or paint pictographs on.  After about 4 trips carrying 25 lb slabs of sandstone across the desert for Jeff, Scott, and their friends to carve, I decided "the heck with this, I'll make you guys sandstone". Famous last words...

'Only' a year later I had perfected the recipe of mixing our Original Jurassic Play Sand with varying amounts of adobe clay to make sandstone and found a way to mount it for permanent presentation.  

The Utah State Board of Education and Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management liked them so much they sponsored us to make 20,000 for every 4th Grade student in the State of Utah! And I thought carrying heavy slabs of rock across the desert for Jeff and Scott was work?

Fast forward to the NIHSDA conference this year in Sacramento.  I bring all our sensory Jurassic Sands to my exhibit table. The Original Jurassic Play Sand, the Real Quick Sand, Knot Sand and our three new sands - Mojave Beige, River Bed, and the amazing Sparkly White Star Dust. Everyone loves the variety of textures and colors - all natural materials from the Earth.

I asked you to sign my visitor log, the above mentioned Jurassic Sand Scratch Boards, and everyone responded.

By the last day of the conference we had Rock Art Boards overflowing onto to the floor! By my count we had 40 tribes and Alaska Native programs carve a Sand Scratch Board. What was interesting, after the first day I started asking the representatives of the different tribes if they had a symbol that represented their people.

Ute Mountain Tribe NIHSDA Jurassic Sand Rock Art BoardsThe Ute Mountain Tribe used the silhouette of Ute Mountain as shown to the left.  

P.G. S'Klallam Mt. Crow NIHSDA Jurassic Sand Rock Art BoardsNisqually Tribe used a fish, the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribes a longboat and for the Mt. Crow, geometric designs were common with their people.

Five Sandoval NIHSDA Jurassic Sand Rock Art BoardsMany were elaborate and obviously a function of the artists' skill; the Five Sandoval design (done by the Mom) shown great attention to detail, but they get a special shout-out because of the Mother-Daughter Tenorio duo.  Check out Daughter Jennifer's beautiful carving of the Hummingbird feeding on the flowers!  

Humming Bird NIHSDA Jurassic Sand Rock Art Boards

View the rest of the art work on our Facebook page and be sure to share your designs with us!

The reason I originally started making Rock Art Boards was to teach all children not only about what is preserved in the Rock Art of the Past, but to teach them how important it is to preserve these treasures and experience the beauty and excitement of creating their own art.  In this fast-paced world of technology, playing in the sand or carving your own Rock Art are truly treasures from your past that need to be passed down by the generations.

In closing, our experiences at NIHSDA conference were amazing. I can't say enough about how impressed I was at the effort put forth by both the presenters and the attendees in the workshops I participated in. It was obvious they were dedicated to learning and promoting creativity in their classrooms. I now have more respect and regard than ever for the Head Start teachers and Directors I saw in action at this conference.

Everyone should have the opportunity to see firsthand, as I did, the lengths you professionals go to facilitate the healthy development of children. I hope that we at Jurassic Sands can assist you in your efforts - whether it be through the benefits of sand play to develop fine motor skills, language, and sensory experiences - or something as simple as carving into sandstone, we want to be a resource you can turn to for unique materials from Mother Earth.

Best regards - Jerry Bergosh 

The Jurassic Sandman

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