February 3rd, 2015 Last Updated on: February 3rd, 2015
Interview by Dawn Karima, Native American Culture Editor
“I enjoy beading,” Barb Ledoux smiles as she finishes the edging on a vibrant neon-toned set of earrings, “It makes me proud that someone appreciates it.” Her deft fingers fly across the intricate pair of earrings that she is making to add to a dynamic dance set. This Plains Cree Treaty 6 beadwork artist is clearly enjoying her expertise in making beadwork that will be added to the regalia of powwow dancers in the United States and Canada. She designs and beads dance sets, barrettes, earrings, bracelets and jewelry that are a dream come true for Powwow Dancers to wear. “I enjoy the tradition of keeping it alive.”
“My favorite memories of beading are finishing pieces that seemed too hard,” Barb Ledoux explains, “As I taught myself to bead, I got braver in designs, beads, stitches, colors.” She's humble, but her beading shows her incredible talent. Powwow dancers wear her work into the Circle, Natives accessorize everyday outfits with her unique creations, and she's attracting attention from collectors, tribal communities and fans of ornate jewelry. Owning a piece by Barb Ledoux is owning a piece of art. Originally from Mistawasis, Saskatchewan, Canada, Barb Ledoux beads with alacrity and a confidence that comes from artistic expertise. Now, she calls Maskwacis home,but she is sought after internationally as a specialist in designing powwow dance sets, beauteous beadwork and stunning accessories that are perfect for powwow dancers.
Yet, even as her reputation for solid pieces that balance traditional designs with innovative twists of color combinations is growing, this reflective beader remembers that, “I think the most important quality is to be humble.” “My beading is unique to me as I try put a twist to it that I don't often see on others' work,” she muses, pulling thread taut, “I see designs everywhere, it's just up to you to make them fit where you intend them to go.” Another row of tiny seed beads flattens into the tight weave of a powwow set. Barb Ledoux examines her work, making sure that it meets her high standards. “I have done simple pieces before, but it got boring, I thought there wasn't enough beading on pieces, so I started moving away from that area,” she says, clearly pleased by the clean lines and delicate composition of her dance set, “I think my favorite stitch is a 2 needle approach, although I like a little bit of everything.”
A final stitch and the earrings she's been edging are completed. They're breathtaking. “Thank you for taking the time to reach out to me,” Barb Ledoux says, “And thank you to all the readers that read this.” Now, this dance set is on its way to another Powwow Dancer, and Barb Ledoux is ready to meet the growing demand for orders from other Powwow Dancers, gift buyers and anyone else who enjoys beadwork. “I have a Facebook page, Peyak Iskwew, which I post everything on, or you can email me at [email protected],” Barb Ledoux adds, as she picks up her needle, threads it again and starts to make another Powwow Dancer's dream come true.
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