Monday, June 6, 2016


I am taking a very short break from my epic horse gear project,  to make a few "Instant Gratification" projects.   Yesterday,  I made these earrings as a gift for a Crow friend of mine.  

They are based on Crow Hair Bows - which were a hair ornament worn by Crows and a few other surrounding tribes.  They denoted one had slit someones throat in battle,  and were not simply worn as a fashion statement in the day.  They had to be earned.  

These were made using old style smooth shell dentillium shells.   Sewn on ochre stained brain tan,  and mounted on buffalo rawhide.   The are beaded with charlotte cut beads and 24 k. gold beads,  antique trade beads, and finished with ochre stained ermine skins and very small trade bells.  The ear wires are gold vermeil.  

I might make a few more pairs of these,  along with some other small items and put them up for sale if there is interest.   So often my work takes many hundreds of hours and ends up being rather costly.  So I will offer some things in a far more economical range in a week or two.  

Stay Tuned :-)   Angela 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


 I recently completed two more items for the set of Plateau horse gear I have been commissioned to make.   These will hang on either side of the horse,  on the back of the saddle.

The images are of traditional root harvesters,  and the background designs are from Plateau baskets.   These are in keeping with the environmental theme of the project,  this being the effects of development,  overgrazing,  and climatic change is having on traditional food sources here.  

The technique is a simple one,  of scraping off the top dermal layer of the buffalo rawhide to reveal the white later below.  But the difficult part is,  getting the rawhide with the dermal layer and done correctly.  Its hard to do and takes good timing, as one must slip the hair off the rawhide,  but not allow the top layer of skin to sluff off.  

A historic example.  They are very rare now.  

Another of this style I made a few years back.   This one using geometric designs based on painted examples.   The pictorial style I am doing is a entirely new style I am trying.  I don't know of any historic examples,  save a few rudimentary horses done on a sun visor.    


Thursday, April 7, 2016


I just finished the 2nd piece of what will be a entire new set of Plateau horse gear.  

I made this bridle using the "Quill Wrapped Horse Hair" technique,  which was a fairly rare type of quillwork in the 19th century,  and eventually fell by the wayside until it was revived perhaps 30 years ago.   I have seen it used mostly for war shirt strips,  moccasin keyhole designs and on a few blanket strips.   But I have not seen it used on a bridle before.   So this is more of a creative license exercise on my part than it is a real,  historic item.  

This was made using natural dyed porcupine quills,  sinew sewn on brain tan moose hide and trimmed off using antique Italian seed beads,  also sinew sewn.  The feather forehead ornament is pheasant tail feathers with ermine spots and red dyed chicken feathers.   The reins are twisted horse hair.  

My model Cappy was not his usual happy self in these photos….showing what I like to term his "Appytude"!  Everyone has a bad day I guess :-)  In these photos,  I did not use the bit pictured below because the size and weight of it.   But this bridle will be displayed with a traditional ring bit. 

The bit is a hand forged antique bit,  which I made and added the chain ornaments often seen used on bits like this.   

6 more pieces to do!  Must keep the hammer down.  More to post I hope soon.  


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"Celilo Falls" - Plateau Horse Collar.

This is first of 8 pieces I have been commissioned to make for a set of horse gear,  that will narrate the many issues that tribes along the Columbia river face.   I was born and raised along the river,  so this is a subject near and dear to me.   

Celilo Falls was most productive fishery in North America,  and probably the world.   Tribes gathered to fish both the spring salmon runs as well as the fall runs for tens of thousands of years.  The falls were also a giant gathering spot for tribes from as far away as Northern Canada all the way to California,  and as far west as the Great Plains.   The Dalles and Celilo Falls were the cultural and economic crossroads of the Western US.  Ancient trade goods were exchanged and cultures shared.   

The falls were flooded in 1957,  when the Army Corps of Engineers built the Dalles hydroelectric dam.  It brought great changes to the Columbia basin.  The inland empire was electrified with cheap and plentiful power,  but at a great cost to the fisheries and the tribes when the backwaters drowned the falls.   It was a knife to the heart of the people who fished the falls,  and there are still people alive today who fished the falls and remember them in their glory.    This is a clip showing the power of the falls and the Native people fishing them

And a video of the first feast ceremony and dances that celebrate the return of the salmon

I wanted this collar to represent the dam.   The front chest piece of the collar actually represents the face of the dam.   It was discovered a few years ago,  that what was initially thought to be a giant obstruction  at the base of the dam,  was in fact 40,000 schooling sturgeon.  It is unknown why they are doing this.

My horse "Cappy" wearing the collar.  

A closeup of the main panel.   This is all beaded in antique Italian seed beads ( mostly 13/0 ),  and some metallic beads on brain tanned moose hide.   I also incorporated Uranium Glass seed beads in the design.   When this is backlighted,  those beads will glow.  This represents the nuclear pollution that is leaking into the Columbia river,  from the Handford Nuclear Reservation and of which traces of the pollution can be found in the fish.     I used a contour beaded background on the chest panel to represent the swirling waters in the river.  

