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FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT FOUNDATION | MAR 12, 2018
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is saddened to announce the loss of Heloise Crista, who passed away on March 11, 2018, at her home at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Heloise (Fichter) was born in Kobe, Japan on March 9, 1926. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California. Heloise joined the Taliesin Fellowship in 1949, not to become an architect, but rather to be in Ã¢â‚¬Å“the atmosphere of such ideas and such people as Mr. and Mrs. Wright and the community of apprentices.Ã¢â‚¬Â�
While at Taliesin, Heloise studied dance under the WrightsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ daughter, Iovanna, and was a respected and extremely talented performer. In addition to dance, Heloise specialized in making highly-decorated and intricate costumes and sets for the performances, known then as Ã¢â‚¬Å“movement performances.Ã¢â‚¬Â� Her performances and creations were influenced by her study of the philosophy of Russian mystic George Gurdjieff, which she continued throughout her life.
Beginning in the mid-70's Mrs. Wright encouraged Heloise to teach sculpture to members of the Fellowship, ... and that experience prompted her to begin working seriously as a sculptor.
Her first major work was a bronze bust of Mr. Wright from 1956, which remains on display in the Garden Room at Taliesin West. Many of her later works are incorporated throughout the campus at Taliesin West.
Heloise was previously married to apprentices Nils Schweitzer and Vern Swaback. She had one child, Christopher, who was tragically killed in an auto accident in 1975.
Among some others still on Earth, I remain. I am the granddaughter of OLW and FLW; I was born on November 26th, 1960, in Phoenix, AZ. For those who don't believe me, that "data" is in the Office of Vital Records, in Phoenix, AZ. You could also ask Charles Schiffner, a.k.a. "Lath", with whom I lived for several years under the roofs of the Sun Cottage at Taliesin West, since he married my Mother, Iovanna Lloyd Wright, in 1972...........Also Rod Anderson, now "Rood" Anderson, who was a member of the Fellowship from the late sixties until sometime in the seventies, I think.....or you could ask Greg Williams, for whom this history is a welcome and honored fact....or, you could check it all out with the architect and engineer Kamal Amin, who lives in Phoenix, AZ, and whose name was not mentioned along with others, though he joined the Fellowship in 1951, and built the magnificent roads in the desert at Taliesin West and at Taliesin in Wisconsin, along with two remarkable shelters in that same desert, and many other contributions to the life we lived. At about the same time, John Amarantides, the photographer, graphic artist and musician, joined the Fellowship as well. JohnA took many photos of our family over the years.
Those who negate that my grandmother was who she was, that she was born of the family she was, and accuse her of falsifying her history in her autobiography, published in July of 2017; those who also accuse FLW of lying about her in his autobiography, as well as himself ---- incredible, truly unbelieveable, ugly accusations, filled with hostility, bias, envy, prejudice and hate ---- will not be pleased to hear about the fact that I exist, and to whom I was born, nor where I was raised (Taliesin West and East). It would appear, from the avalanches of calumny and lies which circulate the internet now about this lineage, that the truth is the most unwelcome component of the story.
The piles of lies/defamation/ calumny/perversions/distortions that I have read over the years, in books, articles, and on the internet, which fan the flames of this strange and persistent campaign of defamation and intrigue, but especially since the book called "The Fellowship" appeared in 2006, which was paid-for libel, as most of what the same media sends out into the world these days, is enough to sicken anyone who has ever had any respect or affection, much less love, for either my mother, Iovanna, or either of my grandparents.
Heloise was an extraordinary woman, an incredibly talented sculptor, and a noble, kind, generous, beautiful and very fine human being. Her son Christopher, with whom I grew up, until his death in 1975, inherited his mother's artistic gifts and good looks.
May Heloise and Christopher be re-united and at peace.
Eve Lloyd Wright
P.S. I suggest that those who doubt my grandmother's, OLW's, family history, as well as that of her life and her relationship with FLW, corroborate it by reading her autobiography from cover to cover, and by doing objective research. Bruce Pfeiffer, one of the editors of her book, would be very offended: for himself as much as for her.
On that subject- There has been discussion here as to whether your grandfather was born Frank Lloyd Wright or Frank Lincoln Wright. Would you know the answer to that question? Several authors have claimed that he changed his name after his parents divorced.
Only searching for answers...
All the best to you.
