Monday, December 31, 2012


I just finished this project this afternoon as I wanted to start next year "Fresh"

These moccasin vamps are for a group show in 2013 headed up by the incredible Metis artist Christi Belcourt titled "Walking With Our Sisters".  It deals with the murdered and missing First Nations women of Canada.  It is happening in epic numbers and must be addressed.  Christi is calling attention to this often under reported and realized issue.  Native women are far more likely to have violence directed towards them than any other ethnic minority in Canada and the US. 

I will update this blog page with links for the exhibition and information. 

These are beaded on brain tanned moose hide which was painted with trade paint.  The beadwork is done in 13/0 charlotte cut beads and also 13/0 24k. gold and sterling silver plated beads.   I wanted the moccasins to represent the murdered women ( on the left ) and the missing and disappeared ( on the right ).  I wanted the background to represent the darkness inflicted on these women and their families that survive them.  And the stars,  to represent that their souls have gone to the heavens.  

Keep these women and families in your prayers.   I also hope the attention this exhibit draws will in the future let us not have to think about the murdered and missing,  because the epidemic of violence will have abated.  

And a update:  Here is the official poster for the exhibit.  The vamps I made are at the top of the photo.  Its a humbling honor to be a part of the exhibit.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


This is a Crow/Plateau style bridle I just finished for a commission.  I am calling it a Crow/Plateau style bridle,  because these bridles were used by both groups of people.  This one though does lean more towards the Crow style:  The keyhole design on the forehead symbolizes a "Bears Eye" and the design down the nose is the back of a horned lizard.   And a quote from Dr. Tim McCleary:

In the Crow language men usually call them axxíabaaloope which means *forehead crescent* I think this is a reference to the *najas* of Colonial Spanish bridles. In turn, women say, isbaapihpée which can be understood as heavy plaited, beaded/fringed fabric that covers the face, I think referring to mosquero predecessors. A similar term in Crow means an oriental carpet, baapihpéealaxaape, heavy plaited/fringed fabric laid flat."

I beaded this one using hand done rawhide, sinew sewn antique beads and paint cookies which I got from  

The reins are made of horsehair, and are wrapped in tradecloth and buckskin thongs and are called  "Firecrackers" 

The bit on this one is one I purchased but was collected off the Umatilla reservation in Oregon.  This type of ring bit was very popular among native equestrians,  although my horse was not quite sure what I had in his mouth for the photos :-)  

Having a well dressed horse was important to the equestrian tribes.  It was and still is a source of pride and status today.  The peoples of the Plateau and the Crow have huge annual events such as Crow Fair where hundreds of horses and riders turn out to parade daily.  


Friday, August 31, 2012

Cappy the Appy....Mr. Model!

I know this post has nothing to do with my artwork but hey.....Its my blog so I can digress once in a while.   The other day we got a call asking if we ( meaning me and my Appaloosa horse "Cappy") would like to do some Equine Modeling.   He is shown in many photos on this blog as I use him often in the course of my work....especially since I make quite a bit of horse gear.

This is a advertisement for EOUS EQUISUPPLIES   This will be in a National I was quite proud to have Cappy chosen to model for EOUS.     And to those of you who are horse folks and use equine products...These blankets are the bomb!   EOUS just won major awards for the top pick on consumer reports of their blankets.  I use their products ( have a for while ) and they wear like iron.  They also have a great line of human clothes as well.  I love their vests ( I have quite a few in many colors.....cause us girls have to look pretty and match our horses when we ride :-) )

Click the link and look them up.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012


 This is a Plateau style elks tooth dress I made as a commission.   It is probably the only one like it I will ever make in my lifetime, as ALL the teeth on it are REAL elks teeth.   Not carved bone as many of the historic dresses actually are.   There are only two teeth per elk that are used like this,  so this dress took many years of collecting teeth to make.
 The dress it's self is made using two brain tanned calf elk hides,  which were aged to give a antique appearance.   It is tailored in the classic Plateau style,  where the shape of the hides dictated to some extent the shape of the garment.   Additional brain tanned antelope hide was doubled and used for the fringe on the sides and bottom of the dress.
 All the beadwork on this dress was done using antique Italian beads.  The bead design symbolizes what would have been the elks tail on the dress as it is constructed.
 The elks teeth were laced on the dress using thin hide thongs,  as was done on the original dresses.   I actually had enough teeth to do one more row,  but ran out of length on the hide to do that,  so its only three rows.   And it is very heavy ,  as these teeth are solid ivory.
This is a yoke of a original Plateau dress in a private collection.   It is done on trade wool.   Often times the teeth used on these dresses were saved from older items and might be centuries old and passed down thru families.   These dresses carried a tremendous amount of family prestige and pride to own one,  as they indicated wealth, and the hunting capabilities of the men of the family.  Not many owned these types of dresses composed of the real teeth.   

Among the Crow people the "Elks Tooth" dress is a standard of wear....but again,  many of the teeth are carved out of bone to represent what you see here.  

Also on many of the old dresses you see teeth that have been etched and inscribed.   Unfortunately I am unable to tell you what these mean.   If they have a societal meaning or are individual meanings to the maker and wearer of the dress. 