The sides of the collar ( straps ) represent the fish ladders the salmon must negotiate to spawn.   As they swim up the river, they change colors from silver bright to a very deep red color.  

This fish is midway in his spawning journey,  and is starting to change color and get red and orange.

This would represent a salmon as it is in full spawning colors.   They lay their eggs and then die.  And the smolt that hatch in the spring,  with the snow runoff raising the water level and swiftness of the river,  swim all the way down the river ( hundreds of miles ) to the Pacific ocean,  where they live out their lives and grow for four years before they return to spawn.    

This is Cappy's buddy "Little Joe" deciding he wanted to model the collar too!  Although he needs to grow a little :-) 


Monday, December 28, 2015

New work - "In the works"

It has been a very busy year for me,  although not all of it has been about making new beadwork.   I wrote a book,  I did some lectures,  I curated a museum exhibit,  and I restored several different art museums holdings,  including some very important Tlingit material that will be going on exhibit starting 2017.  Had some great interest in my art glass as well.  But  finally,  I am back to work doing beadwork again.  

 I just finished this pistol holder today for a friend.   Glad that is off my "To Do" list,  and I can get down to what will take up my next 5 or 6 months ahead.  

I have been commissioned by a major museum to make a entire set of Plateau style horse gear for permanent display.   I am honored and excited to have this opportunity.  Especially since the narrative will be my own.   And what I am focusing on is the stories about the peoples along the Columbia River where I was born and raised.   A unique place where horse culture meets maritime culture and the riches of the Pacific ocean.    

The first piece I am making is a horse collar.  The narrative actually has to do with the importance of salmon and sturgeon to the peoples of the river.   This piece tells the story of the Dalles Damn,  once it was built,  buried one of the biggest and most important fisheries in the world…Celilo Falls.   A gathering place from time immortal for the tribes to fish,  trade goods and exchange culture.    Once I get this collar finished,  I will post more about the narrative of what I want it to say.   

This was a paper mock up of the collar I did,  and of course the ever patient and willing Cappy the Appy modeling it for me.   He will be busy this spring earning his keep in photos.   

Lots more to come.  


Sunday, November 8, 2015

MAKING BEAUTY - Clark County Historical Museum Exhibit.

The 'Making Beauty" exhibit is now up and running until 2017 at the Clark County Historical Museum  in Vancouver, Washington.  It was a real honor to co- curate this exhibit with Steve Grafe Phd,  who is also curator at the Maryhill Museum of art.   This was a entirely new manifestation for me working in this capacity, and I could not have done it without Steve's expert help.  

The photos are some panoramas of the exhibit ( Kindly provided by Steve Grafe ).   Some never before seen and displayed historical work,  as well as contemporary beadwork from such notable artists as Jackie Larson Bread ( Blackfeet ),  Charlene Holy Bear ( Lakota ),  Robert Taylor ( Nez Perce' ),  Molly Murphy Adams ( Lakota ),  Miles Miller ( Yakima ),  and yours truly.  

My "War on Terrorism" war trophy necklace ( Hot offhand sculpted glass fingers,  antique seed beads, hide,  arrow heads ) which addresses the subject of "who are the terrorists",  especially a century after the conflicts are over.   120 years ago,  Natives here were subject to the War on Terrorism.  Time has changed some of those perceptions of historical events.

And of course,  my "Gucci" moccasins.   Made from Gucci leather and 24K. gold beads and cones.  

Please come by to see the exhibit if you are in the area.  


Thursday, October 15, 2015

MAKING BEAUTY - Native Beadwork of Native North America

Its been a very busy year for me with restoring several museum collections,  working on a few books,   and many of those activities have taken me away from actually doing what I love,  which is making art.   Finally that is changing and I will be active again with new artworks, including a major commission which I will start posting the progress of soon.

One of the many activities I have been involved in is curating a museum show which will be opening November 5th,  at the Clark County Historical Museum, Vancouver, Washtington.    I am very honored to co-curate this show with Steve Grafe Phd,  who is the curator of Maryhill Museum of Art and a noted scholar on Plateau Indian Beadwork.   The show will feature never before displayed beadwork from the Clark County Historical Museum Collection,  as well as some generous loans of beadwork from some very prestigious private collections.   The show will be up until 2017.   Here is the link to the exhibit  A publication for the show is also in the works.

We also will feature contemporary beadwork as well,  because we feel that Native art is a continuing narrative.   Notables like Rhonda Holy Bear,  Charlene Holy Bear,  Jackie Larson Bread,  Molly Adams,  Miles Miller and humbly,  myself,  will have our work on display.   And there will be planned activities thru out the two year run featuring the local Native community.

One of the pieces I made which will be in the show is my spin on the current trend of beadwork artists beading high end designer shoes.   I instead made very traditionally constructed moccasins,  using designer materials.   I call them "If Gucci was a straight dancer from Oklahoma".    Who knows….maybe he would have made something like this.

