Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Beading Workshop with Samuel Thomas

Hand-beaded Strawberry by Ingrid Mida (under direction of Samuel Thomas) 2009

To the Iroquois people, the strawberry is one of the most important fruits because it has powerful healing properties. As well, the ripening of the strawberry is symbolic of spring's defeat of winter. As I listened to artist Samuel Thomas talk about the symbolism behind his work, I felt in awe of this talented man who for the last 26 years has presented lectures, demonstrations and workshops to revive Iroquois embossed (three-dimensional) beadwork.

During a one-hour workshop (part of the Embellishment Canadian Style symposium at the Royal Ontario Museum) last Saturday, I created this beaded strawberry under Samuel Thomas's patient direction. The materials were left-overs from Samuel's latest project which involved visits to such sacred places as Stonehenge, the Egyptian pyramids, and Niagara Falls. The red wool of the strawberry came from his Stonehenge project, while the gold beads, sand (used for filler) and the thread came from his Egypt project. This is one powerful amulet!

The work from Samuel Thomas' journey to sacred places will be on display at the Grimsby Museum in Ontario from December 10, 2009 to March 2010. And even though Samuel doesn't have a website and didn't seem very interested in publicity, I plan to write up a profile of this accomplished and important artist.