Quarantine Creations: Spotlighting Student Artists

In today’s time of staying home and social distancing, many people are turning to creative outlets as ways to not only pass time but also to express themselves. Many of the students here at Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) have been using beadwork as an outlet and pass-time while home during quarantine.

Photo of bead edged handbag curtesy of Velma Turner

Velma Turner (Comanche) is a senior in the HINU Indigenous and American Indian Studies (IAIS) program and has spent much of her time at home beading. Turner says her inspiration for her work comes from seeing her mother wear beadwork as a child. She later learned how to bead from friends and now enjoys beading lanyards and wristlets as well as doing edgework on purses.

During quarantine she was able to have more time to bead but unfortunately her favorite bead store at home closed which she says didn’t stop her from beading. Turner sells some of her beadwork when she’s not donating it to the local band to help fundraise. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram under velma_turner.

Beadwork Pictures curtesy of Aiyana Jack

Aiyana Jack (Ihanktonwan Dakota and Hunkpapa Lakota) is also a senior majoring in IAIS and has plans to get her masters degree in Education. Before transferring to HINU, Jack was majoring in Studio arts and had a creative background. Her inspiration for beading originated from her grandfather who was an excellent beader, but she now says that her inspiration for her works comes from the people, “It’s so amazing to have not only Indigenous people, but all people regardless of their background, rock my creations.”

Being home, she has been able to bead more but says that she has been experiencing a kind of writer’s block, or “ beader’s block.” She is currently working on a website where she can sell her work but for the time being you can find her under Forever Flowering Beadwork on Facebook and Instagram.

Photo of beaded regalia set curtesy of Meya Rojas

Lastly, Meya Rojas (Ojibwe of the White Earth Ojibwe Nation) is a junior in the HINU Environmental Science Program. Rojas has been beading since she was 5 years old when she was first taught at a tribal school. She is inspired by how, with beadwork, she can completely be herself and “let her creative side take over.” Rojas makes everything from earrings and lanyards to popsockets and dance regalia, but her favorite things to bead are gifts for her family. She says she pours her heart into her work to show her family how much she loves them.

Since quarantine, she says she has had more time than ever to make her art and she is so happy to be able to see people having and/or wearing her work. Rojas sells her work and also takes custom orders. You can find her on Facebook at Meya Rojas and on Instagram @meyarojascreations.

If you’d like to support these artists you can “like” or share their work on social media or, if you can, purchase some beadwork from them. There are so many ways to support small artists. If you know someone you think should be spotlighted or you would like to be spotlighted, email ​indianleader10@gmail.com.

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