This weeks featured artist is Tawnia Littlesalt, a Navajo beader from Kayenta, Arizona. Tawnia began showing interest in beading when she was 11 years old. She would watch her mom, Ella Benally do beadwork at the kitchen table and have several looms laid out working simultaneously on each project. Her moms beaded belts were in high demand during that time period (early 90's).
How did your family get into beading?
I asked my mom how she learned beadwork, to my surprise she said my late grandma, Daisy Stanley of Oljato/Narrow Canyon, learned how to do beadwork while she was hospitalized in Colorado during the late 50’s and early 60's from the Sioux and Commanche women. It was their way of passing time during their long term stay at the hospital. Grandma finally came home after 3 years, recovering from the TB outbreak.
What was your first memorable experience being out on the road as a vendor?
In 2002 my mom and I went on a cross country road trip to hit the pow wow trail to sell our beadwork. I was intrigued by the different styles of beadwork. Appliqué beadwork is my favorite therefore I began making cuffs. I find joy in the art of creating and innovating custom pieces. I studied color palettes but I always find myself falling back to traditional colors.
Hopes & aspirations?
I hope my daughter Skye chooses to keep this legacy going. She would be the 4th generation beader in our family. Someday I want to conduct beading classes, I want to share this with anyone willing to learn. I'm always willing to offer techniques or tricks of the trade with fellow beadworkers.
For orders and inquiries, contact Tawnia thru her Instagram!
Now lets take a look at her bead work! As Tawnia mentioned above, she does custom orders, check out her awesome beadwork that she applied to these graduation tassels.
The mark of a good beader is that they can incorporate any design into their work, even for major sports teams.
and also for the aficionados of a younger generation.
One of my favorite pieces from Tawnia are her cuffs, nice work.
As you guys can see, loom work still stays in her family!
Thanks for sharing Tawnia!