Sunday, January 10, 2010

Art notes: Lois Beardslee

Lois Beardslee is Ojibwa. Her art reflects a lifetime spent in northern Michigan, interaction with other tribal members, and the formal study of Native American art history. As a teenager, she was profoundly influenced by the work of Yvonne Walker-Keshick, with whom she worked at the Traverse City Indian Center. Her work incorporates traditional techniques, materials, and images drawn from her knowledge and experience. She gathers pigments for her paints from the earth in northern Michigan and finds design inspiration in ancient pictographs and Woodland Indian legends. She participates in the Great Lakes Indian Artists Association. Her involvement in the Native American Women Artists" project has prompted her to explore the themes of Native American culture, women, and water in her work. In addition to painting, the multi-talented Beardslee also specializes in beadwork and is a superb storyteller. Her presentations to audiences of all ages, tribal and nontribal, are filled with tales of Nanabush and other Woodland Indian figures, as well as personal reminiscences of her childhood. Her stories have recently been collected and recorded on audio cassettes as Leelanau Earth Stories.

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