Women at work

I’d like to imagine Ida Claymore in this picture, among her artfully adorned sisters. Claymore was a Plains artist with tremendous beading skills and a fancy cursive signature. When a commercially made leather and metal suitcase somehow came into her possession, she must have thought: I can make this so much better! So she gathered up deer hide and spent, what—months? years?—applying glass beads, using her skillful fingers. Then she attached the hide to the bag. Yes, the babies were crying. Yes, she had dinner to cook. But still she made the time to bead this bag. In doing so, she showcased an art form honed over hundreds of years of Plains and Woodlands tradition. The scene she depicted is of an accomplished horseman and a highly skilled camp keeper and artisan. Could it be Claymore, herself?—Diane Richard, writer, March 1


Image: Lakota young women, Manderson, South Dakota. Photograph courtesy of Arthur Amiotte.

“Women at Work” celebrates Women’s History Month by highlighting female artists in Mia’s collection.