A few nice Design Gift Ideas images I found:
Indian beaded souvenir photo frame made in the early 1900’s
Image by antefixus21
This was my favourite of the beadwork that I saw today but it was unreasonably priced, at least for what I felt like paying today. I may return and hang it with family photos. I returned and looked for it but couldn’t find the vendor. I didn’t make it on the third and last day of Kempenfest to continue my search.
This was for sale on eBay today.
A Haudenosaunee Tradition and Art
The Iroquois tradition of raised beadwork began in west- ern New York in the late eighteenth century. It is slightly older than the other great North American Indian bead- working tradition that the Lakota, Cheyenne, and other people of the Plains developed. Raised beadwork is unique to the Haudenosaunee; it is made nowhere else in the world. The Senecas, who decorated clothes, sashes, and small pincushions with small glass beads in the eigh- teenth century, probably invented the style of Iroquois beadwork that still exists today. They were making bead- ed pincushions by 1799 and purses by 1807. In the mid- nineteenth century, ethnohistorian Lewis H. Morgan noted in his League of the Ho-de’-no-sau-see, or Iroquois the “delicacy, even brilliancy of their bead-work embroidery” on women’s clothing (1851, Book 3:384), and he included illustrations of beadwork on a needle case, woman’s skirt, cradleboard, heart-shaped pincushion, and work bag, the forerunner of a modern purse. He reported that in 1849 he had purchased five varieties of work bags as well as three varieties of pin cushions and five varieties of needle books (Morgan 1850, 57).
(Figure 4.1). While they sold their goods at nearby Montreal, the Mohawks also traveled extensively throughout North America to sell at fairs, exhibitions, wild west shows, and Indian medicine shows. Some even sold their beadwork when they traveled to England to perform Indian dances at Earls Court, an exhibition ground in London. Photographs taken in 1905 show these performers attired in clothing decorated with Mohawk beadwork.
The Iroquois tradition of beadwork continued to evolve in the nineteenth century, and by 1860 Mohawks near Montreal and Tuscaroras near Niagara Falls were creating elaborate pincushions, purses, and wall hangings adorned with raised beadwork. Despite the similarity of items created, the two geographic areas developed different styles of beadwork (Table 4.1). Throughout the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, at the height of beadwork production, the Tuscaroras sold their beadwork mostly at Niagara Falls, on their reservation, and at the New York State Fair. They preferred to use small clear and white beads. During this same period, the Mohawks used larger clear beads and also employed red, blue, green, and yellow beads on most of their early pieces
Figure 4.1. Two needle cases that illustrate differences in nineteenth- century Mohawk (left) and Niagara (right) beadwork.
My personal family experience illustrates typical Iroquois beadwork transactions in the twentieth century. My story starts in 1903 when my grandmother went to the Afton Fair, a small agricultural fair in central New York. She took my nine-year-old father, but his sister, then eleven, was sick and could not go. My grandmother brought her home a present from the fair. It was a beauti- ful pink satin-covered bird-shaped pincushion that sparkled with light green beads (Figure 4.2). My aunt treasured this bird throughout her long life and displayed it proudly in her china cabinet, where I saw it when I was a child. At her death this cherished heirloom was passed on to her daughter who later donated it to the Afton Historical Society in Chenango County, where it is presently on view.
My research indicates that this bird was made by a skilled Mohawk beadworker from a Mohawk community located near Montreal and several hundred miles from the Afton Fair. This pincushion probably got to the fair with a group of Mohawks who traveled by train or wagon to perform at fairs, medicine shows, and exhibi- tions. While at these venues, they also sold their hand- made baskets and beadwork.
In 1958 I bought a small red heart-shaped pincushion at a booth in the Indian Village at the New York State Fair, which is held near Syracuse (Figure 4.3). It was a present for my mother, who displayed it prominently on her bed- room dresser for the next twenty-five years until I inher- ited it. Mary Lou Printup, a leading Tuscarora sewer, later identified this pincushion as one she had made. She, like most Tuscarora beadworkers prefer to be called “sewers,” a term not popular with some other Iroquois beadwork- ers. In my research and writing, I use the word “bead- worker” to refer to all except those individuals who specifically prefer to be called “sewers.”
