Sharing techniques with the next generation

This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Jill Kaasteen Meserve’s name.

It takes a steady hand and plenty of know-how to successfully complete a beading project inspired by Ravenstail robes and baskets.

On Saturday, about 15 children learned more about the process and started work on a tattoo-design beading project at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum.

Instructors Jill Kaasteen Meserve and Davina Cole Drones led the class and encouraged students along the way with step-by-step instructions and hands-on support.

“We are in a cool time right now that we can expand what beadwork is and what is a piece of indigenous art,” Kaasteen Meserve said as she showed her students examples of traditional and non-traditional pieces.

Drones said that she had started beading when she was young, and her interest has grown over the years.

Naisha Bathija, 9, and her mother Neelam work on a Ravenstail pattern beading project at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum on June 26, 2021. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

Naisha Bathija, 9, and her mother Neelam work on a Ravenstail pattern beading project at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum on June 26, 2021. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

“I really love this medium,” she told the class.

Students learned flat-stitch beading, which Drones explained must adhere to felt, leather or denim.

Students sketched a formline style design on felt with a marker before threading needles and starting to bead.

Kaasteen Meserve said this was the second time she had conducted a beading workshop at the museum.

“It’s so fun that we get to pass this on to the next generation,” Kaasteen Meserve said. “They approach things in a new way and can do a lot more than we expect.”

• Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4890.

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