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Mendhi hands by Pushpa Jain. Photographer unknown. All rights reserved.Fish decoy. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Embroidered dress detail. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Cedar bird by Glen VanAntwerp. Photo by Al Kamuda. All rights reserved.
Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Awards


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David Dutcher and Katelyn Frantz
2017 master artist and apprentice
Hessel (Mackinac County)
Anishnabeg beadwork


David Dutcher (b.1956) is a member of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians and an artist who works in multiple genres. He began making traditional Anishnabeg black ash baskets at age 9 with his father, Jon Roy Dutcher. David is skilled in a variety of different Eastern Woodland bead styles beyond those commonly employed by traditional Anishnabeg beadwork artists. Today, David maintains traditional Anishnabeg designs as well as developing contemporary Anishnabeg aesthetic patterns with materials traditionally used in Anishnabeg art. He incorporates custom appliqué beadwork into a variety of traditional and contemporary textile products from moccasins and breeches to laptop bags and purses. His custom stitched garments invoke colonial period aesthetics that draw viewers into sophisticated conversations on hegemonic aesthetic forms and counter-appropriation. David is at home in both these types of theoretical discussions of material culture history and in the specialized and challenging work of re-creating the materials. Many regional powwow dancers perform regularly in moccasins, jewelry, and clothing created and/or decorated by David. With hand tools, including some of his own design, he handcrafts copper jewelry.

In addition to his thriving dress and adornment art practice, David also provides a variety of arts and culture-related services for both his tribe and the community at-large. These include direct collections care for many of the Tower of History Museum’s (Sault Ste. Marie) most delicate objects as well as providing information on appropriate and respectful storage practices and interpretive information for items ranging from snowshoes to ceremonial rattles. He has also been a professional hairstylist and has been enlisted by community art and theater organizations to help with hair and makeup for stage productions.

David will work with apprentice Katelyn Frantz. She has been involved with traditional Chippewa art forms since the age of 6 through the Sault Ste. Marie band of Chippewa, and the pair have been working together for over two years in a variety of arts practices, including traditional gardening and studio projects. This apprenticeship will serve to expand her beadwork skills as well as allow her to develop a stronger bond with her heritage.

-Micah Ling


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