Inspired by Ancestors, Bead Artist Driven to Empower Women One Earring at a Time

New to the Native American fashion industry, Collins Provost is a Cheyenne River Lakota bead artist who focuses on creating woman’s floral earrings. Inspired by her ancestors, Provost took up the art of beading over 10 years ago when her daughter Jaela was born.

“It is custom among the Lakota people to make our children their first pair of moccasins,” says Collins Provost. “My daughter’s journey into this world inspired me to dig deep and teach myself how to bead.”

Collins Provost and her daughter, Jaela

Glass-cut beads have played a special role among American Indian people since the arrival of Europeans centuries ago. Over the years, it has adapted in its usage and expression and can be seen in Indigenous cultures throughout the Western Hemisphere.

To this day, beads and the artists who use them play a special significance in American Indian cultures. From items of clothing to fashion accessories, beads have a presence in fashion cultures throughout the world. With the growing interest in American Indian culture from the wider world, the demand for authentic material continues to expand inspiring a new generation of artists.

Today Provost’s focus is a twist to the norm among Lakota beadwork. She enjoys making floral earrings. And although seen in many Native communities, floral patterns aren’t a regular pattern or design traditionally practiced among the Lakota.

When asked why florals, she expresses, “I love flowers. It’s the one thing that makes me feel feminine and strong.”

You can view Collins Provost’s work at B.Yellowtail or follow her on Instagram at @collinsjordan.

Read more of Collins Provost’s exclusive feature in the next issue of Native Max Magazine, coming out January 2017. 

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