New Fully Beaded Moccs in Progress

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New Fully Beaded Moccs in Progress

Lazy Stitch
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April 26th, 2018, 2:13 pm #1

Here is the first of a pair of Sioux-style fully beaded moccasins that I'm currently working on for a friend in New York.  These will match the yellow knife case that I posted here a few weeks ago.  They are done up on brain tanned deer in 12/0 and 13/0 Czech beads and 4/0 Italian beads.  The beaded cuffs at the heel area are a Cheyenne influence and bring a new meaning to "fully beaded."  More pics as they get closer to being completed.  I really like the yellow background.  It's not a commonly used color, but it always makes a statement.

Tim Update.JPG
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Quillsnkiko
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April 27th, 2018, 3:05 am #2

Beautiful...I love the yellow as well.

Will really make a statement dancing.
I love the design as well.

Thank you for posting ...Lazy Stitch. Quills
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Lazy Stitch
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April 27th, 2018, 4:42 am #3

Thanks, Quills.  It is quite a design, isn't it?  Here's a pic of today's progress, which shows the beginnings of the beadwork on the vamp.  The fellow I'm making these for also decided on a solid red lane to be added to the heel cuffs, so I'll have to retrofit the other side tomorrow.  I think it's a cleaner look without the red lane, but then, I'm not the person who is buying them! Tim Latest Update.JPG
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Quillsnkiko
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April 29th, 2018, 1:43 am #4

AH-haa..pre-punching the holes cool idea. Quills
" You can't stop the waves .... but, you can learn to surf."
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Beadman
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May 7th, 2018, 1:33 am #5

Really nice intricate detailed design.Love those geometric designs myself too.
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BillOregon
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May 8th, 2018, 12:40 pm #6

Beautiful workmanship!
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Robson Valley
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May 8th, 2018, 8:02 pm #7

+1 for the yellow field.  Are the designs and the repeating patterns of cultural significance?
These look so elaborate, makes me think they will be worn for dancing on the wild rice harvest.
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Lazy Stitch
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May 11th, 2018, 2:49 pm #8

Thanks to all for the kind comments.  Robson Valley - there isn't anything specifically significant about the designs except that the tipi design is pretty much diagnostic as Sioux.  This pair's design is  more elaborate than typical Sioux/Northern Plains designs and would likely be dated later in the so-called "seed bead" period.  I'd say 1890ish or later, when these sorts of more complicated designs came to dominate the genre.  The triangles on the cuffs are unusual and are something that the owner wanted.  The triangle motifs on the toe area are a pretty common device.  But yes, they are elaborate!  I have to constantly check my diagram so that I don't miss anything in the design.  I got the first lane done on the perimeter and then realized that I had left out two rows in the centers of the tipi designs, so the entire lane had to come out and get redone.  Arrgghh........
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Robson Valley
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May 11th, 2018, 4:06 pm #9

Thanks for pointing out the tipi as a Sioux diagnostic.  I suspected that there would be some sort of tag.
I inherited a box of old pill bottles filled with 20-30 colors of beads.  Mother said that she and my grandmother stripped them
off rotting leather native items, back in the 1930's or earlier.  Southern Saskatchewan, near the North Dakota border.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, there are 4 distinctively different styles of art and carvings.
Once you know what to look for, they are easily distinguished from each other and lame copies.
I use my own designs for eyes and feathers so you would see that the carvings are not First Nations.
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Lazy Stitch
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May 11th, 2018, 5:47 pm #10

Oh - those vials of beads salvaged from vintage pieces can really be the ticket.  I've gotten some very nice old colors that way.  Best find was some old fire-damaged Plateau beadwork from ca. 1900.  Wowser - what beads!  You are on  the mark in your comments about tribal and regional design and color characteristics.  That's always lesson #1 whenever I teach beadwork to beginners.  How do you tell Crow from Sioux from Cheyenne from Arapaho from Blackfoot from whatever else is out there?  There aren't that many "rules" (and some of those are pretty fuzzy sometimes), but there are definite tribal characteristics that are diagnostic.

Here is a pic of the first mocc, nearly completed.  It lacks only the last lanes above the small red lanes on the cuffs.  These will match the blue block lane at the top of where the "T" opening will be cut.  These moccs give a new definition to "fully beaded".... Yellow Moccs.JPG
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Robson Valley
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May 11th, 2018, 6:01 pm #11

I'd like to hold that moccasin in my hands (with my glasses on!)
There's a website devoted to all things Pow-Wow, across North America.  I don't keep a link,they send me emails.
Much of what I see is the fully beaded dance regalia but never quite close-up enough to study.

