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  • Fancy Dance Beadwork

    I just got back from a trip to Oklahoma where I had a wonderful conversation with a Kiowa man and a Pawnee man about fancy dance and its hitory and also its future. The topic of outfits came up and we started talking about beadwork. Their views were that less beadwork is seen among dancers today and that someday it may be totally absent from the typical outfit.

    I don't nessecarrily agree 100% with this viewpoint, but since not much happens on this forum so it will be interesting to hear all of your views on this topic.

    Fancy Dance Beadwork: The way I see it, there are two types of beadwork. 1) The loom work sets consisting of a belt, harness, cuffs, side tabs, knee bands, headband, and other items. I will call this the "Oklahoma Set" although it is seen almost everywhere. 2) Applique or lane stitch sets of capes, aprons, side tabs, and sometimes cuffs and other pieces.

    What trends are all of you seeing in outfits?

  • #2
    I think you're right. You do see less and less beadwork. Maybe it's because there are so many different ways to decorate and add "flash". You see a lot of sequins, satin fabrics and satin ribbon, CD's for rosettes, etc.

    To me, nothing is keener than a fine set of beadwork, but it takes time and can be expensive. Other ways to add "flash", like those mentioned above are less time consuming and a lot less expensive.

    I dance with fully beaded cape, apron, side drops, cuffs and kneebands... all done in lazy stitch. The only down side is the weight. I've never actually weighed my whole outfit, but it's pretty heavy. Some days, in 95 degree heat and humidity, I wish I had a lighter, satin set with less beadwork.

    Just some thoughts.
    If you are what you eat.... I'm fast, cheap and easy.

    Comment


    • #3
      hmmm,

      that brings a loaded answer.it is sad to think it would even be a possibility to lose the beadwork. even though i think it could be possible one day. partly because we are all so busy working and carrying on in mainstream white america. there is no time to sit down and get going on anything. ah, it will never get done. and then there is the fact that alot of people dont know how anymore. the way we were taught, it was something a mother passed down to her daughter. but with the heaviness of todays troubles, atleast up here,. there is no one to teach. ( our ways are no longer important)that is what i here alot of. so i took it apon myself to leave post ups at the schools for the children and their parents that work evenings to instead of letting the kids run around all night while they are at work to have them get of the bus here at my home and they would be taught different things. its safe, fun and i hate to say it kinda like a "gramma's" house even though i am not even 30 yet. but it gives younger people a chance to learn how to behave at fuctions. who know youve seen those ones, that you just shake your head at. so far it seems to be helping. i have two girls and one boy that come here after school just to get away and learn that there is more to do than sit home and smoke weed or what ever else. together we have made one complete outfit for one and started on another, they have all helped on it, and are helping with the others. it brings them together and they inturn will do the same for others when its their time. the only reason i was able to do this for them was because my gramma taught me and when she went away, she left all her stuff to me. and so i put it to good use. so the point of all of my dribbling is: we need to keep teaching each other, we need to slow down and remember who we are, we need to reach out to the younger ones, and they will surely grab our hands. they want to learn just as much as we want to keep it going.. thanks for hearing me dribble.

      Comment


      • #4
        I do see less and less matching fully beaded fancy outfits nowadays. At my last tribal pow wow, there was only one or two fully beaded outfits -- the rest were cloth-based. I think it has to do with both cost and know-how. It's not cheap in either time or money for materials.

        My grandmother beaded my first fancy oufit and she was very good at it. It took her a year. Not many people are willing to sacrifice that amount of time to any one project. My grandmother taught both my cousin and my younger sister how to bead (I have the 15 beaded keychains to prove it ) but they have both kind of tapered off and only do small pieces here and there. They are busy adults now with careers and families and they just can't find the time. Sigh.

        In a fast-forward culture that prizes immediacy and rewards haste it is hard to find someone who can appreciate what beading teaches you: steady, persistent effort over a lengthy period of time produces unique and enduring artwork. It still makes me feel good to think of my grandmother working over her loom day in and day out on my beadwork.

        My outfit consists of loom beaded belt, headband, cuffs, side drops and necklace and fully beaded lazy stitch cape, apron and cuffs.

        I didn't mean for this to turn into a rant. Double sigh.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by bwhite
          I think you're right. You do see less and less beadwork. Maybe it's because there are so many different ways to decorate and add "flash". You see a lot of sequins, satin fabrics and satin ribbon, CD's for rosettes, etc.

          To me, nothing is keener than a fine set of beadwork, but it takes time and can be expensive. Other ways to add "flash", like those mentioned above are less time consuming and a lot less expensive.

          I dance with fully beaded cape, apron, side drops, cuffs and kneebands... all done in lazy stitch. The only down side is the weight. I've never actually weighed my whole outfit, but it's pretty heavy. Some days, in 95 degree heat and humidity, I wish I had a lighter, satin set with less beadwork.

          Just some thoughts.
          Boozhoo niji,

          I as well see less beaded outfits, although I have not been dancing as long as most on this thread, when I first started I saw at least a couple of beaded outfits, now none.

