Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Between all the other projects I have been working on,  I occasionally make a few purses.  I love to make them.  I like to branch out to other subjects that are not always centered around Native images.  

I just finished my "Blue Buddha" - the healing Buddha purse today.   It is made using 13/0 cut beads and 24 K gold beads on Imported Italian leather.  The drops are crystal beads and Czech glass buddhas.  

The back side of the purse - The Tibetan version of the eyes of Buddha.  

I made this purse this summer but forgot to do a final photo of it.   A clutch purse of beaded victorian era illustrated butterflies done in 13/0 cut beads and 24 k gold plated beads,  on designer Italian leather.  

This one I have posted before….but what the heck.  The more the merrier.  A Dio de los Muerto's bag done in 13/0 cuts and 24 k. Gold plaited beads on smoked brain tanned hide.  the fringes are crystal beads and Czech glass skulls.  

I really love making these purses.  And there will be more to come.   It all takes time - but I have a few locked in my brain yet waiting to come out.  


Friday, December 13, 2013


This time of year I like to make little items like this as gifts for my friends and family for the holidays.   I don't make these type of items for sale as I believe they should only be given away and not sold.  I like to make them now as here in the Northwest,  we believe the presence of the spirits and holy people are at their greatest,  so I like to do these with good intent and want that to be strong.  

Some of these I did a few years ago. I end up with a lot of little old parts ( like beads and bells ) with my work so a great way to use them.   Most material on these are antiques and all are beaded using antique Italian seed beads or pony beads.  

I made this one yesterday for a friend.  A bear fetish.  

Detail of the bear fetish.  The claw and feather on it are made of glass.  

A horse fetish and iniskim I made for myself a few years ago. 

This is umbilical fetish I did when my horse Cappy was born.  It contains his actual umbilical fetish which I saved and dried.  

The other side of the umbilical fetish.  

Have a happy season everyone,  and think of and help others.  



I  just realized I forgot to post the finished photos of the collaborative work I did with the amazing glass artist Shelley Muzylowski Allen.   So…Here it is.  

I have to say,  it was really like a dream come true to work with Shelley.   I met her when she was on the glass blowing team of William Morris, working at the time at Pilchuck Glass School.  When I saw what was possible with glass while watching William Morris and his team create magic,  and also that Shelley herself also was interested in horses as a subject matter,  I knew I wanted to do something with her.   

Well we finally were able to make that happen.  And with great acceptance as this piece did not last long in the gallery.   So,  hopefully we can get together again soon and do some more collaborative work.  I have to say it was a dream for me to work with Shelley.  Her talent and professionalism was a real boost to say the least.  

Sometimes things just work if you give it time :-) 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

INCISED BUFFALO RAWHIDE PARFLETCHE - New twist on a old technique.

I just finished this envelope style incised buffalo rawhide parfletch case.  Well,  I think I might be done. Still deciding if I antique it up or not.  

I decided to try a new application to a very old technique.  Incised parfletche's were something made in the mid - 19th century,  and existing examples are pretty rare.   Part of the rarity I believe is due to the actual materials needed - epidermal on buffalo rawhide.  Its not easy to do ( It cannot be scraped free of has to be slipped off and there is a fine line between slipping the hair and the entire epidermal layer coming off )  It can also be done by striking the hair on rawhide with a hammer or stone but is incredible labor intensive. 

The very top layer of the rawhide is cut and scraped away to reveal the white under layer.  

This is another one I did a few years back for some Plateau horse gear I made.  All the old ones I have seen examples of are done in a geometric style.  So this portrait might be a first doing this technique.


Sunday, November 10, 2013


I decided to start killing some old posts on this blog and re-posting some of the photos.  So this is a consolidation of a few posts.  

This is a split horn bonnet that I made for a gallery show a few years ago.  It is now in a private collection.  

This bonnet is made in a classic Plateau style of work.  To make them really look great,  it takes a LOT of ermine hide.  

The cloth I used was hand died selvedge edge cloth.  

The feathers are hand painted reproduction feathers.  The horns are split and shaved buffalo. 

The beadwork was done on buffalo hide,  using antique Italian seed beads sewn with sinew.  The buttons are old flat brass buttons which were commonly traded back in the day.  

This last bonnet was one which I made as a memorial piece for my father when he passed away.  He served 20 years in the military on active duty and years more in reserve.  He fought wars,  he killed men during his service and later greatly regretted this,  and in his last years suffered greatly both physically and also mentally due to his service.  But he was proud to serve his country.    This was a very personal piece for please respect that fact and don't copy it.   


Sunday, October 27, 2013


This is a set of Plateau - Nez Perce' horse gear I made in 2008 and was my very first post on this blog.  I have decided to re-post it,  partly because I am discovering that my photos have gone viral more than once,  are all over Pintrest and other sites and I have not been credited for my work.  Even have found others using my photos making credits.   So....time to watermark and copyright.  Hate to do it....but its a kind of lack of respect that sadly causes this.  :-( 

This set of gear I was asked to make for a museum for display,  but as I completed it the big crash of 2008 happened and they had a budget cut...this project being one of them ( The remodel of their display gallery this was to go in ) so it instead went to a private collection.  

