University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Fun Friday Image of the Week

August 20, 2010

Lakota Sioux Beaded Sneakers
Sneakers (92-20-1A,B), Made by Mrs. Ollie Hawk, Brule Lakota (Sioux), Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota

The Lakota people have been known for their fine beadwork since the late 19th century. In addition to items such as pipe bags and moccasins which were the traditional surfaces for beading, beadwork began to be used to decorate other objects introduced during the reservation period such as gloves and suitcases. This use of “non-traditional” surfaces for beading continues into the present. A beautiful example is this pair of generic canvas sneakers done by Mrs. Ollie Hawk in 1992. Dental floss is used to attach the beads to the canvas in the technique known as “lane-stitch”. Other contemporary objects that have become surfaces for beadwork include baseball caps, eyeglass cases, and cellphone carriers.

Thanks to American Collection Keeper, William Wierzbowski for information about these lovely sneakers.

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