Ah, Santa Fe!
My cousin Tracy and I had a bowl of green chili stew overlooking the plaza the night before our Two Needle Applique class with the great Native American beader, David Dean.
Under his grandmother's tutelage, David started beading broomsticks with pony beads when he was five years old, and he's been at it ever since.
He taught us the deceptively simple technique of Two Needle Applique, which is basically couching lines of beads down onto leather or fabric.
It was a small class, and there wasn't that much technical instruction required, so we were lucky to hear lots of stories about how he views different Native American tribes practicing their beadwork. Cheyennes are meticulous, and the Sioux are much more loose; Pueblo are highly traditional and the Navajo are wild and improvisational, for example...
We learned how to "museum up" new beadwork to make it look old. He does a lot of museum restoration so he knows all the tricks.
What a great story teller and teacher he was!
Here is some of the work he brought to class to show us.
I believe the background is called "Lazy Stitch", but the roses and butterfly use the two needle technique.
Many of these objects were made for the various Native American dances David and his family participate in. It was really fun to hear about those, too.
This includes Mickey Mouse here, for a five year old nephew's costume!
The picture applique is magnificent I think.
Those are size 22 beads in the salmon there for detail. You don't have to use the same sized beads throughout a picture.
He said, "If you can draw it, you can bead it," and suggested looking at childrens' coloring books for great design ideas.
David showed us how to draft the mandala-like designs (I wish I could remember the term for them) that he beads.
He makes it look so easy.
But they are NOT easy! So beautiful and powerful, though.
It is rather slow work--but very enjoyable.
Of course it can be used in crazy quilting. (Every needle and beadwork technique can, just about.)
I gave it my best shot.....
The beads are supposed to lay flat, not stick up in little bumps. That's because I made the classic beginner's mistake of trying to fit too many beads in the space available.
But I hope to get better. This is a really great technique, and I loved learning it from such a master.
My cousin Tracy is a master of her pine needle basket technique. (She would not agree to this, but I believe it is so.) I did a photo shoot of some of her work and I'll post that tomorrow.