Native American Beadwork
One of the best known art forms practiced by American Indians is beadwork. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, native populations of North America created their own beads. As none had metal tools, the construction of beads was a long process. Using little but tools made of stone or wood and abrasives such as sand, prehistoric Native Americans would fashion beads from native materials Most of the beads made by Native Americans were relatively large and were constructed to be worn strung on necklaces or thongs. It was not until the arrival of trade beads from Europe that the Indians could obtain small beads in sufficient quantities to make the beaded designs we know today.(1)
Indian Summer has the perfect location to purchase local Native American Beadwork from various Native Americans, as Salt Lake City has a large population of Navajo, Shoshone, Ute, Goshiute and Paiute Indians. The majority of our work is Shoshone. The Shoshone Bannock Reservation is just two hours away over the border in Idaho and many Shoshone people have made Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas their home. In addition to the Shoshone beadwork, we get Navajo beadwork from locals, and also from families located nearby on the Reservation in the Four Corners Area, a mere four hour drive from Salt Lake City.
We also feature Pueblo beadwork, which we pick up mainly at Zuni Pueblo and Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico. The Ute work we carry is from locals, or from the Ute tribe near Vernal Utah. We also feature Southern Ute work, which we purchase on our buying trips near Cortez, Colorado. Goshiute work is either local, or purchased from residents of the Skull Valley Reservation located to the west of us towards the Nevada border. Occasionally we get some Nez Perce' , Ojibwa and Choctaw beaded items through acquaintances we have met over the years. Many of our bead work artists have had their work displayed in museums across the west, featured in national art magazines and have had many local write ups in the Salt Lake Tribune for their work. We purchase only the finest handmade pieces available.
Most of the buckskin used with the Native American Beadwork we carry is not a commercially tanned hide. It is brain tanned, a tanning process using the brain of the deer which makes the leather very soft. Some buckskin is left white while some is "smoked" and is soft brown in appearance, and carries a heavenly smoked scent. With authentic handmade beadwork becoming harder and harder to find, we are always pleased to find new artists that continue to carry on the tedious labor of traditional beadwork.
Some articles have the "peyote" stitch which is a difficult and time consuming style to master. Our medicine pouches, ration bags, medallions, etc. have been made sewing single beads one at a time onto each piece.
Numerous pieces of our Native American Beadwork contain cut beads which are facetted and give a shimmery look to the item. All seed beads used are glass beads and many are vintage antique beads which are no longer available for purchase. We are very proud to bring you what we feel is some of the highest quality Native American Beadwork available today.