Brief Summary of Bead Expo 2000
Gabrielle Liese - How to Build a Collection.
The founder of the Bead Museum (now in Glendale AZ) took us through the basics of forming a collection, whether large or small, specialized or general. She assured us that the collector's "eye" is an important part of the process, but laid heavy stress on the documentation of items in a collection.
Anne Durand - Collecting Contemporary Glass Bead Art. The owner of Arts Afire Gallery, specializing in glass beads, and the organizer of the Designer's Showcase at Bead Expo 2000, Durand showed and discussed the work of several contemporary glass beadmakers. Her slides dazzled the audience with this new, creative art form.
Robert Gallegos and Paul Young - Legal and Ethical Implications of Collecting. These separate but related talks by the vice-president of the Antique Tribal Arts Dealers Association and a special agent of the National Parks Services focused on the legal and ethical problems involved in collecting. Important cultural property, especially sacred objects, should not - by law - be collected. The two talks forcefully brought home this message. Young stressed that if the bead collecting "world" did not regulate itself, legal authorities will.
Robert K. Liu - The "Other Side" of Collecting. The founder and editor of Ornament magazine presented a case for the responsible collecting of beads and related objects. He suggested that all sides be accountable and endorsed the idea proposed by Pete Francis in 1987 that as museums have as many of the same bead that they could ever need to study they be allowed to sell the surplus to the collecting public.
Marina Ochoa - The Rosary: Prayer of the People. The Director of the Office of Historic Patrimony of the Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe presented an historical and devotional look at the Roman Catholic rosary. The history of prayer beads was traced, and it was noted that the Church was doubtful about the legend that connected St. Dominic with the introduction of the rosary. The functions of the prayer beads in the devotion to Mary and the life of the church were detailed.
Jill McKeever Furst - The Emperor's Clothes: Power, Adornment, and Body Heat in Ancient and Modern Mexico. As a researcher and author, Furst explained that adornment in ancient Mexico (especially in the Aztec world) was strictly regulated according to the status of the person using it. Beads were considered living things because the process of drilling them produced heat, a sign of life. Human birth was also viewed as the drilling down of the child into the world, the only technological symbolism in Mexican mythology. A stone (ranging from jade to a plain stone painted green) was placed in the gullet of the dead and recovered after cremation to be buried, as it embodied the life force of the dead.
David Dean - Beads and Beadwork of the Native American Church. Beadworker and researcher Dean discussed the importance of ceremonial objects to the ritual of the Native American Church. The uses of seeds as beads and designs based on the sacred peyote plant were also highlighted. He explained that among Native Americans the term "peyote stitch" is strictly reserved for objects to be used in Native American Church ceremonies. The term "gourd stitch" is strongly recommended for the same stitch used for non-religious purposes.
Paul Gonzales Rainbird - Crossing the Line: Perspectives on Presenting Ceremonial and Cultural Culture. As he is closely associated with several museums and museum organizations, Rainbird made a passionate plea for the sanctity of Native American-made objects, whose value is underappreciated or totally overlooked by those who do not share in that culture. While there are no objections to collecting objects made for other purposes, ritual and ceremonial objects should be returned by museums and collectors to their rightful stewards.
Randall White - Technology of Bead and Female Amulet Production in Ice Age Europe: Social and Cosmological Implications. The well-known archaeologist from New York University took his audience back in time as much as 40,000 years ago to look at the technologies and the styles of human adornment at the beginning of the modern human race. Beads were being made and sewn on clothing long before drills were invented (they were gouged to make holes). Small female figures, apparently serving as amulets, were important types of beads at least as far as 28,000 years ago.
Mildred Constantine - A Bead - A Thread. From some six decades as an art historian, including a distinguished career at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Constantine presented an array of modern beadwork that stretches the limits of this traditional craft. Items included hangings, sculptures and other installations, some of them of monumental proportions, yet all made with humble seed beads.
Tony Jojola - From Ancient Trade to Contemporary Glass Arts: A Continuum of Native American Expressions. The Lead Instructor at the Taos Glass Arts and Education Program, Jojola is bringing his knowledge of glassworking to a completely new audience. His mentoring-through-glass is bringing a fresh world and sometimes a new life to Native American children, including many of whom are judged "at-risk youth." The magic of glassworking has already turned some young lives around and as the program expands no doubt will bring new work and new hope to the people involved in it.
Peter Francis, Jr. - Bead Revolutions: The Role of Beads in Technological change. The illustrated text is here.
But, folks, there was a lot more. For example:
There is just no way to describe it. You've got to be there for yourself.
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