Beadwork has happened!

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Completed a while ago, but not yet posted, is this shallow, wide-rimmed bowl for a challenge/competition for Whimbeads. I purchased the kit of beads sight unseen (but themed by season), and created beadwork that incorporated at least half of the kit beads. I did use just over half the beads, and only the kit beads to create this.Heller_Dulcey_2

It’s brick stitch, self-supporting, 5″ in diameter, and 1″ deep.

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I didn’t win anything, but I’m satisfied with my finished piece.

Additional baskets from “Sharing Traditions” at Yosemite National Park

I limited my basket photographs in my last post to baskets made by the three main demonstrators at Yosemite in the last 80 years, Maggie Howard, Lucy Telles, and Julia Parker. There were other baskets at well, rooms of them. Enjoy!

Carrie Bethel was Mono Lake Paiute, and these baskets were made in the 1930s and 1940s.

Tina Charlie, Mono Lake Paiute, also made these baskets in the 1930s and 1940s.

Nellie Charlie, Mono Lake Paiute, made these beaded baskets in the 1920s and 1930s.

Jennie Washington was Southern Miwok/Chukchansi, and made these baskets prior to 1940.

Alice Wilson made these baskets in the 1920s. The basket is well-known because a photograph of her infant son inside the basket was sold in Yosemite as a postcard.

Finally, here is some work by unknown artists, various tribes.

“Sharing Traditions” exhibit at Yosemite National Park

“Sharing Traditions” tells the story of 80 years of basket making in Yosemite National Park. I was fortunate enough to see this exhibit in the summer of 2012, and took pictures to share. Yosemite National Park has an 80-year tradition of basket-weaving demonstrations, and this exhibit celebrates that legacy and the three primary basket-makers – only three! – who demonstrated all those years. From the website: “Sharing Traditions depicts the history of weaving demonstrators in the park from 1929 to the present, examining their critical role as American Indian liaisons to the public and giving visitors the opportunity to connect to the region’s culture,” said Don Neubacher, Superintendent of Yosemite National Park.

Maggie Howard was the first of the three women. She was a Paiute born at Mono Lake, spending most of her life in Yosemite. She worked at the Yosemite Museum from 1929 to 1942, demonstrating acorn preparation and basket weaving. The University of California online digital archives includes one picture of Maggie preparing acorns, with baskets around her (presumably some, at least, are hers).

YosemiteNative1 posted the video below on YouTube, entitled “Bread from Acorns” by Guy T. Haselton, featuring Maggie Tabooosee Howard. Its copyright date is hard to decipher.

Lucy Telles was Mono Lake Paiute and Yosemite Miwok. She was the second artist, and demonstrated from about 1930 to 1956, and is perhaps best known for making the largest basket in Yosemite Valley. At 36″ wide, made of sedge root, bracken fern root, redbud, and willow, the basket was completed in 1933 after four years of work. It was exhibited at the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco in 1939, and is now on display at the Yosemite Museum. Postcards of Telles and her basket were sold at Yosemite, and ranger-naturalists brought tourists to her house to see it. For scale, see this picture of Telles and her basket (perhaps the one sold to tourists?), also at the University of California online digital archives. Less impressive because you can’t see the scale is my picture of the basket below. The workmanship is immaculate, and those who does any sort of structural craft knows that these kinds of things are not easily scalable to large size – there are structural difficulties in making something this large.

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Lucy Telles (1933), 36″ wide

Julia Parker, the current basket maker, is now about 87, and has been demonstrating at Yosemite the longest of the three, since 1960. She is Coast Miwok and Kashaya Pomo. Julia married Lucy Telles’ grandson, and shortly after their marriage, moved to Yosemite Valley and began learning from Lucy. SFGate published a story about Julia in June 2013, if you’d like to learn more of her story, and see some pictures of her.

She was there when I visited, and I was a bit starstruck. I’m sure I could have taken a picture of her, but I felt intrusive doing so. Julia was weaving a basket, but when children came by, she stopped what she was doing, and taught them how to play essentially a dice game with acorns, if I remember correctly. From the June 13, 2013 Mariposa Gazette, “When visitors leave I want them to have a better understanding about the baskets and about the plants we have in Yosemite,” she said. “Then they’ll have more caring and more love for the Valley that has protected these plants for us.”

The exhibit was just recently installed before I visited, and appears to have no end date. If you are ever in the matchless Yosemite National Park, please stop at the Yosemite Museum and enjoy the baskets. And perhaps you too will be able to see Julia Parker.

Swirl beaded basket

Pretty thing, isn’t it? Last summer, when I took a class from Diane Fitzgerald, she gave us these instructions that are in the April/May Beadwork magazine. This is the piece that I made at that time; I knew they were going to be in Beadwork, so I waited to post this. The beads are Italian, and with a subtle dotted stripe of solid and transparent beads, in addition to the bright colors. The colors were inspired by a Marimekko chair. Top view:

I took the picture on a light table, with a tent, which is how the solid/clear is more easily visible.

The shape is firmed up with acrylic floor finish. I couldn’t find the recommended Pledge with Future, so this is another brand, made by a floor manufacturer. It’s really quite interesting — it is still flexible, but it definitely holds this shape (it didn’t before I dipped it). This is the first time I’ve stiffened up beadwork with anything other than lots of thread with beeswax. I’ll do it again!