Submitted by: Shayai Lucero
Materials: Medical face mask covered with dried juniper leaves and accented with genuine turquoise stones, lily grass ties accented with abalone shells
In my Pueblos, juniper (Keres: k’aani) is an important medicinal plant and one of my favorites. I have been studying medicinal plants since I was 13 years old. I wanted to create a piece that integrates my skills as a floral designer and medicinal plant healer.
The medicinal properties of juniper are identified as an antimicrobial and antiviral medicine for respiratory illnesses. The scent of the juniper leaves can be smelled through the mask like the cleansing smell of a smudge. Juniper is very special to the Pueblo people in that the tree is an evergreen and never goes to sleep in the winter. They are a plant medicine available year round.
The mask is accented with turquoise stones worn often by the Pueblo people and represent health. Abalone shells are from the ocean and symbolize rain. Pueblo people always pray for rain and moisture in every aspect of our lives and ceremonies. Rain is important because it contributes to the growth of plants which help provide oxygen for breath needed by all living creatures.
This mask was created for the Breathe community Facebook group – A collection of traditionally crafted masks demonstrating resiliency through 21st century pandemic.