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Forum Home - Go Back > Pow Wow Crafts > Beadwork Should I get into beadwork? Should I get into beadwork?

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Old 10-30-2018, 11:30 AM   #1
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Should I get into beadwork?

Hi I'm not native american nor american but since two years I got into native american tribes bc of writing,mostly Lakota and I'm currently in art school where they asked us to pick 3 projects as homeworks and I was thinking about starting beadwork after reading about a beaded dress in a museum.
The thing is by searching patterns and the meaning of different colours I ended up on this forum where people were feuding about who can or cannot do beadwork.
I think that I kinda understood the way native people can feel about "outsiders" trying to "get in".
So since I still don't know a lot about beadwork I'd like to know if it was ok for me to do it,I'd like to understand and use patterns that hold a meaning as well as colors to create some pieces I could relate to.
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Old 10-30-2018, 11:42 AM   #2
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Anyone can do beadwork. It all about marketing. If you sell beadwork some people will assume it's "native american" made. There are laws in place to keep truth in advertising !
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Old 10-30-2018, 01:01 PM   #3
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All people do some form of beadwork. Native people have their own unique styles and techniques.

As you start, remember not to copy designs. These belong to families, individuals and/or tribal groups. You will need to spent time studying historic and contemporary pieces to understand the design vocabulary.

A starting point:

Georg Barth, Native American Beadwork: Traditional Beading Techniques for the Modern-Day Beadworker, Schneider Pubs, 1993.

Joel Monture, The Complete Guide to Traditional Native American Beadwork: A Definitive Study of Authentic Tools, Materials, Techniques, and Styles, Wiley, 1993.

David Dean, Beading in the Native American Tradition, Interweave Press, 2002.

Carrie Lyford, Quill and Beadwork of the Western Sioux, Schneider Pubs, 1993. (This is an old 1933, BIA publication which has been reprinted in its entire or in parts under a half a dozen imprints.)


As for the arguments, they usually start when someone encroaches on an artist's intellectual property, when a non-indian plays expert, or when someone misrepresents non-Indian made art as Indian-made.
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Old 10-30-2018, 01:19 PM   #4
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Museum exhibit or collection catalogs:

NMAI, Identity by Design: Tradition, Change, and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses, Smithsonian, 2007.

Gaylord Torrence ed, The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky, Skira Paris, 2014.

Ralph Coe, Sacred Circles, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, 1976.

Alan Hirschfield et al, Living with American Indian Art: The Hirschfield Collection, Gibbs Smith, 2012.

Theodor Brasser, Native American Clothing: An Illustrated History, Firefly Books, 2009.

Susan Jennys, 19th Century Plains Indian Dresses, Crazy Crow, 2009.

Joseph Horse Capture, et al. Beauty, Honor, and Tradition: The Legacy of Plains Indian Shirts Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2001.

Ralph Coe, Lost and found traditions: Native American art 1965-1985, University of Washington Press, 1986.

Barbara Hail, Hau, Kola! The Plains Indian Collection of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Haffenreffer Museum , 1980.

Emile Her Many Horses, et al, Song for the Horse Nation: Horses in Native American Cultures, Fulcrum Publishing, 2006.

Ned Martin et al, American Indian Horse Masks, Hawk Hill Press, 2007.
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Old 10-30-2018, 01:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai View Post
...I'd like to understand and use patterns that hold a meaning as well as colors to create some pieces I could relate to.
Be careful. There is an assumption that there is a uniform symbolic language to native beadwork. People often think that designs can be read like a book. Meanings are personal. (I could tell an amusing story about eavesdropping on a woman during a gallery showing, who had decided to tell her friend about the meaning of the design on a beaded horse blanket I had made. By the time she finished spinning a yarn about the butterflies fluttering over the hills crossed by the path my forbidden lover and I were walking, I had nearly choked to death on my sparkling water.)

There are pieces that have religious or society designs. The making and use of these are restricted to those that have the right. As a rule of thumb, don't copy designs from NAC fans, staffs, etc. Don't copy society regalia designs.
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Old 10-30-2018, 04:40 PM   #6
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What you reminded me about the designs totally make sense,that's intellectual property.
Thanks for the replies,the advices and references,it'll be very helpful to me.
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Old 10-31-2018, 02:13 AM   #7
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Anyone can do bead work-and it doesn't have to be NA patterns. Just google it and you will find amazing designs and patterns-some free, some for sale.
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Old 10-31-2018, 11:44 AM   #8
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