          Mostly here in fla people are too lazy or just dont have enough time to do the beadwork. I see a lot of shabby outfits down here, things that are just thrown together from either lack of knowhow or lack of money. I get a lot of people askin me how much I paid for my outfit. Mine is all scratch made and its been an ongoing project for over 7 years now. I have been doing more repair work than making new stuff or doing the beadwork that I want to do. And I tell people I probably have around $500 invested in the whole outfit. The goats are probably the single most expensive part witha single hide costing $100 from CCTP. Those facts deter a lot of people into either not dancing altogether, (and I dont know of very many fancy dancers in fla at all) or they made the shabby quick outfit.

          I have seen a couple dancers down here as well, that have a really sharp outfit, with Oklahoma made bustles, and treat em like crap. The bustles mesh together because they are not worn right and then spikes get broken when he twists his shoulders or whatever.

          I have very minimumal beadwork, only the rossettes in the bustles, and I would like to finish a forehead rosetted and headband, maybe a set of drops. I just have no time, have too much to do with wanting to move to Minnesota and all that, but when I get there, I plan on making a new outfit and competing with it, am thinking a nice royal blue with a woodland beadwork pattern on it, sorta like the Anishinaabe flower pattern. Dunno about bustle colors yet.

          My outfit as is weighs a total of 20 pounds, 10 for the bustles and then 10 for everything else. It does get hot here in Fla, and I dont think really, either being beaded or non-beaded would make a difference as far as heat is concerned. There is still cloth underneath the beads, and it still absorbs sweat and evaporates and cools you off a little bit. The only thing I can see is a fully beaded cape would be heavier, and probably lay closer to your skin. I get a good amount of air comming under my cape when the wind blows, and that helps a lot. The beads would probably weight it down and not allow you to feel as much wind. Thats the reason I want to go for the floral pattern, its not fully beaded, and will not be as heavy either.

          I dont see myself wearing the full harness/drops and belt. I wear a fingerwoven sash now, and my back bustle ties on with leather thongs. I tried a belt, but for some reason I could not get the bustle to hang straight so I gave up on it.

          This thread is also bringing up anothe question... If time and money are the only reasons for not wearing a beaded outfit, what happens to all the dancers regalia that were beaded, that the dancers either retired passed on to family? I know I would have been proud to have something passed down to me, to wear when I dance, a family pattern or whatever. For me that will never be, but I know there are a lot of other more fortunate than I in that way. So why are they not wearing that stuff?

          Derek
          I believe in something I want to believe, not what someone wants me to believe.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by beadingmadness
            that brings a loaded answer.it is sad to think it would even be a possibility to lose the beadwork. even though i think it could be possible one day. partly because we are all so busy working and carrying on in mainstream white america. there is no time to sit down and get going on anything. ah, it will never get done. and then there is the fact that alot of people dont know how anymore. the way we were taught, it was something a mother passed down to her daughter. but with the heaviness of todays troubles, atleast up here,. there is no one to teach. ( our ways are no longer important)that is what i here alot of. so i took it apon myself to leave post ups at the schools for the children and their parents that work evenings to instead of letting the kids run around all night while they are at work to have them get of the bus here at my home and they would be taught different things. its safe, fun and i hate to say it kinda like a "gramma's" house even though i am not even 30 yet. but it gives younger people a chance to learn how to behave at fuctions. who know youve seen those ones, that you just shake your head at. so far it seems to be helping. i have two girls and one boy that come here after school just to get away and learn that there is more to do than sit home and smoke weed or what ever else. together we have made one complete outfit for one and started on another, they have all helped on it, and are helping with the others. it brings them together and they inturn will do the same for others when its their time. the only reason i was able to do this for them was because my gramma taught me and when she went away, she left all her stuff to me. and so i put it to good use. so the point of all of my dribbling is: we need to keep teaching each other, we need to slow down and remember who we are, we need to reach out to the younger ones, and they will surely grab our hands. they want to learn just as much as we want to keep it going.. thanks for hearing me dribble.
            You're gonna make a goot gramma!!!

            I gave you a good rep cuz it sounds like you are doing something for your community. I also donated 60 million points to you.

            Maybe you can buy a couple of powwows.com t-shirts with the points. If that's not enough points for your t-shirts (I think they are 25 million points each), let me know and we'll get it right.



            Joe's Dad


            Why must I feel like that..why must I chase the cat?


            "When I was young man I did some dumb things and the elders would talk to me. Sometimes I listened. Time went by and as I looked around...I was the elder".

            Mr. Rossie Freeman

            Comment


            • #7
              BeadingMadness,

              You are doing a good thing. One kid at a time, if that is what it takes. Best of luck to you in your efforts. Maybe I'll run into you at a MN powwow, I'm up here until 12-31-2007

              Now, April of 2003, I was in CA, I'm trying to think who the heck I was talking to about this in OK. I must have just got back from Ponca? Frankly, I don't even remember starting this thread.

