Gifts of the River

Beaded Bandolier Bag By Martha Berry

• Winner: Best of Division, Traditional Beadwork and Quillwork, Cherokee Art Market, 2019.

• Winner: Jurors Award, Beadwork and Quillwork, Southeastern Art Show and Market, Sulfur, OK, October 2020.

Size: Approximately 36 in. H x 16 in. W x 3/4 inch D

Materials: Fresh water pearls, glass beads, wool stroud, cotton, silk. All materials and techniques are period authentic to early 19th century Cherokee beadwork.

Notes: This bandolier bag required 314 hours to produce and was completed 10/6/2019. It is available for purchase.

I believe that Cherokee culture, and Cherokee art, flows like a river. This river was here before us. It blesses us. We receive from it, we contribute to it, but the river just keeps flowing.

Like my pre-contact Mississippian ancestors, I have a soft spot for freshwater pearls. I can never get enough of them. In this bandolier bag, I have used three different kinds to celebrate their unique beauty. I also borrowed or adapted some of those ancestors' iconography to tell the story of the Cherokee cultural River.