The colorful artistry in First Nations beadwork reflects the beauty of our natural world. Intricate floral patterns, geometric designs and, less frequently, animal forms and symbols. Vintage beadwork deserves appreciation not only for it’s obvious beauty but for the lifestyle and craftsmanship that it evolves from. It begins with the hunt, usually of moose.
The skinned hides were meticulously brain tanned, smoked and softened. Patterns were drawn and cut for mukluks, moccasins, vests, pouches or whatever particular item was being created. Designs were then painstakingly beaded usually as an expression of family pride or friendship.
In some cases, beadwork was done to satisfy a growing tourist demand. This was particularly evident with the Iroquois beadwork of the late 1800’s and early 20th century in the Niagra region as well as favored bus-tour destinations in the North.