Saturday, January 2, 2010

'Tis the Season

winter is a good time for craft stuck inside and my living room gets good light early in the morning. Last spring I started a doll for a friend who graduated from college but it didn't get done in time...and then summer came with other activities (refinished my deck and some old furniture) and then fall with lots to do at work. Over the Xmas break I decided to do some work on the doll and am almost done with the back of the dress. This is the 1st time I've made a fully beaded doll dress (usually its just the yoke and some spot beading on the lower parts) and my 1st project to all be done in lane stitch which I wasn't very familiar with. After a rough start I seem to be in the groove more but its hard to plan a design; my beads are inconsistent in size (despite all being 13/0) and nothing looks quite right. The back has been essentially a learning area: helping me to become familiar with this stitch and seeing what color combinations work together. I will have a more organized design theme for the front but am not yet decided. Beckie told me her favorite color is blue so it has several shades of blues worked into it as well as white, red and pale green. Its a tad bit busy for my taste so far (but not excessively so) and after replacing a middle section some of the color riots have calmed down.

Am looking forward to getting some jewelry items made by a very gifted Caddo/Kiowa artist back home; she does German silver work (including lovely Caddo combs) so I asked if she could make some small gorgets for a male doll and perhaps some armbands. She says she has made jewelry for her kids' Barbie dolls so this is great! Usually I find some charms at Hobby Lobby or improvise with metal & shell buttons; its gets the idea across but they are just not quite right. I look forward to her additions but feel badly imposing upon her time as she too has lots of craft projects piled up. She makes great feather fans and is getting ready to make a new dress for her wonderful to see all the young Caddo ladies dancing in their regalia, good to keep the culture going into the future!!

For Xmas I received a nice book: Native American Beadwork by a German hobbiest Georg Barth. It has very helpful instructions and illustrations on a variety of techniques and I think we all agree that European hobby types do some amazingly good work. Curiously they are super concerned about accuracy in "authenticity" including materials etc, but I laughed as I read portions of the book...the author dismissed the use of frames (except small embroidery hoops for doing rosettes) since they are not traditional. I like to use Q-Snap embroidery frames as they keep the material straight and my beadwork neat & tidy. I suppose electric lights and sewing machines aren't traditional either but I sure they are greatly appreciated by many women today! Those hobbiests are so concerned with correctness but I wonder if they are missing out on the spirit of the work? I make my things with love and friendship; I try my best; and I know they will be enjoyed by the recipients...that, to me, seems more important that the distinct details of accuracy in materials and technique. I'm sure many women in the past innovated or "made do" when needed; probably most cut corners when they thought they could get away with I'll keep using frames when needed to improve upon the quality of my work. It will never be perfect and I'll never be recognized as a "master craftsman" but I'll do my best and keep making gifts for friends.