              Comment


              • #8
                Unfortunatly I think were generally in agreement on this...and it's not just the Men's fancy, I see less beadwork in general.
                I also see alot of poorly made regalia. I think it's two fold: Lack of knowledge & lack of patience, in this instant gratification world, ppl want a regalia & they want it yesterday.
                I teach a dance class here & part of the class is on the parents, the kids gotta have a good regalia, & i will help, my rule is I will put in as many hours on thier childs regalia as they do. I say hours, cause if i'm teaching them how, I will obviously get more done in the same amount of time. There are 5 families who are in the class plus my own. The saddest part is some families walked away when I mentioned working on thier children's regalia, they thought I'd do it all. It's well known here that I don't take cash for regalia, I guess they thought they'd be sitting back at home watchin tv, & there kids would have free regalia.
                The cost can be an issue, but not so much if you spread it out over time. For example, with my own children I wil start off with some cloth, & applique beadwork, & add to it over time, every year, i make them something new that is fully beaded, to add to it. Alot of the Mom's I help out, will buy what 's needed month by month. you don't need everything the day you start, cause it's going to take time to finish. Some of the Moms chose sequin to start & replace over time with bead work. Most are teaching thier kids as they learn too.
                I tell them, your children are dancing, respect what they are doing by putting in some time after work & a bit of cash each month. I think if we can't do this for our kids then we've really lost site of who we are. I'm just glad that there are still a few who feel the same & are willing to learn
                Suzze

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree with you 100 % Suzze ,Folks want to look good but dont want to do the work it takes to get it . My Big boys currently dance Tradish ,my smallest Grass ,and they have just about every thing a adult dancer would have. My husband and I have been told on more than one occasion how well put together our kids are. We take great Pride in making sure our sons look good. And it does not take alot of money to do this, just take time ,watch for sales on material, take your time while putting it together, and it helps take care of your dance clothes ,Ive seen adults who dont take good care of their outfits ,what is that teaching our lil ones???
                  I got a fevah! And the only cure is more cowbell!!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My oldest dances tradish & my smallest grass as well, I also got girls (fancy/hoop).
                    My little grass dancer wants to do fancy when he is older, I wish there were more Men's fancy where i live.
                    Your right caring for your regalia is also important.
                    Suzze

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Im just a really slow beader. Got a bunch of started pieces, a few half done and very little completed.

                      Im on the ball now. finishing a rosette necklace and barette for my wife.

                      next thing is a set for a grass outfit. Im looking at a belt,drops,collar, breastplate, headband and cuffs. should take a bunch of months.

                      i prefer applique.

                      i think people arent doing it because they dont wanna spend the time on their outfits, they just want it fast. Some people have a new one every few months!

                      But if you make a nece set, you can wear it with any outfit.
                      There are 2 types of people in the world...
                      Really stupid people who think they are smart
                      and
                      Really smart people who think they are smart.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Then again there are people like me, who have too much to do, work yard work, fixing the house, getting ready to move up to minnesota, all that good stuff. Beadwork comes last on my iteneriary.

                        On a lighter note, I did finish a pair of liners for my goats today. I keep making them better and tougher. I figure sooner or later I will have a pair that will last long enough, along with the rest of my outfit, to allow me enough time to do some beadwork

                        Derek
                        Last edited by crazywolf; 11-23-2006, 10:51 PM. Reason: type o
                        I believe in something I want to believe, not what someone wants me to believe.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by crazywolf
                          Then again there are people like me, who have too much to do, work yard work, fixing the house, getting ready to move up to minnesota, all that good stuff. Beadwork comes last on my iteneriary.

                          On a lighter note, I did finish a pair of liners for my goats today. I keep making them better and tougher. I figure sooner or later I will have a pair that will last long enough, along with the rest of my outfit, to allow me enough time to do some beadwork

                          Derek
                          Well, it sounds like you need to get married, (and I know I'm assuming here, but anyway) just ask my husband, he is never short on beaded items now...lol...Am I right ladies? Your Men all way decked out now that they got someone who shows thier love with a bag of beads & some thread?
                          Suzze

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SuzzeQ4
                            Well, it sounds like you need to get married, (and I know I'm assuming here, but anyway) just ask my husband, he is never short on beaded items now...lol...Am I right ladies? Your Men all way decked out now that they got someone who shows thier love with a bag of beads & some thread?
                            Suzze

                            Yeah I need a girlfriend (gotta start somewhere) I know someone I have in mind that does some really killer beadwork, but not sure how interested she is in me, its hard to tell when your 1800 miles apart.

                            Derek
                            I believe in something I want to believe, not what someone wants me to believe.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by crazywolf
                              Yeah I need a girlfriend (gotta start somewhere) I know someone I have in mind that does some really killer beadwork, but not sure how interested she is in me, its hard to tell when your 1800 miles apart.

                              Derek
                              Is that why your moving? Good luck with her, you can always tell a good Woman by the bead work...lol

                              Suzze
                              P.S. If it doesn't work I know a great Ojibway Woman up here ( about your age) originally from Red Lake Ontario, good bead work too...lol
                              Last edited by SuzzeQ4; 11-27-2006, 03:25 PM.

                              Comment

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