I've lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of my life.  First Nations art and carvings all around me.
Even this morning's coffee cup is a Running Raven/Tsimshian design!

I'd like to learn more about the plains arts.  Nobody appears to have deconstructed the museum collections
to describe the regional stylistic designs.  I can pick out Cree/Dene' and Athabascan bead work flowers,
Me'tis is a little different again.  That's about all.
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Quillsnkiko
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May 12th, 2018, 4:01 am #12

RV there is a Facebook Group called Prairie Material Studies....some of the most knowledgeable folks on there...white , Indian and other. Good place to learn more about Plains arts etc.

Quills
" You can't stop the waves .... but, you can learn to surf."
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Robson Valley
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May 12th, 2018, 4:35 pm #13

Thank you Quills.  In the meantime, abeBooks has 6,000,000 titles, even rare collectors items.
I did a word search and came up with a bunch of old titles that I might buy.

It's obvious that Mother mixed several shades of blue (for example) in the same pill bottle.
Some rainy day I should sit down with a bright light and sort them out.
I'm hoping to have a local Dene' beader make a sampler for me in return for the rest of the beads.

Everybody here should make a note of abeBooks.
I set a budget of $100.00, hoping to buy the Tropical Paintings volume of the great American, Winslow Homer.
Instead, I got my TOP THREE volumes of his works, delivered to my door, for a total of $90.00.
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Quillsnkiko
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May 12th, 2018, 8:07 pm #14

Yes I get books from them. Good place.  Sounds like a plan for your beads.

I should have mentioned that that site covers other areas of the country as well....Woodland and some coastal area things as well.I am amazed at the knowledge of the folks on that site. Quills
" You can't stop the waves .... but, you can learn to surf."
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Quillsnkiko
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May 12th, 2018, 8:10 pm #15

Sometimes folks post pictures on there and some Museum person comes back with the details of similar pieces in their collections. simply amazing at times. Or some Native American....watching the posts comes on with great feedback.  Quills
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Lazy Stitch
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May 14th, 2018, 7:40 pm #16

"I'd like to learn more about the plains arts.  Nobody appears to have deconstructed the museum collections to describe the regional stylistic designs."

 Quills, you mentioned the Facebook Group called Prairie Material Studies.  One of the movers and shakers there is a fellow North Carolinian named Billy Maxwell, who I've known for many years.  Billy is from the small town of Pink Hill, NC, and he is super knowledgeable about Plains culture and is a great guy. 

Robson Valley - Actually, you're in luck when it comes to Plains material culture.  It's pretty much been dissected and analyzed 12 ways until Sunday, and there are scads of easily obtained books that run the gamut (many of them available on Abe's.)  The majority of these are based on major museum collections and are accompanied by lavish illustrations.  Here is a brief bibliography that will get you started:

A Persistent Vision: Art of the Reservation Days, by Richard Conn.  This book profiles the L.D. and Ruth Bax collection of Plains and Intermontane culture and covers the period from roughly 1880-1940.  It was published by the Denver Art Museum, and Conn, a former curator at the DAM, was one of the great authorities on Plains culture.  This book covers Arapaho, Cheyenne, Lakota, Blackfeet, and Crow/Intermontane cultures.  There is also an excellent section that deals with regional influences and cultures.  If you don't get any other book, get this one.

Circles of the World: Traditional Art of the Plains Indians, published by the Denver Art Museum.  This is the catalog to a major traveling exhibition in 1982 and is based on the Denver Art Museum's Plains collection.  It is similar to A Persistent Vision, but with a more regional approach to material culture. 

Art of the American Indian Frontier: The Chandler-Pohrt Collection, by David W. Penney.  Milford Chandler and Richard Pohrt were extremely discerning collectors, and this collection is one of the most storied collections ever put together.  This catalog from the Detroit Institute of Art (360+ pages - beautifully illustrated and with extensive text), is one to get.  It covers a wide-ranging menu of regional and tribal arts of the Woodland, Great Lakes, Prairie, and Plans cultures.  The Plains section covers a variety of art forms from the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Lakota, Crow/Transmontane, Mandan, Blackfeet, Gros Ventre, and Metis.  There is much excellent information on the emergence of tribal styles and regional influences and the essays by Richard Pohrt, Milford Chandler, and George P. Horse Capture make this book a must-have if you want to learn about Plains culture. 

Memory and Vision:  Arts, Culture, and Lives of Plains Indian People, by Emma Hansen.  This is the book on the collection at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, which houses one of the best Plains collections.  This is another must-have.  All of the essay contributors are Plains Indian Scholars and tribal members.

