Old style Iroquois Beaded Birds Often referred to as “Whimsy’s” by antique dealers and collectors of early pieces, many Iroquois bead workers continue the tradition today. “Whimsy” is perhaps not the best description given the amount of work and artistry that goes into this kind of beadwork. It’s an old art form particular to Iroquois called raised beadwork because it is rather three dimensional and “raised” (usually several layers) as opposed to typical flat appliqued beading. Mohawk and Tuscarora bead workers are most known for this kind of work since the late 1800’s. They created elaborate souvenir pieces to sell to wealthy Victorian tourists near Niagara Falls and Montreal and continued into the 1930’s. Similar pieces are still sold to tourist at county fairs and the New York State Fair. What began as elaborate pin cushions has evolved into quality décor for the home and Christmas ornaments. You’ll find two styles among our beaded birds: Wings up are Tuscarora style and wings down are Mohawk style.
These particular pieces are made by Mohawk and Tuscarora artists who work at the trading post. Ronnie Francisco, Mohawk from Akwesasne, and Crissy Hardison, Tuscarora from here at SKN territory.
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