Budder loves, eager to learn beadwork

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
08/03/2020 09:00 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Beadwork artist Gabrielle Budder, of Claremore, is the Cherokee Phoenix’s quarterly artist for the third quarter. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Beadwork made by Cherokee artist Gabrielle Budder. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – Beadwork artist Gabrielle Budder is fairly new to making beaded jewelry but excels at the art and is eager to learn more about it.

She said she had an opportunity to learn from her grandmother when she was younger, and even though she was interested, she didn’t take the time to learn.

It wasn’t until she began attending Northeastern State University in Tahlequah two years ago that she became interested again in learning how to bead via her sorority, Alpha Pi Omega.

“They (sorority sisters) were the ones who actually first started teaching me how to make earrings,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in arts and crafts, but it was my sorority that helped me get started with my beading. And we all do it as a group, beading together, and we all have gotten really invested in it actually.”

The sorority is involved in numerous cultural events, and she and her sisters gather to bead and create other artwork to sell to raise funds for the sorority, the first Native American sorority in the country. Alpha Pi Omega also hosts beadwork classes and supplies beads to its members.

Budder, 21, of Claremore, is now creating beadwork through commissions.

“I haven’t really started up a store, but I plan on doing that soon. At the moment people see my work and then they say, ‘can you make this?’ I try my best to do it,” she said. “I guess it’s really been spread by word of mouth about my work and how I do things, and I do Facebook posts. I’m thinking about making a separate beading (Facebook) page, but it’s taking a while.”

Budder keeps busy with English and media studies classes. Along with those two majors, she is working on a Cherokee language minor. She said she typically is commissioned to create beaded earrings.

“I’ve made one that was a transgender-type spiral token, and then he commissioned me again for another one,” she said. “I’ve made tiny earrings for little girls that have their ears pierced. Those are some of the things I do.”

She said she’s always looking to learn other arts. She has learned basketry and wants to learn pottery. She has been introduced to shawl making, but said the fabric is sometimes hard to obtain. She also paints and credits her father for introducing her to basket making and painting.

“We have very different styles, but he really inspired me to do any type of artwork,” Budder said. “He always wants his work to be really realistic, but I’m more of an abstract type of artist, so we clash on those type of things. He’s been really supportive of me being adventurous, actually.”

She said she’s eager to become a better beader by asking other artists how they create. “I’ve been giving a lot of advice from a lot of different beaders.”

As a Cherokee Nation intern, she went to Cherokee, North Carolina, the home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. While going through a Cherokee village, she talked to a bead artist who was using larger beads to make a belt.

“I asked her, ‘how do you do that?’ She gave me a recording of how to start making the belt myself,” Budder said. “A piece of advice I got there was, ‘nothing is perfect.’ A lot of our beading has to do with odd numbers, and that’s because we don’t believe there’s ever anything truly perfect in the world, but we keep things balanced and we work with it. And that’s what I like about beading, too. It’s that concept behind it.”
About the Author
Will Chavez is a Cherokee/San Felipe Pueblo Indian who has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 25 years. During that time he has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a writer, reporter and photographer for the Cherokee Advocate and Cherokee Phoenix newspapers. 

For many years h ...
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will Chavez is a Cherokee/San Felipe Pueblo Indian who has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 25 years. During that time he has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a writer, reporter and photographer for the Cherokee Advocate and Cherokee Phoenix newspapers. For many years h ...

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