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NATIVE AMERICAN BEADWORK
Native American Indian beadwork replaced the earlier sewn-on designs made of porcupine quillwork before the coming of the Whiteman. As glass trade-beads became more available, the design elements gradually changed from the larger, blocky quillwork designs. The earliest beadwork was sewn with sinew, linen or silk thread acquired from traders. There are many techniques used in attaching the beads such as lazy-stitch or lane-stitch, applique using one or two needles, peyote stitch, loomwork,wrapping and border stitching. The designs, colors and the materials onto which the beads are stitched, and with what they are sewn with, are factors in placing a date, and geographic or tribal origin on a piece. The beads themselves varied in size and dye lot depending on whether they were obtained from French, Spanish, English or Dutch traders. Most of the beads were Venetian or Czechoslovakian made. Many of the old colors are not available. Many old pieces combined different sizes and often ran out of a color and finished the design with a different color due to the difficulty of obtaining these beads. Some tribes, like the Comanche and Apache, who were at war for a long time with the Whites and never had trading posts established in their territory, developed distinctive beadwork designs using minimal amounts of beads. Other tribes such as the Crow, who were friendly with the Whites and had access to trading posts, developed very elaborate designs utilizing many colors of beads on a vast array of their possessions.