I need to buy some new shoes soon; I'm not a shoe person in any way and run barefoot all summer, but classes will start soon and I'll have to put my hillbilly life away (insert sad frown here). So I began looking at Kohls and was a bit puzzled by the Converse moccasins (which seem only 1 step above the old Minnetonka fake looking moccasins). I see the college girls in moccs and I know they are a popular fashion accessory, but there have been some grumblings lately about turning indigenous culture into just another mass marketed commodity, ignoring the important traditions and ideas associated with native art forms.
But clearly culture crosses over boundaries and this leads me to the
amazing work of Kiowa bead artist Teri Greeves!! Much of her work is
done on canvas high tops, but others are more fashion type shoes;
all seem to feature pictorial, ledger style images.
I think there is a real difference between an artist reinterpreting a foreign object while working within an existing cultural paradigm, one creation at a time, and the mass production of objects without any attached cultural meanings. I am unlikely to buy the Converse moccs and even more unlikely to ever buy a pair of Teri's incredible shoes...and really unlikely to ever bead a pair of Converse myself, but there is a slight chance I will eventually get around to making myself a new pair of moccasins....
in the meantime I'll have to go shoe shopping...