The model for the gear is my own Appaloosa horse "Cappy" who I also bred, raised and trained.  

The entire set of gear was made using very traditional materials, design, methods and techniques which would have been used during the last quarter of the 19th century on Plateau Horse gear.  The beads are all antique Italian beads ( They look brighter than they are due to photography effects ).  

With this set of gear I made both a classic horse collar,  a bandoleer bag ( which were also used as horse collars ) two bridles,  a saddle blanket,  a rump drape, a mt. lion skin saddle throw, and two parfletch cases as well as flat bags.  A complete set up.   

The keyhole bridle for the set. 

Detail of the keyhole bridle.  


Saturday, October 12, 2013


I have decided to delete and re-post a few old entry's on this blog as I have now have some better photos of these works.   

This is a Ute Style shirt,  based on some historic examples in collections as well as some old photographs.  It is made from brain tanned deer hide and hand dyed selvedge edge wool cloth.  The beads are antique Italian seed beads and carefully chosen reproduction beads.   The shirt and beadwork is made using elk sinew. 

The hide is painted using natural pigment earth paints. 

The feathers are magpie.  A bird which inhabits the Plateau and Great Basin areas of the US.  

Long fringes at the elbows made of brain tanned deer hide.  

Historic example of Ute cloth/hide shirt.  


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Another little peek...

Another little peek at some of the new works I am doing for my museum exhibit next year.   There is a LOT more to do.  Pipe Stems,  stands and other glass parts that will go with these works, as well as other glass works not shown yet.   A bit more complicated then just doing beadwork.   

It is a lot of fun to do new things and push new bounds :-) 


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Quill Wrapped Horse Hair Moccasins...

Here are two pairs of moccasins I made a while back.  Both are a early to mid 19th century Missouri River style interpretation.  

Both are made of brain tanned hide and beaded using sinew and pony beads.   The Quillwork technique is "Quill Wrapped Horse Hair",  in which the quills are wrapped around a bundle of horse hair and stitched to the hide.  It was a rather rare technique even back in its heyday.  The technique was all but extinct until recently revived.  

 The quills on these pairs are dyed with a combination of natural dyes and also modern dyes.   In doing research at the time of making these,  I came across information that aniline dyes were introduced to Native people far earlier than thought....actually in only a year or two after they were invented.   The trades good industry was on the cutting edge in its day.  No different than it is now.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Still re-posting some of my previous works I was able to get new photos of while visiting Santa Fe.   And there is a lot of them!  So more to come in the coming days.  

This is a blanket strip I was commissioned to make for some very close friends of mine.   They owned the original,  which they sold.   And they always regretted it.   So...they asked me to make a copy of it for them.   This is the resulting strip.   

This strip is beaded on brain tanned buffalo,  using sinew with antique Italian seed beads as well as carefully chosen French reproduction beads.  It is mounted on a hand dyed blue stroud wool blanket...all just like the original.  

I seldom make exact copies of antique items.  I would rather make my own artwork.  And,  its very important to remember that making copies of artifacts to secure permission to do so from either the owners of the material ( collectors or institutions ),  maker of the item or even the Native family from which it originates is paramount.   To just copy something is really a theft of intellectual property and is not taken well in Indian country.   


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Quilled Mandan Style Shirt....Part "Deux"...

I got to re-photgraph some older works...This is a Mandan style quilled war shirt I made about 20 years ago.   I used all historically correct materials ( Now non-available) Brain tanned mt. sheep hides,  sinew sewn natural dyed quillwork and human and horse hair drops.

The beads used are a combination of antique Italian pony beads and French re-production colors,  acid etched to emulate beads 150 years old.

The sleeves are multi - quill plated,  the quills dyed using a combination of Oregon grape root,  blood root and indigo.

The symbol of the disk is a symbolic thunderbird design.

The left on hair ruff of the mt. sheep was done on historic shirts. 


Saturday, August 10, 2013


Here is a pair of beaded cowgirl boots I made over 20 years ago....I never had photos of them until now 

The images are based on illustrations by Jo Mora....a well known Cowboy illustrator and painter. 

Each panel has a different image.  Hard beading if I remember because I did these direct on the leather....broke a lot of needles.  

Detail of boot panel. 



Ah.....vacation at last.   Having fun down in Santa Fe, New Mexico.   Staying with some old friends and getting to see some previous works I made that they own.   

A Plateau style pony beaded shirt...made out of Mt. Sheep hides,  Antique beads and sinew sewn.

A Plateau style Mt. Lion skin quiver...antique Italian beads and sinew sewn

Detail of beaded tail flap

A Quill Wrapped Horse Hair shirt I made,  along with a historic blanket strip.   Shirt is made from brain tanned mt sheep hides,  sinew sewn natural dyed porcupine quills. 

Its been fun to see these pieces again.