Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Inspired by Native American Artisans

On my trip Up North this summer, I was lucky enough to see three museum exhibits featuring the art and craft of Native American artists. The pictures that can be made with tiny beads, porcupine quills, and moosehair is amazing. I’ve done a lot of beadwork, using Indian techniques, but I would love to try my hand at things like moosehair embroidery. (I wonder if all the saved cat whiskers might work in this technique. I've saved a LOT of them over the years!)

Carolyn and I went to a really good exhibit at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, called Rethink! – American Indian Art.    The exhibit is up until January 6, 2013, and includes the work of well known contemporary artists such as Teri Greeves, click here and here; Jeremy Frey; Marcus Amerman, and many others.  

Note: You can click on any text that is in dark red, to follow a link to another website.

I love Teri Greeves’ Beaded High Top Sneakers. What a hoot! Teri is teaching a Beaded Baby Moccasins workshop at the museum on November 4. Wish I could take it!

There were several wall hangings by Teri Greeves that were really interesting. This bead technique looks similar to working with number 11 seed beads, but she used BIG beads and on a large scale.

I have been seeing Marcus Amerman’s beaded portraits for many years (see Chief Joseph portrait here), but I did not know about his high fashion pieces and glass work.  I love the beadwork lapels on this 'Indian Tux' (my description, I do not know the title of this piece).  The jacket in the background was also fascinating, all done in a beadwork version of ledger drawings. 

The Berkshire Museum will also host workshops this fall with Jeremy Frey (an amazing Passamaquoddy basket maker), October 7, and Niio Perkins, ‘Iroquois Beaded Whimsey’ on December 4.

The exhibit at the Berkshire Museum also features artifacts the Museum has collected over the years.  I love this sweet European China doll beautifully dressed in Crow costume:

Visiting Kathy in New York City, I discovered TWO museum exhibits featuring Native American art! Of course I always go to the National Museum of the American Indian in New York, now located in the Wall Street area, but I used to go to it when it was up in Harlem and was called the Heye Foundation Museum of the American Indian. The NMAI has some amazing, amazing pieces in their collections, and there are always new exhibits up when I visit. This time it was DOLLS!

There were some beautiful, and charming, dolls in the exhibit. The lighting was low, and no flash, so the photos aren’t great, but you can see the NMAI doll collection online by doing a search (and you can see the BACK of the dolls too, which I couldn’t in the exhibit).   Click here. 

One of several ‘dolls’ by Joyce Growing Thunder:

I like the face painting on these dolls:

These dolls were from Alaska, are made of grasses, and I think they are a kind of basketry:

The exhibit is now closed, but there is a catalog, sort of. It doesn’t feature the dolls in the exhibit, but it is an excellent book about Native American dolls.
Order it from the museum store:

Anishinaabe Birch & Quill House:

Cool!  A Choctaw coat (circa 1900) from Mississsippi!  This was part of another exhibit, "Infinity of Nations," at NMAI, and in additional to the actual exhibit, there is a fabulous online exhibit of Native art of the Americas, from earliest history to contemporary.

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