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JEAN BAD MOCCASIN-SZEWCZYK (OGLALA LAKOTA) - March 2001

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.

Jean Bad Mocassin

“My life, like my pottery, is a journey, not a destination,” says Jean Bad Moccasin. It is a journey that began when Jean was born in a refugee camp in Hanover, Germany. Jean's maternal grandfather had traveled with Sitting Bull to Europe with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. There he married a Ukrainian, as did his daughter (Jean's mother). They were returning home when Jean was born in 1947.

Drawn to pottery of the Southwest in the 1980s, Jean studied pottery, drawing and painting in college. In her early years, she was drawn to soft pastels and southwest designs. In 1999, she was awarded a SWAIA fellowship which allowed her to research archeological findings of pottery in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Jean has gained national recognition for her contemporary pottery. In 1997, she was selected to show in the “Legacy of Generations: Pottery by American Indian Women” exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. She was named as one of the “Avant-Garde” potters in the show’s publication, Pottery of American Indian Women: The Legacy of Generations, written by Susan Peterson for the tour (Abbeville Press, 1997).

Jean uses the coil method and slab techniques of hand-building clay. She brings a new dimension to pottery, working with traditional designs in a non-traditional form for the Northern Plains. The clay becomes a canvas for Lakota designs inspired by Plains beadwork, shields, winter count drawings and ledger art. She creates parfleche boxes and pouches, often trimmed with leather fringe. The use of crème-colored clay can make it seem that the material is rawhide. Jean is also known for her sculpted eagles on which she painstakingly carves each feather individually.

                                                              ©The Indian Craft Shop 2001

 

 

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