Hau, Kola! - The Plains Indian Collection of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, by Barbara Hail.  This is another outstanding Plains collection, and this catalog runs the gamut.  It includes:

- A stylistic analysis of painting, quillwork, and beadwork
- Clothing: male, female, footwear, headgear, etc.  This includes excellent information on tribal and regional construction techniques.
- Painted skins
- Childhood items
- Horse trappings
- Pipes

It also includes information on major photographic archives of Plains material culture and other major Plains collections.

Beauty, Honor, and Tradition - The Legacy of Plains Indian Shirts, by Joseph D. Horse Capture and George P. Horse Capture.  This is THE book on Plains shirts that everybody needs on their book shelf.  No one should contemplate making a plains shirt without first reading this book.  Alas, most of them don't....

With Pride They Made These - Tribal Styles in Plains Indian Art, by Michael Logan and Douglas Schmittou.  This is a hard-to-find catalog from a 1995 Plains art exhibition put on by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  A great catalog if you can dog one down.

Crow Indian Beadwork - A Descriptive and Historical Study, by William Wildschut and John Ewers.  A classic on Crow material culture, published in 1959 by the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation (republished in1985).

The Technique of Porcupine Quill Decoration Among the Indians of North America, by William Orchard.  Published in 1971 by the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation. 

Quill and Beadwork of the Western Sioux, by Carrie Lyford.  Originally published in 1940 by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and republished in 1987.  This has long been a staple in the libraries of Plains beadworkers.

The American Indian - The American Flag, published by the Flint Institute of Arts.  This was a traveling exhibit ca. 1976-77 that covers an important but poorly understood aspect of Plains art.  The exhibition was put together by Richard Pohrt.  There is a similar catalog from 1993, authored by Toby Herbst and Joel Koppp and published by the New York Historical Society.  It covers the Eugene Thaw collection, which is one of the biggies. 

Costumes of the Plains Indians, by Clark Wissler.  Published in 1915, it is one of the earliest catalogs of Plains material culture.  A real classic.

Plains Indian Art - The Pioneering Work of John Ewers.  Ewers is one of the big hitters when it comes to Plains material culture.  This is one to get.

There are a zillion others out there, and some of the deeper tribally-specific stuff will take some digging, but these will get you started.
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Robson Valley
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May 15th, 2018, 2:15 am #17

Thank you.  Quite a bibliography to read.  I intend to buy a few.  I have several museum inventory texts of 700 pages or more.
Thousands of photographs of the collection and not a single word about the designs and their cultural values.
Mostly Plains art , bead work and carvings.  Nothing but "Pacific Northwest" as a label for what I recognize.
I want to be able to read the symbolism in the artifact s that I have.

Bill Holm and Hilary Stewart sorted a lot of the design restrictions.  Much more came with Jim Gilbert and Karin Clark.
Much of what you see on the plains was not crushed in the government-inspired cultural genocide up here.
Working in their tribal traditions, it's not hard to say where art and carvings were done on the PacNW coast. 
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Lazy Stitch
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May 15th, 2018, 3:27 am #18

Yeah - tons of good stuff out there.  I've found that looking at lots (lots......) of photos of vintage pieces is a big help when it comes to getting dialed in on tribal characteristics. 

Glad to hear that you know of Bill Holm.  He's pretty much The Man when it comes to Northwest Coast culture.

Conn's book will be a good source regarding tribal designs, colors, significance, etc.  Narrative military art, sacred vision art, warrior society art, and the like, speak for themselves and usually have strong tribal connections and diagnostic features.  Otherwise the cultural interpretation and value of more domestic designs can be a mixed lot.  Early pony bead and seed bead designs were blocky and linear and commonly copied the simple quillwork and painting motifs that preceded the arrival of beads.  The history of Plains beadwork is one of increasing design complexity, and one school that was put forward around 1870 by an early museum curator argues that many complex Plains geometric beadwork designs were inspired by household rugs that were popular in the late 19th century and whose popularity coincided with the height of the reservation and seed bead periods. Under that paradigm, many commonly used Plains motifs don't appear to have a lot of weight in terms of cultural significance.  Plains Indian beadworkers were already using simple geometric designs, and when they saw these more complex designs, they liked them and reproduced them. The same was done by Great Lakes and Woodland tribes, who often took inspiration for floral designs from white culture.

Others blow their noses at this school of thought, but the similarities between vintage rugs and vintage beadwork are quite striking.

