Gerald Schenandoah | Leatherwork and Clothing
July 11–12, 2013, from 10:00 am–5:00 pm
Gerald Schenandoah (Oneida Nation, Wolf Clan) has been working in Indian arts and crafts most of his life. Around 20 years ago he and his wife Cheryl teamed up to become clothing designers. It began when all three of their children became interested in dancing and dancing outfits. Gerald and Cheryl made them their outfits from buckskin. When the children wore them publicly, other people asked Gerald to make their outfits. It went from there. He learned as he went along. Hundreds of outfits later, Schenandoah has become a highly sought-after designer, known for his quality, authenticity, and innovation. He works in both traditional and contemporary styles, making outfits, jackets, and dresses. He mainly uses deerskin and fur, which he might then embellish with quahog shell, antler, or buffalo horn, depending on the wishes of the client. Some design ideas he picked up from old photos of Iroquois clothes or through consultation with archeologists and historians. Others are his own designs.
Schenandoah was born in Syracuse. In 1963, he moved to the Oneida Territory with his mother and sisters and has lived there ever since. He is proud to be doing what he does, as the practice of making buckskin clothes is becoming more rare with each passing year. His most recent job was with the Mashantucket Pequot Museum in Connecticut, where he and his wife Cheryl designed and made the outfits for the models in the various diorama scenes. The clothing styles ranged from hypothesized Paleo-Indian outfits to those of the different woodland stages. Schenandoah enjoys producing as authentic an article of native clothing as he can. But he also likes to play with design and come up with new ideas.
About the Series: Fenimore Art Museum welcomes Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) artists to spend two days in the museum galleries and outdoors at our Native American Interpretive site Otsego: A Meeting Place. Artists teach and create unique artwork and crafts. Engaging conversations with these artists offer a delightful, insightful way to learn about traditional Native American art skills that have been handed down for generations.
Admission to the Native American Artisan Series is included with regular admission to the Fenimore Art Museum. Admission is free to NYSHA members. Become a member today!