Native Village Youth and Education News

March 1, 2009 Issue 195 Volume 4

Same Species Found at Both Ends of Earth

Beauty through beads
Condensed by Native Village

Missoula, Montana: Molly Murphy is an Oglala artist who grew up in Montana with a Salish influence. On March 7, Molly will enter two beaded art pieces in the Heard Museum's 51st Indian Fair & Market. This year's event is expected to draw 20,000 visitors and 700 artists to Phoenix, Arizona.

This won't be Murphy's first visit to the Heard's art market. She has previously been awarded  “judge's choice” in her category of diversified arts. 

Murphy specializes in beading on wool-covered boxes, a modern art expression of traditional parfleche rawhide containers. Much of her work reflects politics, history and identity. While her art work emulates splendor, she might also craft functional artwork.

Molly's first Heard contest entry is a sewing kit inspired by 19th century sewing boxes. Murphy has named the piece “She Sews a Flight of Fancy.” It's an intricately designed box with Lakota-inspired geometric designs and birds.

“It's elaborate and reflects the contrast between the sedentary act of sewing and how fast your imagination is going while you sew,” she said.

Her second contest entry is a dazzling blue cradleboard with a splash of multi-hued flowers. The floral beadwork is a tradition common to many tribes across the country. Each flower on the cradle's headboard can be lifted up and turned to reveal spaces reserved for photos. Molly envisions the spaces to hold pictures of the baby, parents and grandparents.

Murphy is also sewing hidden compartments in the cradleboard for documents, such as hospital footprints and bracelets. “I don't know if anyone will actually put a baby in something this elaborate, but my hope is someone will,” she said. “My feeling is someone will put it on a wall.

Molly has put together an exhibit called “Reservations Required” which met with much success at the Missoula Art Museum in 2008.  She also has art shows scheduled at Tulsa's Philbrook Museum and the Museum of Arts and Culture at the University of Montana. Also, the Montana Art Gallery Directors Association selected “Reservations Required” as a traveling show in 2009 and 2010.

Watch Molly work with her beads:


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