Meet the Artists
Delina White is an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and lives on the Leech Lake Reservation. She has a BS from Bemidji State University in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management, with a minor in Management Information Systems.
On behalf of her traditional Woodland style beadwork, Delina is a recipient of:
- 2017 5-Wings Arts Council Master Artist;
- 2017 Native Arts & Cultures Foundation Mentor Fellowship;
- 2015 Folk and Traditional Arts award from the MN State Arts Board;
- 2015 Native Arts & Cultures Foundation Fellowship;
- 2015 Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Technology / Equipment award;
- 2014 Five Wings Arts Council Community Arts Leadership award;
- 2010 Bush Foundation Fellowship.
"I learned to create functional art using the traditional methods and designs reflective of the natural surroundings of the woodlands, onto apparel and accessories such as moccasins, bags, and garments for wearing. The integrity of my artwork is important because it is a reminder of the Anishinaabe / Ojibwe history and its connection to my ancestors.
I work with raw materials such as hand tanned leather, bones and shells that first arrived in the Great Lakes area in the 1600s to 1800s, and through contact with the voyageurs in Minnesota which include: cotton, wool fabric, ribbon, glass beads, sequins, brilliant silver, brass buttons, coins, and mirrors.
Lavender Hunt is an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and lives on the Leech Lake Reservation. She is Delina's eldest daughter, received her degree in Culinary Arts from the LeCordon Bleu College of Minneapolis. She holds a MN Eminence Licensure for teaching American Indian Language and Culture. She has held the titles of Miss Leech Lake and Jr. Miss Leech Lake, and is a champion dancer in both United States and Canada in the categories of Contemporary and Old Style Jingle Dress. Lavender finds inspiration in the world around us; the spirits that are within the trees, the animals, the Thunder-beings.
“Life gets so hectic and I can really appreciate that moment when the northern lights come out to dance. It’s a humbling experience; a time to reflect on the beauty of life and how splendid the Creator made everything. To show my gratitude and admiration for life’s spiritual beings I use my beads and sequins in the way that my grandmothers taught me. I like to use my work for the purposes of kinetic art that creates movement. My artwork is made to be worn and used. For example, I am especially pleased when I can make a little girl’s first jingle dress, knowing that I have made an heirloom piece. The traditional style of my beadwork is influenced by my mother and my grandmother, combined with a more contemporary use of colors and materials with my own original designs.
The Woodland skirts project is giving me an opportunity to work with my mother and sister as collaborating partners. It’s a time to share ideas and build upon our individual technical skills. It’s also a very personal journey for me, one of healing and gratitude to all of the women in my life who have taught me the ways of Anishinaabe bimaadizowin (living a good life). I remember my first ribbon skirt and how important it was for my grandmother to make it for me. I felt beautiful in my skirt, and I want other women to feel beautiful in their skirts, too. This project is my way of giving back for all that I have learned.”
Sage Davis is an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and lives on the Leech Lake Reservation. She is the younger of Delina's two daughters. She has a Bachelor degree in Communications, Media and Rhetoric from the University of Minnesota – Morris, and a Master degree in Education from the University of Minnesota – Duluth. Sage has also held the titles of Miss Leech Lake and Jr. Miss Leech Lake, and is a champion dancer in the categories of both Fancy Shawl and Jingle dress.
For Sage, her beadwork is all about the end result. “Beadwork is a process; it’s always a learning experience because I never know what I’m going to do next. I don’t plan too far ahead, because I can make changes as I go along, or I can build upon my original concept. When I was younger, I wanted to go out and hang with my friends, but my mother would make me stay home and do beadwork so I could be beautiful in the summer. Now, making beadwork gives me a sense of accomplishment; it gives me something to do when I’m not doing anything, it’s calming and relaxing knowing that I’m making something beautiful. I would describe my artwork as traditional while incorporating sparkling jewels to make it relevant in the contemporary market. I have a tendency to make white flowers and my favorite pieces are leaves because I like to use as many shades of green as possible!
The Woodland Skirts Project is an opportunity to learn more about traditional work. I am expanding and testing my boundaries to make floral designs more dimensional and realistic. My goal is to create elegance; making a mistake is humbling because you have to pull it all out and start over. It goes to support the belief that nothing is perfect and that’s the beauty of hand-made work. For some reason, when I’m making flowers and leaves I envision rain and morning dew drops. For me, it’s a spiritual connection between women and water. That is my contribution to the important message that we must take care of our mother the earth.”
"Native American history hits the runway," Minnesota Daily.
"With the support of a 2014 NACF Regional Artist Fellowship, Delina White (Ojibwe) will begin her most ambitious project yet, a body of work that includes 20 full sets of women’s outfits." Native Arts Council.
"Delina White," The Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI)