Thursday, December 30, 2010


You are going to have to have a big attitude!  

Finally I have finished this hat.  I had beaded the image of the cowgirl riding the buffalo over a year ago, but was just not quite satisfied with the hat.  It felt uncompleted.  So I decided to finally finish it this week by beading the brim.  And a much bigger job than I had thought.  It measures five feet around.  All beaded in small cut beads.  But now I can say I am done.

Big Cowgirl hats were all the rage back in the 1910's with the Rodeo set.  These women are participating at the Pendleton Round Up, in my home state of Oregon.   We love our big hats there.  

And back in the day, the women competed head to head with the men in rodeo events including the rough stock contests like bronc riding, as well as bull dogging and roping.  One of the first places where women's rights and equality held its own, long before women were even given the right to vote.  

Long live Cowgirls !


Monday, December 6, 2010


This is a pair of Blackfoot Bonnet cases made as the old ones were for a Blackfoot friend of mine who is a bundle owner.  The Blackfeet made and still make these cases to hold their Medicine and Society bundles. The Blackfeet have a very strong tradition of Medicine bundles which is very much in use today.  While the actual rawhide containers house the sacred material and can be seen as a "secular" item, nobody including myself should ever replicate or "play" with the actual material they hold unless you have the rights to do so procured thru proper initiation and training.  The Bundles are held in very high reverence by the Blackfeet and are the center of their identity.  To own one involves not only costly rites transfers, but training, learning the songs that go with the bundle (which actually give it the power it has associated with it) and also moral obligations as well as personal conduct restrictions.   One must hold annual bundle opening ceremony's along with the required feasts as well as other obligatory duties.  These bundles are not to be taken lightly.  

Although the tubular style of case is termed a "Bonnet" case, they can hold just about anything.  These are made with natural pigment paint and brain tanned fringes, as well as trade cloth trim.  


Sunday, November 7, 2010


 I had totally forgotten about this shirt, as well as the publications it had been in until a dear friend in Italy asked me about published works.  And there are quite a few, so I thought I would start with this shirt.

This shirt was a commission from some  good friends of mine, who are collectors of major Plateau material.  They very much appreciate both antique material and also contemporary works for the artistry and expression of a culture.  They have quite a few of my major pieces.   This shirt is made just like ones from the 1860's, using brain tanned Mt. Sheep hides for the body, and this shirt
took 4 brain tanned antelope hides to do the fringe, which is wrapped with wolf moss dyed quills and correctly dyed wool yarn.  It is sinew sewn using vintage pony beads and cloth and painted with a natural mineral pigment paint I happened to dig myself in Eastern Washington.

This photo is from the book "Western Design" and it has also been published in "Cabin Fever" (Both books are about Western High Style Interior Design, and was also published in Cowboys and Indians magazine.

What was really a amazing process in researching and making this shirt was that two different people came up with essentially the same idea.   I had done my initial research for this shirt looking thru the slide collection of Bill Holm, a Indian art scholar I have nothing but the highest praise and respect for.   So once it was done, I thought I would bring it to his home to show him.  It is a original (meaning I did not copy a existing shirt) but certainly was based on historic material.   When Bill saw the shirt, he got excited and wanted to know where I got my idea for it.  I explained my process.  He disappeared to the back of his studio, and then reappeared with this painting "The Parade".  The warrior riding the bay horse was wearing the almost exact same shirt, also a creation of Bill Holm's imagination.  I was speechless to say the least.  And being such a generous man, he gave me a A/P print of the painting.  It is one of my treasures.

The last photos was taken around the 1860's period in Eastern Oregon showing a young man to the left wearing a similar type of blocky pony beaded shirt with the long tripled fringe.  In its day, to be able to use so much hide for fringe was certainly a status symbol.  And I think for today this also holds true as it is a lot of work to procure and tan these hides, or to purchase them from someone who does.  Just to cut them up into fringe.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's Done!

Finally,  I have got the butterfly bag done.

 Certainly a different type of subject matter for me which was a challenge.  But its good to do something outside from ones norm once in a while as its all a part of the growth process as a artist and craftsman.  I probably would have not done this type of subject matter if left up to me (Butterfly's, Columbine and Indian Paintbrush flowers) but now that the final bag is done, I am pleased with the results. 


Monday, October 18, 2010

Getting to the wire!

With all hopes and good intentions, I am attempting to have the butterfly bag finished by the end of the week. Of course, this is spoken by the worlds biggest optimist, so barring sleep the next post I put up should show the finished bag.

Then on to other new works, of which there will be plenty to show this winter. And with our dismal forecast of the worst winter in something like 55 years here, this should keep me off my horses and at the beading table.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Call me the "Gucci" of beaded purses!

