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Trading Post Times

Page 2

G

REAT

B

EADWORK

. A L

OST

A

RT

?

Great beadwork flourished in

the nineteenth century, particu-

larly among the Sioux, Chey-

enne, Nez Perce, Ojibwa and

others.

Purses, moccasins, saddle blan-

kets, dresses, leggings and shirts

were adorned with the magnifi-

cent trade beads introduced by

Europeans, and painstakingly

portrayed in age old tribal de-

signs.

Today, you have to reach back

across time to find truly great

American Indian beadwork.

Certainly there are contempo-

rary beadwork artists, but their

work simply does not match the

feel, the color, or the boldness

of work past.

Given the intense labor in-

volved in these special crea-

tions, one can understand why

the great era of beadwork has

passed us.

As the rarity of classic bead-

work increases, so does its col-

lectability.

Today, the price of great bead-

work is beyond the reach of

most people. At River Trading

Post we search far and wide to

find great old pieces that are

within the reach of many col-

lectors.

Visit our galleries, or our web-

site to see our beadwork collec-

tion.

Images Left: 19th century Sioux

Teepee Bag.

Above: Turn of century Nez Perce

boy’s vest.

O

PINION

: W

HAT

E

VER

B

ECAME

O

F

O

LD

F

ASHIONED

I

NTEGRITY

?

Over the years, most of the people we meet are wonderful, and we enjoy visiting with, and doing business with, most everyone. Occasion-

ally, however, we run into some pretty shady characters.

There was the artist who left our gallery with a customer, to sell his art out of his trunk, “for a better price,” and then there was the creepy-

looking guy coming in trying to sell burial artifacts.

The folks who have come in, seen a sculpture or a pot, spent an hour asking about the artist, the material, and the process, and then asked

us for the artist’s contact information so they can buy direct (for a better price) have numbered in the hundreds.

And yet, as aggravating as that can be, we always try to keep our humor – and be polite.

We frequently invite artists to sell their own work and retain the proceeds from their sales, and we sometimes invite other quality dealers to

do special exhibits in our galleries. Thankfully, most artists and dealers we have hosted have treated us – and our visitors -- fairly, and hon-

estly.

Recently we experienced what we consider a lapse in integrity. We invited someone to exhibit work in our place for the very first time. We

advertised and promoted the event, provided food and wine for the opening, and reworked our entire gallery to showcase the exhibit. The

show was beautiful, and we drew hundreds of visitors.

All was going well until the show came to a close. Apparently, our guest contacted some of our customers and offered them items that had

not sold at the show -- at prices far below fair market value. The

exact same customers

to whom, just hours earlier, he insisted on the integrity

and firmness of the posted prices.

We pride ourselves in holding the highest ethical standards by treating our valued customers, our artist friends, and our fellow dealers in a

fair and square way, and we subscribe to all the standards set forth by the Indian Arts and Crafts Association (IACA) and the Antique

Tribal Arts Dealers Association (ATADA).

Sadly, artists, dealers and collectors who take advantage of these kinds of “out of the trunk” offers don’t appear to understand that these

tactics simply devalue the art, not only for themselves, but for all of the people who create, appreciate and value one of America’s greatest

natural resources…American Indian art.