The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center will offer regalia making classes from January to June 2013. The classes are open to the public and any level of sewing experience is welcome.
The Cultural Heritage Center will provide sewing machines for use in class, but students will need to bring their own materials including fabric, thread, needles, beads, etc.
“Now is a great time for people to start thinking about their regalia for the Family Festival in June,” said Kelli Mosteller, director, Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center. “This will give students the time to personalize their design and really make it an expression of their personality.”
Leslie Deer, an award-winning textile artist will be teaching the classes. Deer learned the art of traditional ribbon work and applique from Sara Franklin and Viola Spoon, renowned Sac & Fox artists. Deer has been practicing this technique for nearly 20 years.
“It is vital to our Native culture that our traditional arts are passed on,” said Deer. “I am so grateful to have had this art form shared with me, and it is my greatest honor to be able to share it with others.”
Students will have the opportunity to learn traditional Woodland ribbonwork techniques, including how to make pattern templates and how to apply the ribbonwork to garments. The ribbonwork can be applied to any specific portion of one’s dance regalia or traditional Potawatomi clothing. There will also be an opportunity to create dance regalia items including Potawatomi blouses, dance shawls, ribbonwork skirts and drawstring purses.
Deer is also a World Class Champion Fancy Shawl Dancer and has competed at powwows across the country. That journey has featured tours as a cast member of the world-renowned American Indian Dance Theatre, Dance Leader for the Mashantucket Pequot Nation’s Foxwoods Dance Troupe, and a cast member of the Oklahoma Fancy Dancers.
Deer has exhibited her regalia design aesthetic in several competitions from the Eiteljorg Museum’s Indian Art Market to the Annual Santa Fe Indian Market. She earned first place in Textile Categories at both markets.
The monthly calendar with classes and times is available on the Cultural Heritage Center website at www.potawatomiheritage.org.