Reynolda Pop-Up Studio: Beaded Bands

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Reynolda Pop-Up Studio: Beaded Bands

By Julia Hood, Education Coordinator | @LearnReynolda

To prepare for the activity in our March Family First workshop, we first went into George Catlin’s American Buffalo. Many of the artist’s portraits of Plains Indians reveal the way the sitters adorned themselves and objects important to them. For example, we noticed jewelry, skin decoration, painting on clothing and more. Some of the decoration included quillwork (decoration made from softened, dyed, and stitched porcupine quills). Other decoration was painted onto buffalo hides worn by the sitters. (Interesting fact: Men painted the narrative designs while women painted geometric patterns).

Next, we also looked at an image of Edward Hicks’ painting Peaceable Kingdom of the Branch (ca. 1826-30). In the middle ground (the area in the painting that is not meant to be the closest nor the farthest away), Hicks shows Lennie-Lenape (also called Delaware) Chief Tamanend and European settler and Quaker William Penn agreeing to a treaty. As part of the treaty, the Lennie-Lenape also gave Penn two wampum belts that are now in the collection of the National Museum of the American Indian. (You can find these here and here.)

In our workshop, we thought about personal decoration and made beaded bands similar to wampum belts. Participants had plans to wear them as bracelets, headbands and even to hang to decorate a room. For directions for how to make your own beaded band, check out this Pop-Up Studio video: 

Reynolda Pop-Up Studio: Beaded Bands

Download a printable grid to plan your own beaded band HERE.


Some workshop participants hard at work during the Family First workshop. We began with planning:

Then, the beading began.

Making progress.

Two finished projects: 

Enjoy other Reynolda Pop-Up Studios here


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