One of Gundega Snepste's puzuri sculptures made of grass reeds decorates the Homer Council on the Arts.

One of Gundega Snepste's puzuri sculptures made of grass reeds decorates the Homer Council on the Arts.

Ancient Latvian art with a Homer twist

Hanging from the ceiling of the Homer Council on the Arts, a 4-foot wide, multifaceted sculpture looks like a temple from a cosmic fantasy. Based on the geometric shape of an octahedron, the piece, called Puzuri, comes not from the imagination of a Hollywood set designer, but from an ancient Latvian solstice tradition.

To brighten up HCOA this holiday season, artist and HCOA volunteer Gundega Snepste reached back into her heritage. Puzuri pre-dates Christianity and has been used as a solstice decoration in Latvia and other Baltic Sea countries since ancient times, Snepste said.

Made of rye grass straw, Puzuri can be as elaborate as the large centerpiece or as simple as a ring of grass stalks. To add a Kachemak Bay touch, Snepste also used kelp, pushki, alder berries and lupine seed pods. A grove of kelp Christmas trees fills one wall. She also made three-dimensional stars. String is threaded through pieces of hollow grass straw and tied together.

“Puzuri can be as simple or elaborate as the time and fantasy of the makers go,” Snepste said.

The winter-solstice art also has a summer-solstice connection. At midsummer, it’s traditional for Latvians to burn Puzuri in big solstice bonfires.

Snepste’s Puzuri show is on exhibit at HCOA through January. A Second Friday reception also will held 5-7 p.m. Jan. 8 with a silent auction of the work. Sign up for future Puzuri making workshops, too.

More in Life

This 1940s-era image is one of few early photographs of Cliff House, which once stood near the head of Tustumena Lake. (Photo courtesy of the Secora Collection)
Twists and turns in the history of Cliff House — Part 1

Here, then, is the story of Cliff House, as least as I know it now.

File
Minister’s Message: What’s in a name?

The Scriptures advise, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.”

Visitors put on personal protective equipment before an artist talk by Dr. Sami Ali' at the Jan. 7, 2022, First Friday opening of her exhibit, "The Mind of a Healthcare Worker During the COVID-19 Pandemic," at the Homer Council on the Arts in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
ER doctor’s paintings follow passage of pandemic

Dr. Sami Ali made 2019 resolution to paint every day — and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Almond flour adds a nuttiness to this carrot cake topped with cream cheese frosting. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: A ‘perfect day’ cake

Carrot cake and cream cheese frosting make for a truly delicious day off

File
Minister’s Message: A prayer pulled from the ashes

“In that beleaguered and beautiful land, the prayer endures.”

A copy of “The Year of Magical Thinking” by author Joan Didion is displayed on an e-reader. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Didion’s “Year of Magical Thinking” is a timely study on grief

‘The last week of 2021 felt like a good time to pick up one of her books.’

Megan Pacer / Homer News
Artist Asia Freeman, third from left, speaks to visitors on Nov. 1, 2019, at a First Friday art exhibit opening at Kachemak Bay Campus in Homer.
Freeman wins Governor’s Arts Humanities Award

Bunnell Street Arts Center artistic director is one of nine honored.

Zirrus VanDevere’s pieces are displayed at the Kenai Art Center on Jan. 4, 2022. (Courtesy Alex Rydlinski)
A journey of healing

VanDevere mixes shape, color and dimension in emotional show

Traditional ingredients like kimchi, ramen and tofu are mixed with American comfort food Spam in this hearty Korean stew. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Warm up with army base stew

American soldiers introduced local cooks to some American staple ingredients of the time: Spam and hotdogs.

File
Peninsula Crime: Bad men … and dumb ones — Part 2

Here, in Part Two and gleaned from local newspapers, are a few examples of the dim and the dumb.

File
Minister’s Message: What if Christ had not been born?

It is now time to look at the work and life of Jesus Christ.

Homemade masa makes the base of these Mexican gorditas. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Tasty trial and error

Homemade gorditas present new cooking challenge.