 More inscribed teeth on a dress in a private collection.  This one on red trade wool.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I thought I would show some photos of what some of the end results of the work I do results in.  

 A year ago I was working fast and furious on this jacket,  incised parfletch case and quilled bridle strips for the permanent exhibit of "Sacred Encounters",  at the Coeur d' Alene tribal museum.   Here's how it looks now that its on display.

 Parfletch case along with other period artifacts.
 Long room shot with the quilled bridle strips on the back wall.    The first four photos are taken by Vickie Close,  Coeur d' Alene.
 These next three photos are taken at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.   In there photos there are items I did the restoration on.
 In the middle of this photo there is a bag I found,  restored and donated to the museum which shows Jesus on it.   There is a historic Catholic influence on the Plateau,  as also shown in the previous photos of the Sacred Encounters exhibit.

A little closer view of those of the material in the gallery.

Now onto new installations.   I am excited to announce I will be having a museum exhibit of my glass work in 2014,  as well as some new beadwork coming out too.   It promises to be some interesting times ahead.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012


This is a recently completed commission for a private project.  The original Blackfoot mask is in the National Museum of the American Indian.  

 The mask is made using brain tanned deer hide,  natural earth pigments,  brass buttons and bells,  antique Italian beads,  feathers,  hair ( horse ) quills,  ermine,  buffalo horns and silk ribbon.   Both my cutting horse Josey and Cappy the Appy are modeling.   Not only is it important to understand some of the does and don'ts of making reproductions ( tribally sensitive and sacred material should never be reproduced,  nor artists works without proper consent ) but on making horses gear,  I often find those who make it have never been around a horse,  and they spend many hours and much money on materials only to have it not fit.   Its important to remember,  that although many objects today are viewed as art.....they also had practical applications.
 The real fun of course after you make such items is putting them on your horse.  Because many horses are not trained to accept wearing items like this.   I worked long hours to get my horses to accept their modeling jobs :-)  They now seem to love it.


Monday, July 30, 2012


 Finally,  after some time from not posting new works on the blog,  I will have a few items I recently made.   I often get busy with restoration of artifacts so this takes my art time up.

This is a belt pouch,  based on Apache Saddle bags.   I restored a small set like this a few years ago,  and have also worked on several full sized ones too.   I have always wanted to make a pair and actually started this project well over a year ago ( I have a friend that also is making a pair too....a kind of "joint" project.  Finally I have been able to re-visit my half finished project and complete it.
 These bags are constructed out of brain tanned antelope hide.  Originally the hide layer of the trade cloth is rawhide,  but I wanted them soft so used tanned hide.  This made them hard to keep the cut outs precise.   The buttons are old Navaho ones I had collected over the years.   The paint is old trade pigment paint.  

Now....Where to wear them ?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

NATIVE AMERICAN HORSE GEAR - A Golden Age of Equine-Inspired Art of the Nineteenth Century.

Its been a while since I posted on my Blog.  Not because I have not been busy,  but rather I am currently working on several projects that have kept me from doing new art works.  Firstly,  I want to talk about this brand now book that has just been released titled "Native American Horse Gear - A Golden Age of Equine-Inspired Art of the Nineteenth Century by E. Helene Sage.    Schiffer Publishers.  Here is the link for the book - Nineteenth Century Horse Gear by E. Helene Sage
I have some of my work featured in the book (Along with Cappy as the model of course ) but the majority of the book is about 19th Century Plains and Plateau Horse gear. There are many never before published items in the book.  And Helene is a incredible writer (and world renowned scientist ) as well.  Its a book well worth adding to your library.  

Cappy admiring himself in the new book. 

 Cappy asked himself "Hmmm,  Is this my good side ?"

I also am currently working on a book about beadwork,  so one of the many projects keeping my busy.

On a fun note:  Yesterday my horse's Cappy and also my Cutting horse Josey got to model horse wear for the Eous company.   The photo shoot was for this falls catalog and I will have those later to share.   Here is one picture though of them wearing what will be some of this falls new horse blankets,  waiting to get to work.

Here is a link for the Eous company:   Eous   They have great products that hold up well ( I have been using their products for a while now.   They wear like iron and are a good value ).  I love the vests they have as well.  I must own one in every color.

Now.... I will be onto making new artworks soon.   So more to come.


Monday, March 26, 2012


 I have been chosen from a group of international artists to participate in a show in Italy titled "PIMP MY MARY!"  The premise of the shows is "The project born from the need to communicate a strong disagreement and separation from commercialization of the icon itself"

My version will deal with appropriation of Native Identity,  and what I recently found a very egregious act,  the paid hunting of Sacred White Buffalo on a game farm in Texas.   If one were to make a cross parallel of Mary in Native beliefs,  it would be that of the White Buffalo Calf Woman who brought the sacred pipe to the people.  Another widely commercialized icon.
 Cappy the Appy checking out the arrival of Mary from Italy today.
My official Mary kit.  Many more photos of this project as I work on it.   Stay tuned.

And the finished Mary and her White Buffalo as she appears in Italy for the Pimp My Mary exhibit.