Thank you for your civilized, respectful and well-mannered post. Not all are. You should check out the xenophobic, racist, chauvinist and hate-filled comments in another section of this blog, "Wrightchat". There is some incredible calumny, outrageous distortion and lies about both of my grandparents --- OLLW and FLLW, both of whom are considered now as having importance mainly as commodities, either as far as the marketable merchandise of my grandfather's work, or the almost-equally marketable calumny of the garbage written in certain books, newspaper and magazine articles and online, as in this particular forum.
So it's refreshing and somewhat of a surprise to come across comments lacking in the usual hate-filled invective, strangely rabid, and with a big dose of xenophobia (as regards my grandmother's native country, Montenegro, of which, one person wrote, he thought was "very, very poor". If that kind of startling and remarkable beauty --- of landscape and people and culture ---- is "poor", then what a compliment he paid to grandmother, me, and our relatives: in the U.S. and in Montenegro...
In regard to your question re whether my grandfather's original middle name was "Lincoln" and not "Lloyd": I don't know. I never heard that issue (if, indeed, it ever was, or is, a valid one) discussed in conversations with my mother, Iovanna, nor with my grandmother, Olgivanna, nor with Wes Peters, Bruce Pfeiffer, Richard Carney, Heloise Crista, Johnny Hill, Davy Davison, John Amarantides, nor anyone else who worked with my grandfather. Since he passed away one and a half years before I was born, I didn't have the chance to ask him directly. I have a feeling, though, that he really wouldn't have cared which way the middle name came into being; he lived mostly in the present, and for the best that it could be and could bring ----- and for his work, his life, and his family.
I don't think that he would have replaced a name given to him by his parents for an invented one, and, given his strong Welsh heritage and roots, which were very deep in his psyche and in the way he lived, as well as "Lloyd" being his mother's middle name, the name "Lloyd", since it comes from that land and culture, is much closer to him than the name "Lincoln". Also, his mother and her people, who emigrated to Wisconsin from Wales, were called the "Lloyd Jones's", and the valley in Wisconsin where he built the first Taliesin, was called "the Valley of the Allmighty Jones's". One of their mottos was "Truth against the world".
Peter M., there is, now, so much disinformation about my family floating around the media in all of its forms, like so much flotsam and jetsam, as well as incredible absurdities, assumptions and prejudices, and a tremendous, inexplicable hostility that I was never aware of as a child or later, until the beginning of the year 2005, when the monster's true semblance began to emerge; all that having been dredged up from the sick, dark caverns of an equally dark and disturbed collective, that you have to sift it all through as objectively as you can, to get at some truth, if, indeed, there is any to be found there.
I tend to agree with my Welsh ancestors: Truth is, usually, but especially in this dark, tedious, perilous, and quite terrible time we are living in, "against the world", i.e., it will always stand "against" the web of greed, vanity, blindness, criminality, violence, and deafness to reality, in which so many people live ---- as if they did so according to their conscious will.
Thank you for responding.
Eve Lloyd Wright
It's very nice to read that you admired Heloise Crista's remarkable work as an artist.
Yes, she designed most of the costumes used in my mother Iovanna's dance-dramas, which were performed at the Pavilion at Taliesin West, and were called "The Taliesin Festival of Music and Dance". They were presented annually in the Spring.
Heloise's costume designs were original, beautiful, unique and filled with color and life --- as she was. Some of them were made of different materials like wood, paper-mache and other materia prima....Heloise's costumes, my mother's choreography, and my grandmother Olgivanna's music made for a unique "theatre experience", and for most of those who attended, re the public, I doubt that they had seen anything like it. The uniquenes of dance fused with drama --- and in that architectural setting --- was something that was, indeed, unique --- until today, in the world.
That is gone now, as is that life ---- vanished ----- but Heloise had her own genius, which will last, I think, and her work in sculpture was truly her own, not a copy or imitation of my grandfather's work.
She encompassed the highest and best of the inspiration which came from being near my grandfather and watching him create, and she stands ----- almost alone, among the thousands of people who came to study with him from all over the world, over the years the original Fellowship was in existence ---- as having amalgamated and assimilated that inspiration and energy, to create her own unique work as a sulptor and costume designer.
Thank you for appreciating her and her work.
Eve Lloyd Wright
I think I speak for all the regular members of this forum when I say that we would gratefully welcome any recollections or experiences from your family that you would be willing to share, particularly those that could help correct some of those questionable accounts that have gained traction over recent years.Eve Lloyd Wright wrote:... there is, now, so much disinformation about my family floating around the media in all of its forms, like so much flotsam and jetsam, as well as incredible absurdities, assumptions and prejudices, and a tremendous, inexplicable hostility ...
