Double spiral with swap beads

Towards the end of last year, I participated in a swap on All About Beads. I haven’t participated in a materials swap for a while as most specify no seed beads — and that’s really what I like best. This one was a spiral swap, and I sent out some blue, tan, and cream beads. From Marilee, I got some great earth tones:


I wanted to bring out the coral lining in the beads on the left, and make the green cast stronger, so I added those two beads. When I added those two, the triangles didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. I removed them, and added a light colored size 8 core bead.


Marilee sent a lot of beads, so I’m making a double spiral necklace, probably about 16-18″ long. (The colors are truer in this second picture. I’m going to get better at this!)

Ancient Traders Gallery

Ancient Traders Gallery is in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis, an area with a significant Native American population. It’s nearby, but I was unaware of the gallery until I read an article in the local paper about the current show, Generations, Legacy, and Tradition. There were carvings (pipestone, horn, alabaster), paintings, quilting — and beadwork. I have a beautiful glossy brochure — you can see a pdf of it on the website, under current art exhibit -> opening event flier (I can’t get it to link, sorry – and the show is until February 23rd, so the document will probably be removed after that).

My favorite quilter was Vi Colombe (Modoc); her bio from the gallery includes that she received a 2006 Bush Artist’s Fellowship, has a degree in fashion, and has been a wardrobe coordinator for a national rodeo finals competiton. Great color combos, interesting and pleasing modifications of classic quilt patterns.

Dwayne Wilcox (Oglala Lakota) had some great ledger drawings, and is also a Bush Foundation Fellow. Great sense of dark ironic humor. One painting is called “Cheese with that Whine,” and depicts an Indian in regalia, holding a piece of paper saying “broken treaties,” and being served government cheese and port by butlers, image of it here.

There were 3 beaders whom I particularly liked. I picked up a card with a picture of a turtle medallion done by Doug Limon (Ojibwe/Oneida). The center of each medallion is a turtle, and the center of the turtle is various metal objects such as buffalo head nickles. They were well-displayed in eye-catching groups; I think smaller things can be more effectively displayed this way.

Karen Beaver (Yupik/Mandan/Hidatsa) was another great bead artist. She had a shadow box about Jim Thorpe that I particularly liked. On a medallion was a very realistic beaded image of Thorpe, also two medallions that looked like gold medals, ink drawings, a quote saying that he was the greatest athlete ever (from the King of Sweden, I think?), and more. Late last year, I saw other pieces of hers at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis.

Todd Bordeaux (Sicangu Lakota) and his story sticks! He’s continuing to keep a family 7-generation winter count on them. There was one in the gallery, it’s not the one on this website, but similar. The pictographs are amazing. I couldn’t walk all the way around the piece though, I wish I could. (Actually, I wish I could pick it up, but that wasn’t happening either!) He also beaded (and put an animal head on) Pez dispensers. The title was “Reservation Diabetes Dispensers.”

Here are some other images of the pieces in the gallery. If you are so inclined, take a browse!

Then I went to gift shop/trading post next door. A gentleman came in with a great carved walking stick with a horn handle with metal inlay while I was there, and also pulled out some pipestone carvings that he’d made. Negotiations commenced. There was beadwork there, both for sale and old pieces on exhibit. And, well, I bought beads….

A great way to spend a couple of hours!

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog! I’m a seed beader, interested in the visual arts in general — I will be writing some about what I do, and some about what I see and learn. I have a website, if you’d like to see a few examples of my work that I’ve done since 2002. I completely redid my website about a week ago, and that seemed a perfect time to start a blog as well.

I made a coworker very happy today. She had admired a pair of my earrings, and she commissioned me to make a pair for her. I designed these, and my instructions were in the December 2007 Bead & Button. She chose the color of the Swarovski open square that she wanted, and then chose the Delica from the colors I brought in for her to see. This is how I brought them to work today:


I temporarily put gold findings on one, and silver on the other. I agreed with her that gold was better, and finished them at lunch. She wore them the rest of the day….

(In case you’re curious, that’s DB604 – perfect match to Sahara Swarovski. And, to those of you who have mastered photographing Swarovski, you continue to have my respect!)

Thanks for coming!