When I purchased the red heart I had no idea that this pincushion had anything in common with the bird that my grandmother acquired fifty-five years earlier. I knew that I wanted to get something special for my mother, and this pincushion was special because it was beautiful and made by a native artist. In buying it I shared something with my grandmother, who died before I was born, that is, the purchase of a piece of Iroquois beadwork. Most likely the purchase of the bird was my German-born grandmother’s only interaction with a Haudenosaunee woman, and my purchase at the State Fair was my first interaction with a Tuscarora sewer, the first of many.
In a similar manner Iroquois beadworkers and their non- Indian customers, often tourists or attendees at a public entertainment venue, have been brought together by bead-work for over two centuries. These transactions undoubtedly number in the tens of thousands.1 During honeymoon trips to Niagara Falls and visits to agricultural fairs, exhibitions, and other attractions, people purchased Iroquois beadwork as mementos to remember these places and experiences. The beads often form designs featuring birds and flowers, natural themes that appealed to the Victorian women who drove the market of souvenir sales in the nine- teenth century. Studies by Beverly Gordon (1984; 1986) and Ruth B. Phillips (1998) describe the souvenir trade and point out the importance of these items to the people on both sides of the transactions.
Souvenir beadwork was so treasured that the pieces were frequently kept in cedar chests or keepsake boxes. Therefore, when unwrapped one hundred or more years later, they are often in pristine condition. Ironically, few contemporary beadworkers have samples of their ancestors’ work because it was usually made for sale to strangers, although some beadwork was created as gifts for family and friends.
Because most pieces were made for sale to tourists, many people have dismissed Iroquois beadwork as “souvenir trinkets” not important enough to collect, study, or exhibit. In fact, they are often called whimsies, a term that I believe trivializes them and diminishes their artistic and cultural value. But within the last two decades Iroquois beadwork has become the subject of serious study and museum exhibitions. At least four traveling exhibits of Iroquois beadwork have been installed in over a dozen museums and seen by thousands of museum visitors in the United States and Canada since 1999.2 This scholarly recognition has resulted in an increased appreciation of these beadwork creations and the artists who made them. What were considered curious tourist souvenirs when they were made are now generating increased respect from both the general public and the Haudenosaunee.
ry pieces, the back is a colorful calico. Some pieces, mainly in the Niagara Tradition, have a silk or cotton binding around their perimeters to cover the cut edges and attach the front and back fabrics. Tight beadwork on the edging often binds Mohawk pieces together so a cloth binding is not necessary. Flat purses as well as fist and box purses are constructed in the same manner, with cardboard as the base.
Contemporary beadworkers see their work as a signif- icant part of Haudenosaunee culture and an important link to the past. In Haudenosaunee communities bead- workers are admired as continuing a revered tradition. Although there are a few male beadworkers, the majority are women, and in a matrilineal-society with powerful clan matrons, the economic benefit of beadwork sales increases the influence of the women even more.
Pincushions were usually stuffed with sawdust, but sweet grass, cotton, cattail fluff, newspapers, and poly- ester have also been used. Contemporary craftsmen remember that their mothers preferred pine sawdust because of the nice aroma.4 Small strawberry-shaped pin- cushions are traditionally filled with emery, used to sharpen and polish needles. Velvet and twill-covered pic- ture frames and other wall hangings on cardboard bases have polished cotton backs on earlier pieces and calico on more recent ones. European glass beads were often aug- mented with metal sequins on nineteenth-century pieces and with plastic sequins and other plastic novelty beads since the late twentieth century. Bone and shell beads and leather, which are often used in other American Indian beadwork, rarely occur in Iroquois beadwork.
Iroquois beadwork is still sold at Niagara Falls, the New York State Fair, and several pow wows and festivals in the northeast; the methods of beadwork distribution have changed little over two hundred years. The bead-work itself, however, has changed tremendously. Over the last two centuries the styles of beadwork have evolved from simple small pincushions and purses to highly elaborate shapes, becoming works of art in the tra- ditional sense. The beads selected have progressed from the very small seed beads used around 1800 to the larger seed beads of 1900 and finally, by 2000, to a wider variety of bead sizes and colors.
