Blackfeet beader draws inspiration from talented children
By CAROL BRADLEY
Photos by DARRIN SCHREDER
On a typical evening, Jackie Larson Bread and her teenage daughter, Jade, will be working alongside one another in the living room of their Great Falls home – Jackie sewing a string of beads onto a square of smoked buckskin, Jade outlining a geometric horse with oil-based pencils – when all of a sudden, mother will turn to daughter and say “I’m stuck. What do I do with this?”
Chances are that, without the advice of her 16-year-old, Jackie would find a way to muddle through. After 30 years, she has more than mastered the art of beadworking. Her portraits of Blackfeet ancestors and time-honored tribal designs have earned her a pile of awards – more than 90 at last count – and wide renown in Native American art circles.
But probing the artistic instincts of her children is something she likes to do. There’s a bit of calculated wisdom in asking for feedback from Jade and her brother, Paris, 23, who’s studying media arts at the University of Montana. Paris now sees that being asked his opinion has helped him develop a sense of confidence about his own work, a feeling that what he thinks matters.
“Taking something that has no meaning and giving it meaning,” he said, “is what I’ve been taught my whole life.”
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