Monday, December 14, 2009

Gifts that keep on giving...

my friend Rhonda gave me a subscription to American Indian Art Magazine for xmas, so very nice of her! I had some time remaining on my subscription so they just added it on and I will continue to receive for another 2 years....its a very nice magazine: comes out 4 times a year, printed on thick glossy paper, and the ads are every bit as fun as the actual articles! I have even ordered several gallery catalogs that were advertised.

I asked our university library to carry a subscription of this magazine and will ask students to read articles and use as a source for research papers in the future. It is not a well indexed publication however, a fact which can be frustrating for researchers...however the University of Oklahoma's Western history library has older issues and the indexes so I am able to xerox things when I go home from time to time

The latest issue has an article on Cree dolls and as usual Sherwoods gallery has a big ad, this one featuring several Cree dolls. This will make for fun reading over the holiday break!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I promised myself not to do any craftwork this fall since I have academic work demanding my attention (high enrollments mean lots of papers to grade and I seriously need to work on my manuscript and some articles) but I am so hungry for craft time! I don't even spend time with bead catalogs or my new quill books...but I did briefly look thru the new Dover edition of Kiowa 5 paintings that arrived in the mail a few days ago, lovely. I thought I might do some work over Thanksgiving or perhaps make a Christmas gift or 2, but no. The semester ends soon and while I plan to work on my articles I will find some time to get back to Beckie's doll...I picked up some new beads ( a lovely shade of blue and some pearl whites in 13/0) for it at Lyon's Indian Store in Tulsa when I went home for the Plains Anthropology conference in October. Hard to believe that this time last year I was busy working on my first cradleboard and I had hoped to start another one this winter but that will have to wait. But the holiday break is nearly here.....

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I still laugh inside when I see those plastic naked Indian dolls at Hobby Lobby, waiting for the crochet dresses to be made...2 sisters had a table of those crochet dolls at the craft fair and I wondered who finds them attractive? I am anxious to get back to Beckie's doll but still decompressing from the marathon sessions of making "sellable" merchandise (which in the end didn't sell and didn't even represent something of real creative expression in my mind but they were still fun to make and were good practice of my skills). Have been thinking more about this new doll and how she will ultimately look so its almost time to get back to that project even while I start to explore quill work which has me very excited!
I realized I have a sack full of white quills so I'll start practicing; if it goes ok I'll be encouraged to try it for real...figure it must be hard or people would still be doing it. Can beadwork be that much easier or was it just the "new" fad that caught on until the older art forms fell away? The more I look into this the more examples I am finding so maybe I just didn't see it clearly before...I'm excited to learn a new art form and all that it offers

Saturday, September 26, 2009


now that the craft fair is over I can turn my attention to other projects that had been put on hold...I need to decorate the handle of a turkey wing fan that a friend made for me and also get back to Beckie's doll (she has been very patient with me!)...Ray & I swap out regularly: he made my fan and in return I'll decorate the handle of his fan; he restrung my old Naja necklace for me with some 1930's silver beads I got on ebay and also strung a new Naja necklace with some really nice Sleeping Beauty Mine turquoise beads that I purchased. Now he has asked me to decorate his pipe stem (he has been carving a block of catlinite for nearly a year but is almost done). I'm honored to do this but a bit nervous as it must be done I think I will try to learn quill work and then hopefully wrap it with strips of plaited quills. Have been looking at photos of pipes both old and new to get a better sense of how they should look; also received the new catalog from Sherwoods (an expensive gallery in New Mexico): 19th Century Native American Pipe Stem and Bowl Collection with material from Ron McCoy who regularly contributes to American Indian Art Magazine. The information is nice and the photos are amazing, but almost all the attention is devoted to the bowls and the bags and less to stems. I ordered some craft books that explain quill work techniques; the illustrations seem to make sense so I think with some practice and patience I will be able to do it...nothing fancy, but quill wrapping will be more appropriate (and traditional). Eventually I'll bead some hawk feather quills and add ermine tails as well as brass and glass crow beads so it should look pretty good when its all done. I'm really hoping that old dogs can learn new tricks!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Craft Fairs...

maybe organizing craft fairs isn't for me....or maybe it would be nice to have some help. I started planning an on-campus event last spring with the Student Life office support. I sent out emails over the summer and spread flyers around campus with little response...eventually there were nibbles and things looked better. Then the university assessed us a $300 fee (later negotiated down to $150)...hmm, I almost canceled out of annoyance but we moved ahead. We did little advertising assuming an event with tents & balloons on central campus would naturally draw attention, but then the weather turned rainy and we moved inside; sadly this drew less attention and even fewer shoppers. All the participants had set up nice tables and there was a good variety of jewelry, oil paintings, garden gnomes, knitted scarves, greeting cards and even home made dog treats; we did our best and sold a few things. Several students approached me and said they hope to particpate next time. I made a list of comments, suggestions and new ideas...but not sure I want to try this again. Still it was an interesting experiment...