The most common form of Iroquois beadwork, and the form most easily recognizable by people who are not familiar with Iroquois beadwork, is the flat black purse or bag featuring identical colorful, beaded floral designs on both sides. Most flat bags have flaps on both sides, but the opening is across the top where the two sides meet. The face fabric is usually black or very dark brown velvet, and the interior is often a light-colored linen or polished cot- ton. A binding, usually red, is attached around the closed sides of the purses. A beaded fringe is sometimes added. The fringe is merely sewn to the binding and does not hold the two sides of the bag together; it is purely deco- rative. The flaps usually are edged with white beads that are larger than the beads that outline the flaps and body (Figure 4.4). The flaps and body are sometimes outlined with short parallel lines like a stockade. The faces of the flap and body are covered by stylized flowers in shades of blue, red, yellow, and white connected with green stems, which are sometimes striped in two shades of green. Some bags feature a small slit pocket under one of the flaps. It may have been meant to hold a comb or mirror.
Iroquois beadwork remains a unique art form distin- guished by several characteristics found only in work created by Haudenosaunee beadworkers. Iroquois beadwork features a design in glass beads that have been sewn on a fabric that is stretched over a backing of cardboard or cloth lining. The materials used in the beadwork are predominately small seed beads, cloth, cardboard, paper, and in pincushions, a stuffing. The beads are sewn onto the fabric in geometric or natural designs using waxed, doubled white thread.3 The beads are usually sewn over a paper pattern that remains in place under the beaded elements. Although not practiced at all times in the histo- ry of Iroquois beadwork, the most distinctive trait is that the beads are raised above the surface of the cloth face. Some pieces have raised beaded elements that are over an inch high. The beads are raised by putting more beads on the thread than is needed to span the pattern so that the beads form an arch above the pattern. The amount of extra beads determines how high the arches are, that is, how much the beadwork is raised. Various velvets were and still are the favored fabrics, but other fabrics such as wool, twills, silk, and satin are also used. Pincushions often have beaded velvet fronts and polished cotton backs. Polished cotton is a shiny stiff material that is also referred to as chintz or oilcloth. On the majority of late twentieth-century and contemporary twenty-first-century…
Preserving Tradition and Understanding the Past: Papers from the Conference on Iroquois Research, 2001–2005, Edited by Christine Sternberg Patrick, New York State Museum Record 1 © 2010, by The University of the State of New York, The State Education Department, Albany, New York 12230. All rights reserved. Click on top link for more.
“Bad Ass” Aggie Ring Goes to the Art Deco Edison Memorial Tower and “Big Ass Lightbulb!”
Image by flickr4jazz
I could tell that Aggie Ring was impressed. After several moments of silence he spoke out and said, “If my Eyes of Texas aren’t deceiving me, that’s the biggest damn lightbulb I’ve ever seen! I guess it’s true… Everything IS bigger in Jersey!”
The Aggie Ring woke me up early this morning. In fact it was even before 11:30 a.m. so I knew he wanted to do something. I asked the Aggie Ring, “What do you want to do Aggie Ring?” The Aggie Ring replied, “I want to go see the lightbulb!” I wasn’t sure what he was talking about so I said, “What lightbulb?” The Aggie Ring said with emphasis, “Let there be LIGHT!” Then it hit me. Aggie Ring wanted to drive him up the Parkway to the site of Thomas A. Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory so he could see the Art Deco Edison Memorial Tower and “Big Ass Lightbulb!”
Other than the time he told me that he thought Elvis took our change in a tollbooth on the New Jersey State Turnpike, Aggie Ring has great ideas. It’s only about a 20 to 25 minute drive up the Parkway from our house so Aggie Ring and I set off to see the Edison Memorial Tower. The last time we’d been there it had been in horrible shape and they were beginning work on restoring it. That was a bit over a year ago so I assumed that Aggie Ring figured out that they would be finished with the conservation work on the historical site.
When we drove down the little side street where the tower is located the Aggie Ring was overwhelmed with awe at the restored site. Aggie Ring was truly “speechless!” It’s just as beautiful as the day it was built. They did an incredible job on the restoration. After a few moments sitting in the car just looking out the window Aggie Ring broke his silence and asked me, “Did you bring a cigar? Edison loved his cigars and I think he’d have wanted you to smoke a cigar while you’re looking the place over.” Unfortunately I had left my cigars at home so the Edison “smoke out” will have to happen on a future date.
