Canku Ota

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


June 16, 2001 - Issue 38



The Beading Series - Part 8
The Double Curve and Huichol Techniques


 by Lynne Sageflower Pennington

This is the last article of the Beading Series. I hope they have been a help to everyone. For this last article I am going to talk about the Double Curve Motif and Huichol techniques.
Double Curve:

A Technique used mostly by the Natives in the North East- Abenaki, Huron, Maliseet, Penobscot, Micmaq, Mistassini, Naskapi, Passamaquoddy and Montagnais. However, there are other tribes from the Northeast that used the double curve along with other beading techniques.

The Beads are designed in curved brackets. They can be sometimes on end, back to back or upright. Some may have no design beaded into then but some may have various figures beaded on the middle and inside curves.

Plant figures such as buds, blossoms, single leaves, 3 leaves or a 3 pedal flower, tendrils or stem are used as well as geometrical figures such as Ovals, circles, rectangles, crosses , diamonds and serrated borders.

The brackets and figures are placed together they can represent a symbolic concept. An example of this is a bracket with a three pedaled flower in the middle of the inside of the bracket represents a Traditional Preserver.

This technique takes practice. My advice it to get the book Indian Double Curve Secrets by Tom Raven Ford. He has several lessons on how to do this technique.

This next technique I found very intriguing when I saw it at several powwow vendor booths so I decided to look into how to do it.
This technique comes for the Natives in Mexico. It is very unique and done by placing the beads into a thin layer of bees wax with their hole facing upward.

The forms used to do this technique are made of wood in the shapes of bowls, sticks, eggs, masks, plaques and carved animal heads. Gourds and other dried vegetables are also used.

Designs on these forms are plants, flowers, geometrical shapes and snowflake shapes.
  1. Melt bees wax in a steel pot, let it cool to the touch. You want it warm so it can be handled and spread onto your form.
  2. Using a putty knife , spread a thin layer on part of the form you want to place your design.
  3. Take a pair of needle nose tweezers and starting in the center start placing your beads. Lightly press the beads into the wax, you want the wax to come up into the bead hole. If the wax starts to harden before you get your design done put is in your oven on a low temperature to warm the wax up again.
  4. Leave it a few days to harden. I advise spraying it with a shiny gloss finish after it is dried. It helps to keep the beads in place also.
You can do this technique with children also. Instead of Bees wax use Polymer clay. It is cool and soft to work with then when you put it in the oven it hardens.

Roll the clay out until it is about 2/16 thick with a rolling pin then place it in the form. I did this with my nieces and nephew, we used small wood bowls which I got at a thrift shop. Instead of seed beads we used E-Beads which were a lot easier for them to handle.

Web Sites

Huichol: Indians and Beadwork

Double Curve Motif'kmaqclothing.htm




People of the Peyote: Huichol Indian History, Religion & Survival by Stacy B. Schaefer
The Art of the Beautiful: Clothing and Fabric Designs of the Huichols by Pablo De La Cruz
Art of the Huichol Indians by Lowell J. Bean

Double Curve Motif:

Iroquois Crafts by Carrie Lyford
Indian Double Curve Secrets by Tom Raven Ford

This Article concludes the Beading series. The Next Series I am going to start is The "How to do' -Crafts Series. Over the coming months many crafts will be covered so make sure you come back and see which one(s) I am doing.




  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.



The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.