Tribal designs were also influenced by bead availability and type.  Richard Conn notes that the arrival of Czech beads after World War I may have influenced designs in tribes such as the Crow.  Czech beads had a limited palette compared to the more commonly used Venetian seed beads, but their uniform sizing made them widely popular and may have influenced the Crow to switch from rectilinear designs to floral designs, which could be rendered with fewer colors and with higher quality.  This may be one reason why typical Crow rectilinear designs fell so much out of favor after about 1920.  At any rate, this is one way to date many vintage Crow pieces. 

There is much written about symbolism in Plains beadwork, and much of it is on the mark.  Lakota women's beaded dresses, for instance, often incorporate stylized turtle designs since turtles were associated with fertility.  Fully beaded dress capes are often said to represent reflections of the sky on water, hence the common use of blue as a background color.  Fully beaded Sioux vests are generally interpreted as representing a village scene, with the typical large tipi designs and a quite common device around the bottom of the vest representing a meat rack. 

Gender-based designs and colors are not terribly common (no blue and pink moccasins for babies - at least not in vintage collections), but certain items can be diagnostic.  You've got to know what you're looking at.  I've seen white beadworkers blithely incorporate elements used in women's clothing into men's clothing because they didn't know any better. 

It's true that any number of sources link specific plains design motifs with specific items:  tipis as mountains; u-shapes as horse tracks; double crosses as dragon flies; etc.  All well and good, but many (most?) motifs became so ubiquitous that it's hard to ascribe significance to them.  Most Sioux moccasins use very predictable tipi designs in very predictable colors in very predictable placements and proportions.  It's the same for Cheyenne.  Most Crow rectilinear beadwork is outlined in white, uses hourglass designs, and there is a lot of light blue and pink.  So for my money, it's less about the symbolism of a design than it's about how the designs and colors inform tribal identity.  The geometry of Arapaho tipi designs is different from Sioux tipi designs in diagnostically dependable ways.  The same is true of Cheyenne vs. Sioux.  It's also the beadwork technique - Cheyenne work from the turn of the 20th century exhibits a level of technical excellence that is diagnostic.  The same is true of Sioux work from the so-called "solid beaded era" of 1900-1920, when the Sioux fully beaded pretty much everything they could get their hands on.  Much of this driven by the tourist market, and some designs and items start to morph more toward secular use since there was no longer as much cultural connectivity.  This was particularly true for items that became dance items as powwow culture became established. 
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Robson Valley
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May 15th, 2018, 5:21 pm #19

Thanks.  Holm's volume: Northwest Coast Indian Art is dry as dust to read but thoroughly analytical.  
He uses descriptive terms which do have synonyms.

For example, you see a relief form line carving which fills an entire space, like the side of a box.
To some, it is "restricted" in that the body parts are cut off and moved around to find room for them.
To Bill Holm, this is "distributed" in that the figure is spread out to flow into all available space.

I did one, years ago.  A fish.  Did not have big enough wood and no appetite to do a glue-up.
So I cut off the head and the tail and moved them around until they fit!  Just that alone made it look PacNW.

The modern learning texts are "Learning By Designing" in 2 volumes by Jim Gilbert and Karin Clark.  In those, you can pick up the clear distinctions among the design styles of the Pacific Northwest.  Useful drawing lessons, the design elements have fairly strict form.
Then, read "Cedar" by Hilary Stewart.  Consummate pen& ink documentary illustrator, as well.  
Makes more sense of the PacNW totems and the multipurpose nature of the western red cedar.

I want to do 2 things:

1.  Search the Hudson's Bay Company archives to learn of their involvement with the bead trade.  That, I suspect, will be pre-1750.
HBC records are absolutely meticulous to satisfy the masters back in England.

2.  Read a select bunch of the ethnographies published in the 30 years after the Jessup North Pacific Expedition of 1897 - 1902.
Organized by Franz Boas, I find lots of references to his reports but no place to sit down and read those primary references.
I had a crazy idea that I could buy my way in but even a $3k budget would just get me started.  Wikipedia has a nice summary of the work.
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Quillsnkiko
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May 16th, 2018, 4:43 am #20

I have every single book Lazy Stitch Mentioned except the one on plains war shirts. And even more titles than those. There are so many really good books out there on Plains Indian crafts and artifacts of all persuasions.

Yep Billy Maxwell....hes even posted on Paleo Planet quite a bit a few years back.
Boas wrote a book Primitive Art....which has quite a few examples of Northwest Coast art in it. A whole section of the book has a long chapter, Art of the North Pacific Coast of North America in it.




Quills
" You can't stop the waves .... but, you can learn to surf."
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