Friday, August 14, 2009

always more to do...

have so many projects that need my time & attention...a friend made me a turkey wing fan but I want to add a rosette to the handle; the hide for my moccasins sits, patiently waiting while I work on a doll for a friend; but I just promised to make something for another friend; and then someone asked me to do their pipestem (wish I knew how to do quillwork) so I've been trying to learn more about those...saw some that were decorated with brass tacks which I really like. Think I'll have one section with bead wrapping and I also need to bead on his feathers' quills. Plus I am organizing a fall arts & crafts fair (something I have never done before) so I guess I need to shift gears a bit and start piling up my own items such as pouches with rosettes, pens with peyote stitch, maybe some lanyards, and doll xmas ornaments. Anything that doesn't sell is likely to become xmas stocking stuffers!! With so much to do I think I'll need to order more beads...I love it when a bead order arrives on my doorstep.

Friday, July 31, 2009


for some time now I've been trying to find a horse pattern...would like to make leather horses and then decorate with masks etc (see the wonderful book American Indian Horse Masks, well worth the $65 purchase price!). Got a pattern to make small plush horses; fortunately its easy since I don't really some fleece fabric and this amazingly soft yarn made from bamboo. Here's my 1st attempt...its so soft. I gave it to Jameson but his mom won't let him have it (says he will slobber all over it...I say slobber away kid). I will try to adjust the pattern into more of my dolls' size and then make with split suede, decorated with beaded martindale etc. I may finally be close to what I want to do!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer craft work

finally started a new project, a doll for a graduation gift...trying some new things this time around but will need to readjust my patterns (wish I had thought of that before I beaded the moccasin parts). Took a long time to get started, am distracted with other life activities such as yard work but several rain days have kept me inside and at the craft table. Needed to clear some space so I finished up a bola (another graduation gift), did some rosette work and organized my supplies a bit. Its nice (but a bit daunting) to start a new doll; this one will have a fully beaded dress which is new for me...still thinking about designs while I work on the borders and am consulting books more than usual, especially Susan Jennys' 19th Century Plains Indian Dresses. Here's a partial view of the back yoke (done in 13/0 beads). I'll try not to get distracted with other projects, this one will be time consuming enough for now!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Next project?

so many projects to do...which ones to start and which ones to finish? the list includes a doll for Beckie's graduation gift (think I have finally settled on a plan there), new moccasins (just bought the hide so its only a matter of cutting & beading & sewing...isn't it always?), finish that bola for Jethro (rosette is done, just need the hardware), think about another cradle (before I forget all the lessons I learned on the last one), try a beaded ball (splurged and bought a pile of pony beads), but now I've been lured by the siren song of blanket strips....oh how lovely they are!!

Friday, May 8, 2009


Horray!! I finally finished my first full sized cradle...and now that I've had some practice may start another one; no deadline or intended recipient, just for more practice and enjoyment. I feel free to goof around for working on rosettes for the time being but soon it will be time for a new doll and I have some ideas.

Monday, March 16, 2009

More baby projects!

the baby is here and the cradle is nearly done, just a bit more to do and soon it will be on its way back to Oklahoma in time for Little pony sponsored dances...better hurry or he will have outgrown it before he even gets inside!

My next project will be a beaded baby bonnet, hopefully similar to ones done up north in late 1880s. I've been finding some photos on the internet and am feeling inspired. Got my pattern and some liner material, need to order beads and get started just as soon as I finish this cradle!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Rhonda's cradle

baby time is fast approaching! Grandpa made a beautiful wood frame and with successful hunting has some elk teeth to add to the other dangling bits (brass thimbles, brass shoe buttons, special beads given to us by our wonderful friend Marjy etc). I'm still working on my part of the project but am making some progress! With my lack of sewing knowledge/skill I've used a local seamstress to help with the canvas; previously she was busy and it took awhile to get things done but now business has slacked so she will have time to do a few more bits for me. Saw some really fun liner material (flannel Sesame Street print) but am still looking for a cooler calico...summers in Oklahoma don't favor flannel, even when its super cute. Lots more work to do but the baby is coming soon so I'll have to really get going pdq!!