Fall is here, and I am back to work. I have been commissioned to make several designer purses, so I thought to show the one that is currently in progress. When I got this commission (based on a set of dinnerware of all things) I thought to myself "Oh Man". Not what I would ever make. But I have got to say that as I have been working on this purse, I am really starting to love the clients idea. A challenge at first to get me out of my normal mode of thinking and what I would normally do. But now this has got me into wanting to do more experimentation. And I am using bead colors I usually run from. After this one and the other two I will be making, it will be exciting to see what comes out. So hope to have some totally new types of work to show soon.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sculpted Glass Horse Quirt

This sculpted glass quirt was made while I was a Artist in Residence at the incredible Pilchuck Glass School. I have been very honored to have attended Pilchuck in several manifestations, from a Artist in Residence, a student, and a Fellowship Recipient, but the greatest of all, as a friend and fellow artist. I have met some of the most amazing and inspirational people there, some of whom are now for me "Family" that I dearly love.
This fall and winter promises to be a highly productive one full of many new artworks. I have quite a bit of beadwork projects to do, as well as finally getting back in my studio and working on new glass work. So say tuned as they say!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"PRIDE OF THE NEZ PERCE" is finished.

You can order your copy of the wonderful rendition done by Maria D'Angelo starring of course Cappy the Wonder Horse!   Cappy is very pleased with the portrait that Maria has done of him.  What a ego he is developing!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Just finishing up a purse that was ordered for the Pendleton Round Up. This year will be the 100th Anniversary, so promises to be a "Goot One". This purse is in a antique Bakelite frame, beaded on smoked brain tanned hide, and is beaded in cut beads as well as some antique ones thrown in. The outlining of the image is 14k. gold plated beads. I also beaded the wooley chaps on the cowgirl to be textured like real wooly's are. And like most of the photos in this Blog, you can click each one and it will enlarge so you can see the detail.

Of course the day you want to take some rains. So hopefully I can get outside to do some better quality shots before this heads to its new home.

And, the hat is available if anyone is interested. It's a 7 1/4 BIG hat. But will make a statement where ever you wear it.


Monday, August 2, 2010

"Pride of the Nez Perce" - Historic Pendleton Round Up Parade

I am so excited, I have to post this fine pencil drawing in process. This work is by the equine artist Maria D'Angelo, and she is doing a portrait of Cappy titled "Pride of the Nez Perce". I was blown away she wanted to use him and my beadwork as a subject matter. Her work is amazing, and you can see more of it here:
I will post this image again when it is complete.

Also, as Maria is making progress, I have been re-editing this post to show the work. So, these photos are the newest to the oldest.

And as something really special, I have this rare clip of the Nez Perce and Cayuse Indians on parade at the Pendleton Round Up in 1912. It illustrates I think in a living manner how the beadwork I make would have been in use.



Saturday, July 17, 2010

Woo Hoo! Me and Cappy is famous!

Today I received the new issue of Cowboys and Indians. In it is a well done article by Ona Kiser, who writes the impressive blog "Global Horse Culture". I was honored to have her write about me, yes me, and Cappy the wonder horse! So we are basking in our 15 minutes of fame right now. Ona also did a more comprehensive story on her blog site as the magazine did edit down much of the text. Here's her full story:

Again, I really wish to thank Ona for doing this. Not ego, but validation. We all need that from time to time.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

When art becomes art!

The world of the internet can be a interesting one. Having this Blog has actually connected me to people I would probably never have known about and had contact with by conventional means. Sculptor Dave Lemon is one example. I am not sure how I found his blog site, but was very moved by his amazing bronze sculptures and also his sharing of the process and openness to educate those who find his site. When Dave was working on his current project "The Protector" we talked back and forth a bit about Blackfeet Bonnets. There are many types, some of which are very sacred to the Blackfeet and require rights to make and wear them. These types should not be messed with or worn with by reproduction artists or hobbyists with out securing proper rites to them, as they are still very much in use by the Blackfeet peoples. Others, like this bonnet I reconstructed for a Blackfoot friend of mine from a old bonnet that had been in his family are more secular in nature. The photo of the three Pikuni men taken in 1916 show these two types of bonnets. Wolf Plume is wearing the type of bonnet I rebuilt, while Curly Bear and Bird Rattler are wearing what are known as "Straight Up" bonnets. These are only worn and made by those to whom rights are secured and transfered. Many of the first type of bonnet were given away in "Making Chiefs" ceremony's by the Blackfeet, especially to non-native folks of prestige who came to Glacier National Park in the first half of the 1900's (And before the golden eagle was declared a endangered species in the 1960's). Before that, you could actually mail order feathers and many hobbyist made bonnets are still floating around that are made with pre-ban feathers.

So, in getting back to this bonnet. I sent a photo of it to Dave, who in turn is using it on his current bronze. I love when this back and forth of artwork happens.

Check out Daves Blog and work. You'll be impressed.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Making tracks on the Plateau Dress.

Well, I finally think I am getting far enough on this commission to show some progress photos. I still will be expending a additional 120 hours or so to finish this dress. Big project!

After it is done, no rest for the wicked though. A good sign the economy is recovering is lately I have been hired for several more big commissions, and also will be having some national media coverage. And am currently being reviewed to a very important museum show :-) . Yeah....My Chinese horoscope for this year said it would be a good one. So far, I am a believer.