Sunday, November 26, 2006

Looking Both Ways

Happy and Sad, Looking Both Ways Amulet Bag. A good name for this two-faced bag that I have completed.

This bag has four colors in it, the galvanized gold, opaque rainbow matte, a glossy gunmetal or hematite, and the face was beaded with galvanized tarnished silver. I used gold plated bicones, faceted transparent amethyst and jet ab 6 mm and 7 mm beads in the fringe and the very long two-stranded necklace.

The book pictured here "Looking Two Ways, Heritage and Identity of the Alutiiq People" is a project by two organizations, The Smithsonian Institute and The Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository. Aron L. Crowell, Amy F. Steffian, and Gordon L. Pullar are the editors. The cover photograph is the village Old Harbor, where I was born.

This is a great book with a lot of information about the Sugpiat from Kodiak Island. So much of the traditions and heritage of our People has been forgotten or lost due to explorers and even newly introduced diseases when those explorers came to the Island. The culture was nearly lost, if it had not been for those that saw the importance of saving what the remaining Elders remembered and worked to renew an interest in the younger people to learn their almost extinct language and previous way of life.

This book has much information in it. "Diversity is one of the signal points of the text: no one voice could tell the whole story, and no single approach defines what it truly means to be Alutiiq." (Quote from the back page.)

I am proud to be the Alutiiq owner of this book and all the information I have found so interesting about the lifestyles of my ancestors; nearly lost and still today are struggling to remain intact.

Looking Both Ways - Smithsonian and Alutiiq Heritage

Sunday, November 05, 2006

New Petroglyph Bag

I have been busy but I have not been totally missing out on beading!

I started this bag and am using dark colors. I like the look. I am using the same pattern I used before but instead of the dark red with gunmetal I am using dark blue matt with gunmetal. I plan to create a fringe of Druk brown tiger eye beads, amethyst faceted fire polish and I have black agate rounds I will try to work into it, if it looks good.

Hopefully, I will finish this project and post a finished product picture soon, if I am not too busy!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Tears Fell...

The story of Alutiiq Carvers traveling to France that I mentioned in a previous post. Sven Haakensen shares with The Alaska Daily News, details of their May visit to Chateau Musee in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Beadwork Slideshow

I just made this slideshow at and hope you enjoy it. I enjoyed doing it and it was pretty easy at!

Alutiiq Petroglyphs Beadwork

When I was a little girl there was never any talk about finding archeological sites on Kodiak Island, at least that I knew of.

In 1964, the year of the big earthquake, the village that I grew up in was washed away with the resulting tidal wave. After that devastation we found "arrow heads" washed up from under the ground in different places. It made me wonder what else we could have found. During that time noone was interested in finding out what else could have been found buried around there from years past of our people's history.

In recent years, interest in recovering artifacts and customs from the past is growing. Travel to other places in the United States and even to other countries which have exhibits of our Alutiiq heritage are also part of this restoration.

Dad told a story that was told to him of a stranger who came to Old Harbor. This unnamed man spent time with the villagers and gained their complete trust. The people accepted him, fed him and danced with him. One morning after a big dance/celebration they could not find him or any of their "sacred" masks, drums, regalia, and items that were used only during special Alutiiq celebrations. These items were always stored in a special barabara (sod house) which held only sacred items. That barabara was empty. Antique items including carved masks which were passed on to newer generations, all gone.

As I read of the recent trip to France that our Alutiiq carver's and artist's had traveled in the Alutiiq Hertage's Newsletter, I could not help but wonder if the guy that took all that stuff carried it off from here all the way to France. How did it all get there? We have heard of other different places Alutiiq artifacts have turned up including some items being stored at the Smithsonian.

One of the recent findings are the Alitak Petroglyph's. I haven't read the book Alitak Petroglyphs: Llirluni Cuuliraq Suuiut Alitak Patriitaq From the Old People" by Woody Knebel yet, but I want to. (I just ordered it!) I have done some reading online about petroglyphs though.

The beadwork shown in this post are the necklace and bracelet I created using pictures of the Alitak petroglyphs that I received when I contacted my Native Corporation, Koniag, Inc.

