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Monday, July 2, 2018

Beautiful Beads

The American Indians told many messages through beadwork. Before the Europeans arrived the beads were created by hand. Beads were created by hand with no use of metal tools. The long process used tools created by stone, wood or bone Many beads were large in size and would be strung on necklaces Europeans would bring trade beads from Europe. Trade beads were used by the Native Americans to make beaded designs of art.

Even before the beaded art work, communities located in the northeastern United States and the Midwest were decorating their clothing made of leather with porcupine quills. Quill work was tedious work that took hours to do. Each quill was attached to a background material with a small stitch making intricate and beautiful quill work pieces.
Quill work was once used for clothing, homes, horse gear, and even utensils bead worked was much the same. In many places beadwork art sales continues to grow. Native Americans would meet white settlers and the fashion line of the Native Americans would change. Clothing would no longer be made up of buffalo skins but out of wool or cotton but the decorative beadwork continued.
Bead work art would continue through the 18th and mid 19th century. The twentieth century found the art interesting as well. In history the beadwork of each tribe was the design element. Tribal lines would cross after WWI.

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Many think that Venice Italy may have been the originating place for glass bead making. An industry filled with production of beads was present prior to the 14th century. Bead production transported itself into Europe communities such as Bohemia, France , England and Holland. Glass beads were used for trading between the Europeans and the Native Americans. Beads primarily came from trading post, some times Native Americans would trade among their own group and the activity spread through out the early United States .

Notes of the early days of beadwork can still be seen in beaded headbands, beaded jewelry and bolo style. Beadwork shared during powwow celebrations shows up dramatically in the costumes wore by dancers. Moccasins, cuffs, chokers, arm bands, belts and suspenders are all fashion hi-lights of an earlier time.

Artwork in the form of beadwork has served as powerful symbols in the Native American ethnicity Beadwork started as decoration for every day clothing. Today, it is a wa for Native Americans to hold on to the past through festival and powwows. The dancer costume sends a strong signal of membership, one that can not be ignored.

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