Teri Greeves and the Long Tradition of Beads

[caption id="attachment_718" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Fish Bracelet by Teri Greeves[/caption]

By Jill Soens

Classically beautiful, Teri’s bracelets are loom woven.  A soft piece of deer hide is sewn around a thin sheet of copper, followed by detailed and extremely complicated beadwork on the outside.  A soft, comfortable and flexible wearable piece of very traditional art, these bracelets are in a long tradition of using beads for self-adornment.

[caption id="attachment_667" align="alignleft" width="269"] Jasper Bead.[/caption]

Beads are believed to be both the most widely traded items in history and the first items used in the art of self-adornment.  A pair of seashell beads dating from  nearly 100,000 years ago are thought to be the earliest example of bead art.  This beautiful jasper bead comes from Eastern Pakistan and is dated from around 1000 BC.

The word “bead” comes from the Anglo-Saxon words “bidden” which means “to pray” and “bede” meaning “prayer.” Prayer beads are known worldwide to keep track of sequence prayers.  Beads are also used as talisman to protect the wearer and as an amulet to bring wisdom and good fortune.

[caption id="attachment_720" align="aligncenter" width="441"] Train Bracelet by Teri Greeves[/caption]

Early American Indians used bone, paint and porcupine quills for adorning their garments, bodies, and tipis. When humans began to harness the power of fire, glass beads were soon invented. Once imported to the  United States, many tribes adopted bead work as their own, including the Kiowa-Comanche Indians, Teri’s tribes of origin.

Each tribe had and, in many cases, still has, traditional designs. Changes to these designs would be introduced into the culture when the artist dreamed a new design. Teri dreams many new designs:  a cheerful yellow pick-up truck, roses twining beautifully around the wrist, a proud raven looking intelligent and transformational, a bright red cardinal greeting the new day.  Each design is a dream transformed from an ancient art into a modern story.

Witty, cheerful, beautiful, and comfortable to wear,  Teri’s bracelets continue thousands of years of self-adornment tradion and connect us with the past in dreams of beauty.

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