Local Beadworker Offers Patterns to Community to Share Wealth of Knowledge

Photo by Luella Brien
Brocade Stops Black Eagle (right) explains how she assembled a martingale for a set of horse regalia as Marcel Alden (left) and her friend Nettie M. “My sister finished her set a couple years ago and I was really inspired by hers, but I was never able to learn the ropes,” Alden said. Alden and Nettie M. traced patterns for horse regalia and have plans to start working on sets for their children, “This will be one of my biggest, biggest projects,” Nettie M. Said.

Brocade Stop Black Eagle, a local former nurse who is known for her beadwork, decided it was time to share her wealth of knowledge with the community.

She offered up her patterns for horse regalia on Thursday, March 31 and cradleboards on February 28.

“We are a community surrounded by beadwork and everyone would have the resources to bead if they want to and so i’m just trying to share the wealth and the knowledge.”

Courtesy Photo
Brocade Stops Black Eagle discusses her pattern to make cradleboards in February.

This knowledge was not easy to come by, Stops Black Eagle said. Her and her sisters, and their late mother, Margo Stops, who taught her to bead, went on a quest to figure out how to produce some of the community’s most beautiful pieces, like cradleboards and horse regalia. From local trading posts to museums, the women searched high and low to learn how to design and assemble the projects they wanted to work on.

“I just wanted to share my patterns because I felt like when I started beading I didn’t have the resources for patterns,” she said. “Beading is already a lot of work and time consuming and expensive, so I felt like a way to help the community is to share my patterns and how I learned to do it.”

After the deaths of her mother and a sister, Stops Black Eagle said beading helped her heal.

“For me, with grieving, what really helped me was beading, so I really feel like it has a healing power and that’s what I want to share with the community. I feel like women will be happy and that creates a happy family and a better community. Everyone beads differently… but for me I just really believe that beading has a healing power and I feel that women do want to bead, and it’s all over in the Crow community.”

Stop Black Eagle added that over the years people have come to ask her how she made certain projects and it gave her the idea to start offering a class.

“I’ve had a lot of people ask me for patterns or how I’ve done a certain project, and I was like every month I can have people come in and learn,” she said.

She has already offered patterns for cradleboards and horse regalia, and later this summer Stops Black Eagle said she hopes to offer a weekly class to teach different skills for community members.

“I love helping people and I love how it makes people feel that they beaded something and I love that I can help them with that.”

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