Bandolier Bag: Best of Both Worlds

Best of Both Worlds

Beaded and Embroidered Bandolier Bag by Martha Berry

Winner: Second Place, Cultural Items, Cherokee Art Market 2008

Materials: Glass beads and cotton thread on wool stroud, cotton, silk. To the extent possible, all materials are authentic to the early 19th century.

Size: Approx. 36”H x 16”W x 1”D


Dedicated to my grandmothers:

• Mattie Eaton

• Ethel Felt

The most famous 19th century Cherokee bandolier bag was a gift from Sam Houston to then-General Andrew Jackson. That bag is one of several made using a combination of appliqué beadwork and embroidery.

When I was just a little girl my non-Cherokee grandmother taught me to embroider. It was one of the greatest bonding experiences of my life and created a connection between the two of us that comforts me to this day.

I never had the pleasure of knowing my Cherokee grandmother, as she had passed away before I was born.

Beadwork has been my way of connecting with her and with all of my Cherokee ancestors.

The first time I saw a photograph of a Cherokee bandolier bag made using a combination of beadwork and embroidery, I knew I had to make one and dedicate it to those two very special women.

So, Mattie and Ethel . . . I love you, thanks for everything. mkb