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Maxine Malone (Onondaga) - July 1999

The Highlight of the Month program at The Indian Craft Shop focuses on a particular craft area, region or artist family/group. Our aim is to illustrate the diversity of tribal groups and the wide variety of artistic expressions and traditions in the country today.


Maxine Malone is an Onondaga beadworker who does traditional Northeastern beadwork. She resides on the Onondaga Nation in Northern New York, where she was born and raised. Maxine began beading when she was 11 years old as a student at the Onondaga Nation School. As she grew up she continued beading as a hobby, making mostly smaller items. With the encouragement of her family she continued to devote time to her work. As Maxine's own family has grown to include six children, she continues to make all of their traditional clothing to wear to the Onondaga Longhouse Ceremonies. Local demand for her work has grown, and her art has now developed into a business. Northeastern beadwork is very different from beading traditions in other parts of the country. Curvilinear floral and pictorial designs are common, as opposed to the geometric designs usually associated with Plains beadwork. The technique of "raised", or dimensional, beadwork is another distinctive feature of work from this area. Instead of being sewn flat on the surface of the material, the threaded beads are sewn so they form a raised curve off the surface of the material. Maxine makes use of several types of beads in her work, often using larger decorative beads as the center of flowers or other designs. She does all of the sewing on her pieces, whether a small purse or a traditional dress. Maxine Malone's work has been in the New York State Fair, The Iroquois Indian Museum, and the Onondaga Nation Art, Music, and Cultural Festival.

                                                              ©The Indian Craft Shop 1999