Different stitching techniques can be used to help achieve different visual effects. Each tribe, or groups within a tribe, has their own set of symbols that either hold a deeper meaning or are simply for aesthetic purposes. In Annette Carlos’ work, there is evidence of patterning throughout, whether it’s through beading technique, imagery, or color on the hats. Look for the geometrical patterns found on the hat.
Placing the beaded designs on the familiar form of a store-bought hat with a football logo creates an interesting contrast with the personalized beadwork from the artist and the mass produced imagery and form.
What is it?
This is a baseball hat with beaded designs by artist Annette Carlos.
What inspired it?
Beading is an artistic skill used by many American Indian communities. As glass beads became available through European trade, as early as the 1600s, this art form was used to decorate a wide variety of objects, including clothing, moccasins, cradleboards, and accessories, to name a few. By the mid-1800s, beads were readily available to many tribes, and glass beadwork developed into the preferred decorative style, over other materials which were previously preferred, such as quillwork and handmade beads. The knowledge and history of beading techniques are often passed down from one tribe member to another, which has allowed for this expressive art form to continue in modern day practices.
Contemporary artists that highlight beadwork in their art display great diversity in the work they produce. Designs vary, with representational, abstract, historical, modern, religious, or decorative designs all being popular, no matter what the subject of the design is these artists utilize a high level of quality with both their materials and techniques.
How is it made?
In this case, Annette uses baseball hats as her canvas for this beadwork. For the triangular shapes, it’s possible that she used a lane stitch; this process has an initial stitch into the surface with multiple beads strung onto the string to create a row, and then is completed by a second stitch into the surface. For the colorful starburst in the image on the left, Annette may have used a 2-needle applique, which involves threading the beads onto the string and then laying the string onto the surface, either in a curved or straight line. Then, a second string is used to stitch the primary string in place. These stitches are usually made at every one to three beads.