Bridging Arts

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Native American beading at the University of Minnesota

A unexpected and thoughtful present from Therese - a  bag which folds into a case like a portable umbrella holder. Already need it to hold the things that won't fit in my suitcase.... Then we set off for the University of Minnesota.

Therese has had the inspired idea of pursuing the embroidery trail at the Goldstein Museum of Design. A selection of wonderful native American buckskin beaded bags.

Photos courtesy of Goldstein Museum of Design, University of Minnesota

Chippewa beadwork.
Originally, Native American beads were carved from natural materials like shells or coral, wood, amber - or stones like turquoise. Copper and silver were used animal bones, horns, and teeth. Glass beads only started to be used after traders brought them from Europe.

Beading on velvet. Small, drawstring bags.

The silver beaded bag above is apparently the oldest piece. But the curator says these are very tricky to date.A swatch of beading for a cushion cover.

And its reverse.

Later we have lunch at a huge Vietnamese restaurant with Therese's mother-in-law, Ann Hage, who is pleased to see the snow thawing so fast. It is drizzling steadily.
(On the menu - fresh spring rolls - which I remember vividly from my last visit nine years ago.) Ann brings along a magazine with an article about an exquisite wedding veil of Brussels lace that has been in her family for generations and has been worn by ten brides. She was a bridesmaid when her sister was married in Fergus Falls, northern Minnesota, wearing the veil. 
A photo from the magazine of one of the ten with her mother, in the 20s.