Four Winds One Breath | ROSANNE ROMIGLIO-ASHLEY
Rosanne Romiglio-Ashley’s ancestral heritage is a melding of Blackfoot, Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), and Mi’kmaq, as well as French Canadian and Italian. A versatile artist and graphic designer, she is the owner of East Freetown, Massachusetts based clothing and art company Four Winds One Breath, as well as the Clean Clear Creative design company. She is also co-owner of Ashley Homestead Photography, all of which are located on a 27-acre farm with two ponds, vegetable gardens, beehives, hay fields, and a family-owned commercial cranberry bog.
Romiglio-Ashley says she was born into her art style. “I create artwork, clothing, jewelry, stone sculptures, and more that bridge seen and unseen worlds—like tools, touchstones, and totems you can use to heal, find peace, and stay connected to Spirit,” she says. “The sculptures started to emerge as I delved into my Indigenous background. From that point, everything I made felt guided, taking me on a journey home to my people.” Her creative process is simple: “I go inward first and find that place of peace within myself so that whatever I design or make next is infused with prayers of love, light, and healing for the person for whom it is being created. We never know our ripple effect in the world, so I strive to be mindful throughout my entire creative process.”
Romiglio-Ashley founded Four Winds One Breath based on Indigenous values. “The name was given to me by my ancestors. Four Winds represents the Four Sacred Directions, as well as the four ways my work expresses, and One Breath represents me: one breath, one person who creates, walking a sacred path connected to the larger circle of humanity,” she says. As an Indigenous artist, Romiglio-Ashley faces many challenges; preeminently among them, she says, is her skin tone. “Because I have a lighter skin tone, being of Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), Mi’kmaq, French Canadian, and Italian descent, some circles are reluctant to see or accept me as an Indigenous artist,” she says. In spite of such experiences, she maintains a positive attitude that is infectious, lighting up the room with her laugh and radiant energy.
Romiglio-Ashley has been participating in Cultural Survival Bazaars for over 14 years, having been involved in the bazaars since she closed her Native art gallery, Four Winds Gallery, in January 2007. She says that “the coming together of the artists at the shows creates lifelong friendships. We come to know each other in a deep way, all while educating the public on Indigenous topics, struggles, and joys. There remains to this day a huge gap in understanding of our people among the broader society.” Romiglio-Ashley says she has many fond memories of Cultural Survival Bazaars, but one that particularly stands out was the Pequot Museum in August 2013. “The music and sharing were incredible and the traditional Hawaiian dancers that performed that year made the event even more transcendent,” she recalls.
Romiglio-Ashley’s passion is to make the unseen world visible to others. “As a designer and artist, I am drawn to follow the thread of creative inspiration that I am given by Spirit until I can manifest it in visual form, co-creating with Spirit,” she says. “As a channel, I bring messages of clarity and light through the love our relatives and guides in the unseen realms have for us.” She also derives inspiration from the late Minoweh Ikidowin (Clouds in the Wind) from the Pocasset Wampanoag Peoples of the Watuppa Reservation in Fall River, Massachusetts, who said of her work: “There is a breath, a drumbeat, a heartbeat that evokes one’s spirits to the depths of one’s soul in all of the artwork by Red Bear Dreamer [Rosanne’s native name]. If you allow yourself to be pulled into her work you will begin to hear the silenced voices of our ancestors revealing the sacred ways they lived and loved all of the Creators’ blessings.”
All in-person Cultural Survival Bazaars in 2022 are still postponed due to the pandemic. We will soon announce the dates for the Summer 2023 Bazaar season. Until then, please support and buy directly from our Bazaar artists by visiting our directory of artists at bazaar.cs.org
Cultural Survival Quarterly December 2022
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