Beaded Bandolier Bag By Martha Berry

• Winner: First Place, Beadwork, Cherokee Homecoming Art Show 2012

Materials: Czech glass beads on wool stroud, cotton, silk ribbon, wool yarn. To the extent possible, all materials are period authentic to c. 1820.

Size: Approx. 38" H x 16" W x 1" D

Completion: August 4, 2012, requiring 299 hours


Dedicated to the Tsa-la-geeks

There is a small army of folks who strive daily to preserve the Cherokee spoken and written language. Within it is an even smaller group that is often fondly referred to as the Tsa-la-geeks. That is a play on words, combining Tsa-la-gi (the phonetic pronunciation of the Cherokee word for Cherokee) and the English word geek. This group, employed by the Cherokee Nation, is dedicated to spreading the language, and the tools to use it, via the Internet and on many modern electronic devises.

This bag is dedicated to them, and to Roy Boney and Joe Erb in particular. Roy and Joe are good friends and I admire their use of the most modern tools to save an ancient language.

The design of this piece incorporates the Cherokee syllabary characters for "ka" and "ma." Those characters make up the Cherokee word for butterfly, pronounced "kamama." The characters are hidden in the design of the strap, and shown clearly on the pouch. Thus, I have used a very old art form to teach you just one Cherokee word.

To the extent possible, all materials are period authentic to the early nineteenth century, the golden era of Cherokee and Southeastern Woodlands beadwork.