Sat Aug 15th, 2020
Jeremy Wade Shockley
The Southern Ute Drum
Kooteen Creations recently launched a beadwork challenge on their Facebook page, calling for artists to bead their State or Province. Southern Ute artist Edward Box III accepted the challenge.
“My cousin Hilda Burch tagged me on the posting, she said ‘I know someone who could bead this,’” Box explained. Once he was put on the spot, he had no intentions of backing down.
Their project is tagged #BeadYourState, and final selections are made through an online voting process.
“It took me a week and half to do that, between working and beading in the evenings,” Box explained. “I used a much larger size of bead to put it together for the deadline, which was the first of August. I beaded our state.”
“I was actually the only male beader as well,” Box added.
There are two other submissions for the State of Colorado listed on the Kooteen Creations Facebook page. People vote for their favorite design; Tuesday, Aug. 18 is the last day to vote. Once all selections are finalized, the individual pieces of beadwork will be merged together to create a colorful and unique beaded image of the United States and Canada.
“It will be featured on t-shirts and posters I believe,” Box said.
“I’ve been incorporating traditional design, and personal family photos into my beadwork,” Box explained. “I incorporated the Ute culture into this beadwork, the feather in the C symbolized our connection to the Creator; and the flower in the C depicts the Ute. The Utes took the rose from the Spanish, and that was another [example of] symbolism, it was associated with Ute. Originally our beadwork, before the Spaniards, was geometric designs, which I added to the border of the state; I incorporated it into the design.”
Box did not grow up creating his own beadwork, but he found his talent for it later in life, soon after moving back to his home in Ignacio.
“I actually started beading about five years ago,” Box said. “I never really learned until Culture started having beading classes. Joycelyn Dutchie taught me a lot, she held those classes. She would critic it, she was my mentor in my beadwork. She also taught me a lot about what beadwork meant to her.”
“She told me when I progressed in beading, I would get my own method of beading,” Box stated.
Once the beadwork challenge announces its selections, Edward Box III plans to make a circular medallion of his Colorado piece, and loan the beadwork to History Colorado in Denver for display in their current Ute cultural exhibit: Written on the Land.
“There’s only a few days left, be sure to vote on the Facebook page!” Box says.