The laboratory building is no longer at this site but it’s still impressive to think of not only the electric lightbulb, but all of the other great inventions that Mr. Edison invented here. Aggie Ring said, “Imagine. He did all this stuff without the help of an Aggie Ring!”
The Aggie Ring and I walked around the tower and took some photos of the “Big Ass Lightbulb” and the historical plaques at its base. The Aggie Ring and I are planning on going back some evening when the lightbulb is illuminated. Aggie Ring said, “It would be cool if you could get a photo during a thunderstorm when there’s lightning behind the tower.” I told Aggie Ring, “You’re crazy! I’m not standing out in a field during a lightning storm with an Aggie Ring on my finger! Maybe if we can get a VMI grad to come with us. Their rings are so damn big a lightning bolt would hit one of them before us!”
Aggie Ring said, “It’s a good thing Edison invented the lightbulb or there’d be a lot of Waggies drinking their tequila shots by candlelight!” I told the Aggie Ring, “True… Those Waggies love their tequila the invention of the lightbulb makes it a lot easier for them to pour the tequila and do body shots!”
Aggie Ring asked me to provide some info on the Edison “Big Ass Lightbulb” Memorial Tower for your educational enlightenment (“Get it?” Aggie Ring said):
Thomas Alva Edison Memorial Tower and Menlo Park Museum, New Jersey
"Let there be light." Thomas Alva Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory and Memorial Tower. Those of us on the Jersey Shore call it the "Big Ass Lightbulb!”
The Edison Tower, located on the site of the original laboratory at Menlo Park, New Jersey, to which Thomas Alva Edison moved in 1876, was erected in 1937 as a monument to the great inventor. The Tower is the gift of William Slocum Barstow to the Thomas Alva Edison Foundation Incorporated in behalf of the Edison Pioneers. It was dedicated on February 11, 1838, the ninety-first anniversary of the inventor’s birth.
Rising 131 ft. 4 in. above the ground, the tower looms as the highest discernible object for many miles. Surmounting the 117 ft. 8 in. concrete-slab structure is a 13 ft. 8 in. replica of the original incandescent lamp which, when illuminated, can be seen for a distance of several miles. It once served as an airplane beacon. The Tower is designed for pressure of wind at a velocity of 120 miles per hour. In its construction, which consumed slightly less than eight months, approximately 1200 barrels of Edison Portland cement and 50 tons of reinforced steel were used.
The large bulb on top of the Tower was cast by the Corning Glass Works. The replica bulb contains 153 separate pieces of amber tinted Pyrex glass, 2 in. thick, set upon a steel frame. The bulb is 5 ft. in diameter at the neck and 9 ft. 2 in. in diameter at the greatest width and weighs, without the steel frame on which it is placed, in excess of three tons. Before the restoration, inside this Pyrex glass bulb were four 1000 watt bulbs, four 200 watt bulbs, and four 100 watt bulbs. A duplicate of each was arranged as automatically to cut in should its companion bulb fail.
The Edison Tower has been completely restored and when complete, the bulb is now illuminated with modern Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. Mr. Edison would be pleased with this, I’m sure.
While we don’t have any records of exactly what was said when Mr. Edison perfected his invention, I suspect one of his workers shouted out something like this: “Holy Mother of Baby Jesus on a Donkey!” “Mr. Edison, You’ve done it!!! You’ve perfected the Electric Light!!! You truly are King of Kings!!!!”
The tower is located on a mysterious plot of land and exactly at midnight on the night of a full moon, it would be a perfect site for the ritual sacrifice of virgins. Too bad we don’t have any of those in New Jersey! 🙂
Aggie Ring says, “The Road Goes On Forever, and the Party Never Ends!”
Image by Unhindered by Talent
Best wishes to all for this season!
In warming up, designing, and practicing the calligraphy on our new cabinetry (one example here), I went through embarrasingly huge piles of practice paper. We saved it all, as WeatherGirl has plans to make art with some of it. I beat her to the punch, though, and snagged some of it for gift wrapping, as seen here.
Doing this has got me thinking that it might be fun to design wrapping paper like this to be printed and sold at the local art gallery. I have no idea where one could get something like that printed at a reasonable rate, though. Anyone out there have any thoughts?