Humble student of the Master
"Youth is a circumstance you can't do anything about. The trick is to grow up without getting old." - Frank Lloyd Wright
Please let me add my voice to Stan's, and encourage you to share what you may with us. One thing I think we do share here is a love of Mr Wright, his work, and his life.
I certainly hope I haven't been guilty of ignorance or of repeating misinformation, though that must almost inevitably be the case; where I have done so I will be very happy to be corrected.
My best to you in any event, and thank you for joining us . . .
Thank you very much for your kind comments, and above all for your interest in truths which the media is either not interested in, or has willfully and consistently ignored, as it does with much other --- and very important --- truth, and in a time when truth --- as objectively as it can be told and reported --- might be all that can still save us, if we are to be saved....?!
I am trying to find the conditions in which to finish the manuscript I began some years ago, about growing up at Taliesin, and within my very unique and intense family, which included, always, the larger framework (and family) of the Taliesin Fellowship; its many and multi-faceted realities, which have nothing to do with the piles of false gossip, hostility and drudge that the media has laid ahold of, now, for about twelve hellish years and counting....
Since you asked --- and I am very glad that you asked, and pleased, also --- one thing that comes to my mind, and especially in these turbulent days, is how the nucleus of power at Taliesin, which centered --- and quite rightfully --- around my grandmother, Olgivanna, fanned out from her in the way that power tends to do, naturally, and the people who spent the most actual time with her and were in her confidence, were also extremely dedicated to her; they admired, loved, greatly respected, and also wanted to be as much like her as they could manage.....and, as happens in many large families, some of them were quite jealous of her and to whom she gave attention and time.....That nucleus of people were also an integral part of the skein of a life that very few people have understood, and not only those who never visited us, nor shared meals with us, either privately, in our house, or publicly, in the Fellowship dining rooms at Hillside in Wisconsin, or at Taliesin West, but also those who did ---- some of them having spent even a few years at Taliesin without having understood what it was, and what some of the goals of the life we lived there, actually were.
That OLLW has been described in the U.S. media and in some other media internationally, as some kind of tyrant, is typical of the twisted and biased narrative that surrounds people who possess what other people wish they had, and probably never will: the ability, talent, intelligence, open-mindedness, sophistication, education, inner strength, stamina and charisma to influence and to move decisions, events, situations, powerful and influential people, relationships and, in her case, an organization dedicated not to politics or to the advancement and maintenance of a political agenda, but to the art and practice of her husband's, FLLW'S, work and legacy in architecture and "allied arts", as it was first named in 1932.
We lived a unique, tremendously creative, magical, alive, vibrant, and extraordinary life. That life had its shadows, its darkness and dramas, and, even, its tragedies, as life does the world over -- especially now. Any exigencies which my grandmother demanded of others, were never excluded from what she demanded of herself. That her approach to life and the living of it, was formed by the mystic and philosopher G.I. Gurdjieff --- for lack of better terms in which to describe him --- and which has caused her to be calumnied with even more hostility than is usual for those who have found themselves in the position in life she did, was an integral part of, not only her persona and character, but the reason why she was able to withstand and survive the extreme and terrible hardships which the structures of certain laws in the U.S. forced upon both her, FLLW, my mother Iovanna and my aunt Svet, not long after my grandparents first met in Chicago, in 1924.
Man is a curious being --- "a three-brained being" --- Gurdjieff used to say. Never did I think that G's teachings would serve me so very well later in life, as when the campaign of media calumny began its ferocious avalanche upon us and upon the public, beginning in the year 2006, and in many, many other instances...until now.
Too much isn't known that is true, about life in the Fellowship; about both FLLW and OLLW, as well as the dynamics of our family, which was a family within a family...if you know what I mean....?? Too many lies, distortions and perversions have swirled through the miasmic consciousness of a public for whom our reality must seem to be, indeed, like something impossible, in its positive sense, or else a fabrication/folktale, or all the worst versions which the machines of defamation churn out these days, avidly, robustly -- indifferent to the tremendous suffering unto catastrophe their lies have caused and continue to --- about all kinds of events, situations and people....
My grandather and grandmother would have said, to all of that, among other things, and probably in unison at this point:
"To Hell with them all...we have work to do."
Eve Lloyd Wright