Tilda St. Pierre - Lakota Crafts

Beaded piece (red beaded background with green border, blue and yellow pattern) by Tilda St. Pierre.Lakota artist Tilda Long Soldier St. Pierre of Kyle started learning beadwork at age ten from her mother’s aunt, beginning with loom work and moving on to sewing beads on leather. At the time, she and her cousin resented the time spent indoors learning crafts when they’d rather have been outside playing, but now she appreciates that early education. 

Tilda worked with Stephanie Sorbel on several different projects, starting with a Lakota doll. Stephanie learned to make the dress pattern and sewed traditional designs in tiny beads on the dress and leggings. As her own touch, she made a miniature cradleboard to go with the doll. She then made two quilled projects, a purse with a design of horses and a wrapped-quill fringe, and a woman’s pipe bag with floral quillwork.

Tilda says she does not do quillwork herself, because she has not felt called to do so in dreams, but she can teach the techniques. Preparing the quills first requires finding a dead porcupine, then plucking the quills, washing and soaking them to remove the natural oils so the dye will take, then dyeing and flattening them for sewing.

Stephanie has also made a second doll, in a traditional Crow outfit, and her next project is a full-size cradleboard with floral quill designs, so it looks like she will be continuing the chain of tradition passed to her by Tilda.

Two women (Tilda St. Pierre at left and Stephanie Sorbel) sitting. Sorbel presents beaded lakota doll.




St. Pierre on the left, Sorbel on the right.