"If Gucci was a straight dancer from Oklahoma" - Imported Italian calf skin,  24k gold beads,  gold plated cones,  hand tanned rawhide soles.

Please come by to view the exhibit if you find yourself in in the area.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

A BEADING HEART - The Bob and Lora Sandroni Collection

I wanted to announce the release of "A Beading Heart" - The Bob and Lora Sandroni Collection of Historic Native Beadwork.  I was asked by High Noon Western Americana to contribute, and I wrote the  chapter on Bead and Quill work as well as contributed in other areas of this book.  

 It is a large format book,  with 227 pages packed with hundreds of photos of historic Northern Plains and Plateau beadwork.  Much of it never before published.   Those who buy books for the photos will not be disappointed.

The book is a great addition for your beadwork library ( No bias here…Not a all :-)  Here is the link for purchase from High Noon


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New Works - Quilled War Shirt and beaded pipe bag.

 I finally finished the quilled shirt I was commissioned to make late last summer.  For those who have never made one….they really are a labor of love at times.   Over 300 hours,  not including material preparation time!

This shirt is a copy of a shirt I previously made.  Some differences though as I don't like making repeats.  

This shirt took a total of 5 deer hides to make.  It is sinew sewn and sinew sewn natural dyed quills.  I used several quilling techniques on it.  

And,  I love when museums purchase your work,  because they do such awesome photos!  

This bag is now in the permanent collection of the Portland Art Museum.  Gives me pride I must say :-)  

And…onto new works.  I am really hoping this year to make some vibrant new works that have been in my brain waiting to come out.   Stay tuned.  


Saturday, March 21, 2015


I am very honored to announce a few of my works have been recently picked up by two highly  respected art museums.  

After my glass show last year ended at the Maryhill Museum of Art,  they purchased this Elk Effigy Glass Ladle for their permenant collection.  

Since the museum has both a historic art glass collection as well as a Native art collection,  they felt this ladle was a perfect piece to bridge and tie those collections together.  I appreciate they have this vision.  

I am also very happy to announce that Portland Art Museum has just acquired my "Eagle Bundle" for their permanent collection as well.  They felt this piece was important to give a illustration of what sacred bundles encompassed,  without actually making a "real" one or displaying sacred material that should not be for the public eye ( or ownership outside of the tribes ).  This was exactly the idea I had when I started making this glass work.  A way to portray a important narrative without crossing that line and making "real" items or showing items or things that should not be for public view.   It is a tricky road to respect traditions and navigate the art world at times.   

 And lastly,  also acquired by the Portland Art Museum - A pipe bag I originally made for a friend but ended up purchased by the museum.   I am happy it also found a place in such a respected institution.

Things seem to be happening.   Stay tuned as I am sure there is much more to come.  


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Catching up!

Boy,  its been a while since I have updated my blog.  Been very busy working on some great projects that I figured it was time for a update.

Firstly,  I wanted to announce a couple of new works on the literary front.   My work and my horse Cappy have been featured in this new publication ( Horse Nations ) just now being released by Oxford University Press   And….I also have been co writing a book on a beadwork collection that is just now headed to print and I will have more to post about this in the next month or so.

I have also been busy with several museum projects and also have been doing some lectures about the effects of artifakes and Hobbyism and the future of art collecting and integrity of collections.   I had a great lecture in November at the Portland Art Museum,  to packed house,  and my next lecture will be on April 23rd, 2015 at the Denver Art Museum. I am finding great reception to what I have to say about this often contentious subject.

And of course I continue to do my artwork and restoration work.  I had a successful show of my art glass that ended in late November at the Maryhill Museum of Art.   Quite a few of the glassworks featured in the show have now found happy homes with several respected art museums and collectors and I have to admit a little pride happening with that :-)

Lastly,  I should have new works to start posting again soon.   Here is a almost completed quilled shirt I have been working on this winter and with all intent I should be done with it in a week or two.   Ironically…it is a copy of a shirt I previously made.   When it is done I will do a more complete write up of it.

So…onward to more good work I hope and a great year.


Friday, September 26, 2014


I just completed this restoration of a ca. 1850's Plateau pony beaded dress.   The original dress appeared to have been very heavily water damaged.  And after that occurrence,  someone long ago then decided to cut off the bottom of the dress and also the ends of the sleeves.   So I had to rebuild the entire piece.  

 Originally this dress was made using Mt. Sheep hide.  They are next to impossible to procure these days due to a variety of factors.  So the museum I did this work for decided using deer hides on this reconstruction was warranted.

What I had to work with initially.  Heavily damaged, warped and missing beads.  

                                       Sleeve ends were cut off,  as were thongs below the yolk.

 The dress was also missing a lot of beads.   It was originally beaded using both sinew and spun Indian hemp or Dogbane.

Finished work.  I used old brass beads for the dangles.  This dress was sized for a youth or young teen girl.   It feels very satisfying to bring such heavily damaged work back to life.  Someone made this for another they greatly loved.  I hope they are happy with what I have done to save their work and brought honor and respect back to this dress.