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.