Jackie Larson Bread

Mirror Bag

7" L x 5 1/2" W
19" total length w/ fringe

As a young girl growing up on the Blackfeet Reservation, in Montana, Jackie Larson Bread taught herself the time-consuming and delicate art of beading by watching her grandmother.

Jackie attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico earning degrees in two-dimensional arts and museum studies.

Blackfeet beadwork always remained an interest and was incorporated into her painting and printmaking. While at IAIA, Jackie helped develop illusionary pictorial beadwork, where pictorial depth is created by using different graduated shades of beads.

Upon returning to Montana, Jackie worked at the Museum of the Plains Indian, where she began to study the magnificent beaded pieces housed in the museum.

Currently traditional plains ledger art, with its vibrant color and stylized depictions is the basis for much of Jackie's beadwork. Illusionary pictorial beadwork, as well as delicate Blackfeet florals and bold Blackfeet geometric design comprise the remainder of her current work. Images are hand-drawn and composed into intricately beaded bags, boxes, parasols, and other traditional utilitarian items.

Jackie continues to live in Montana and works full-time as a beadwork artist - attending several shows each year. Her art is included in many permanent and private collections including the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of the American Indian.

Jackie's beadwork has been acknowledged with many awards at the prestigious Heard Museum Show, in Phoenix, Arizona, the Santa Fe Indian Market, and the Northern Plains Tribal Arts Show in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

"I try to place myself in the frame of mind of a nineteenth century artist. Using a limited palette of colors, I strive to produce a beaded piece true to that time period. I use old stock beads or modern re-runs of old colors, to lend a feel of authenticity to each piece."

"The designs I use are primarily inspired by parfleche designs, lodge designs, and old style floral designs. The beaded perimeters are my signature style, virtually all of my pieces have some form of this border. (continued below ...)

"The colors are not all traditional Blackfeet combinations, although blues were heavily used by my people. The beads are size 14 and a small amount of size 11. The stitch technique is called applique, a two needle process where one needle carries the beads and the other is used to sew down the beads.

"Blackfeet people use this stitch exclusively. It is incredibly time consuming and the most complex stitch used in traditional beadwork. I like the detail that this stitch renders and the smooth tight appearance that it gives.

"This mirror bag is a Blackfeet parfleche design and was very influenced by Crow beadwork."

(A mirror bag was something akin to a woman's purse. Although, they typically held mirrors, which were prized possesions because they were rare, fragile, and unusual items obtained from traders at the forts.)

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