Artifact of the Month
Iroquois Raised Beadwork Frame
Donated by Jim Vaughan
This decorative frame belong to Gertie Copening (1881-1962) of Hindsville (Madison County). The message on the postcard in the frame reads, "May Christmas peace keep winter from the heart."
The frame is an example of Iroquois raised beadwork, a tradition originated by the Iroquois in western New York in the late 1700s. The beadwork became popular in the 1800s, when frames, pincushions, needle cases, and other items were sold as souvenirs and keepsakes at fairs, exhibitions, wild west shows, and other venues. Contemporary artists continue this tradition of beadwork today.
Iroquouis Indian Museum's beadwork webpage
Iroquois Beadwork: A Haudenosaunee Tradition and Art by Dolores Elliott, in Preserving Tradition and Understanding the Past: Papers from the Conference on Iroquois Research, 2001–2005, edited by Christine Sternberg Patrick; published by the New York State Museum