The piece that started my quilting career. Sky Woman's Gift. Sold to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in 2000.
This was my first King size quilt. I had been taking classes on how to use a new Bernina 180 embroidery machine for quilting. I had a 4' by 6' piece of fabric that I took along as I learned new threads, feet, stitches and quilting techniques. I used by Seneca culture to draw upon for the theme of my practice piece. When learning applique, I selected batik fabrics that had maple leaves and pine needles. Maple and pine are important to us. We have a ceremony for maple and we have a Tree of Peace, a pine tree. When I learned stippling, I mimicked maple leaves and pine needles. In the maple tree, I did a section of maple leaf stippling with each leaf less than an inch. I worked for 8 hours doing those leaves! When I learned chennile technique, I used it for the bark in the tree. Then I learned about sashing, so I added a strip of batik but twisted it and puckered it because I wanted it to be water like the fabric. I thought about our Creation Story by this time. When it came time to add a border, I decided to depict the sky world, so I used a fabric that looked like a starry night and depicted the phases of the moon. I used a luminescent thread for moonlight. I used the same thread to depict Sky Woman's face. She is blowing the seeds for the plants she brought to earth. The piece got bigger as it went along and took over a year to finish.
I entered it in the New York State Fair art show and won first place. The Smithsonian asked to take pictures and came back after a year to buy it. I didn't get my asking price because there panel of quilters and art collectors gave feedback: I was unknown artist and my quilting was not that good. Fine with me. I was thrilled to have my first quilt purchased by the new museum as their first contemporary quilt in their collection. It has never been shown but you can search my name in their website for more pictures of the piece. I had to go to their secure facility in Maryland after they bought it because I learned about attaching a sleeve for hanging later! So I was sitting there very carefully hand stitching the sleeve so that people could see I improved at least by that time!
Grand Entry. Sold to the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, IN. It is a remarkable quilt for several reasons, a true treasure. This was my first quilt finished on a long arm quilting machine. I used an Amish quilt top I bought at an auction for the canvas. It is a pretty Broken Star and used plain fabrics, which I don't use at all. I have a tiny amount of solid fabrics in my inventory and certainly no solid white. But I wanted to see my stitching for my first time on a long arm. Since I was renting time at $25 an hour, there was also an incentive to complete the piece rather quickly. But I didn't know what I was going to do at first. I don't draw out my images first, I "see" the images in the fabric. The first row was the Flag Bearers in the white section. If you look at the detail, I included many tiny nuances in these figures which are only 7 to 9 inches tall. My stitches were tight and I was working right to left. It took a couple hours just to do the first row. Then I saw the whole story all at once. As I progress through the quilt, I used my memories of over 30 years as a fancy dancer to pull into my 'drawing'. Then I thought to use the squares to portray the drum groups. The border then made sense to use for showing the scenes outside the pow wow arena, the emcee, sound man, Indian Taco Booth!, and spectators. By the time I came to the fancy dancer row, I was really whipping that long arm around! I was humming and dancing while sewing. I couldn't move fast enough as all my fond memories of pow wows over the years came to life in this piece. I finished stitching the entire quilt in 12 hours! I now have my own long arm machine and I am grateful to the Eiteljorg collectors for purchasing this true original art.
Available for sale. $7,000. Great Feather Dance. approx. 100" by 110". First Place and Best of Division 2012 Eiteljorg Museum Indian Art Market. Stitching depicts part of one of our longhouse ceremonies. Ribbon work done by my daughter, Naquaqua Lone, who took our trademark woven-ribbon ribbon shirt designs to an artistic level. She mirrored the ribbon patterns to represent male and female. A gustoweh, calgary hat and brooches within the red 'shirt' fabric are typical parts of our longhouse outfits. The women are dancing around the two male singers facing each other on the bench in the middle. I won't depict our sacred objects, but we know that they are singing with turtle rattles pounded on the bench in front of them. We don't dance in a real circle, we turn slightly to the right or left as we follow the head woman. This meandering is complimented by the braided ribbon around them, three colors for the corn, beans, and squash, The Three Sisters. The women sit on one side of the longhouse at the top of the quilt, with their take home buckets stashed under the bench. The men are sitting on the other side, seen at the lower left. The big kettles of food are placed so the women can go around them before we serve everyone. By the cookhouse in the upper left, you see the kettle over the fire, corn pounding, corn sifting and a man carrying wood.
video coming soon
This is Unity. It is a commissioned piece I made for the Native American Finance Officers Association. The used it for a raffle to raise money for their scholarship fund. They raised over $2,500 in their 2 day conference. I had so much fun creating this. It was going to be about half its size, but I got carried away! I wanted to depict the impact across Indian Country that these dedicated people work hard to cause. Again, I just hand-guided my long arm quilting machine to draw all these images. Again, no drawing out first, just coming from my imagination. There is a ground breaking ceremony and ribbon cutting ceremony on the north and south points, respectively. Then I created images from the different nations around Turtle Island. There is a video posted on YouTube and you can click on the link below. It is too big to upload to this page.