Book Review: Native American Leather & Bead Crafting

The balanced symmetry, color usage and spiritual aspects of Native American art have a timeless appeal that continues to draw the interest of beaders and leatherworkers alike. Beginning with a brief introduction to Native dress, some basic techniques and supplies, the book moves on to a selection of thirty-six projects. These projects range from simple strung bead necklaces to more elaborate designs like the Chippewa-Inspired Beaded Jacket or a pair of Eastern Woodlands Moccasins. Despite the title, not all of the projects involve the use of leather as there are five introductory level bead-on-gourd projects and a number of designs stitched on readymade garments. Each carefully photographed project includes easy to follow step-by-step instructions, materials list and layout patterns.

This introduction to recreating native bead and leatherwork incorporates a nice blend of historical references with current materials. Oriented to the beginner, Cox’s technique for establishing the Lane Stitch is unusual enough to warrant the attention of more experienced beadworkers. It should be noted that there are several excellent books available including the classic North American Indian Arts by Mary Lou Stribling for those interested in going beyond the basics.

Further Reading on M&C