If you are interested to know more or even if you would like to support the Alutiiq Museum (which funds a lot of the work going on to preserve the Alutiiq culture) you can become a member by contacting them from their website. Alutiiq Museum. Their site is loaded with good information and you can even listen to Alutiiq words there. I especially enjoyed the Alutiiq songs sung by Phyllis Petersen. Sharing Words. Quyanna!

The language of the Alutiiq was dying but the Alutiiq Museum & Archaeological Repository suports and has been encouraging teaching these to school kids in the area. It is a very good thing. Personally, I never did learn to speak my parents language as they were taught that their children woud fare better in this world if we only spoke English. What parents don't want their kids to do good in this world? Dad passed away and I don't get to see my Mom as often as I would like to. If I attempted to learn the language it would be better to have someone to converse with. I also find it difficult to speak Alutiiq (or Sugpiat) --- my tongue and throat won't do the right things!

From what I know and have observed of the Alutiiq people, they were a gentle and kind people. It is not a wonder that their culture was almost completely wiped out before this recent surge in interest to preserve the Alutiiq heritage. I find myself to be proud of the people that have worked and continue working towards that end... or should I say beginning.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My Toothfairy Purse

I like to do peyote stitch. I learned to do this type of beading stitch from my sister, Kotya. Her daughter Jenni has a beads and beading patterns business, Polar Beads. Jennifer has been an inspiration to me since I first, finally sat down and picked up my first beading needle and beads after severe coaxing by my sister Kotya. (Well it was!) Check out Jenni's site for incredible patterns and great prices on beads!

I have shown this completed purse before online but wanted to include it here on this page, as I will be showing a lot more of the completed work I have done here. This is going to be a fun blog!

I am trying to upload the backside of this purse but Blogger is not cooperating today. I try to make my files smaller and they still don't work so that must not be the trouble.

I purchased the bead pattern design software from BeadcreatorPro a long time ago to work up some designs I had in my head. I have found the program to be frustrating to use. I know that the designer is working on it all the time and always am excited to download his latest fixes.

I know my niece, Jennifer of Polar Beads, uses Beadscape, which is a program that will run only on Mac's, so I could not purchase that software. It appears to work great to create patterns to print out for sharing or selling. Jenni has created so many beautiful designs. She has been sharing in the magazine Bead & Button for a while now. I love seeing her work in that magazine.

Ah ha! It worked! This is the backside of the Toothfairy purse. I had fun creating and beading this! The youngsters are holding up their missing teeth.

I'm not sure if I still have this pattern ready to print out but if you would like to bead it I can try to send it to you as a PDF file. Just email me!

I will be posting more of my work soon.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

IT BROKE Frustrations!

I have been deciding what stringing material to use for making a necklace using a "RARE Natural White MoMo Coral" of graduated branches and Austrian crystals that I had purchased. The coral are 99% white, but have a few hints of pink in them. I wanted to use white coral since I wanted to sell it as bridal jewelry.

My daughter Karla is a wedding coordinator (Karla DeLong Weddings) and as we were looking through a bride magazine we saw a necklace made with coral that was so stunning I decided I wanted to try to create one myself.

After doing some online reading about stringing material and getting my mind in a jumble about it all, I wrote to Beadweaver's Sue for suggestions on what type of stringing material to use. I appreciate the time she took to share her expertise with me and after thinking about it and playing around with the coral for months now, I sat down to sting it all together.

I decided to use SoftFlex beading wire size .019. It's suggested use is with glass, mineral and metal beads.

I have strung and taken it a part three times already and now I have to do it again! The sterling silver cap end I was using just broke! boo hoo Maybe I need to consider using some other way to end the necklace?

So anyway, back to the beading table...

Beadwork Blogging

I decided I need a place just for beads, just like in this house of mine. A place where only beads go. Easier to share projects that I have done.

So, here is where I will share pictures of beading.

I hope you enjoy and feel free to share your beadwork links and ideas and projects and give me pointers! I am a beginner at beading.