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TsalagiDave

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Reply with quote  #16 
Bill,

I strongly recommend that you get into a few historic trekker, mountain man or frontiersman blogs for advice on these things. As someone who has been doing the 1700's to 1850's era frontier impressions for over 20years I can give you a few pointers right off.

  • Don't make your outfit too fancy. Think common sense in regards to doing your job. Both frontiersmen and Indians did too.
  • Making fancy items for your own kit or for trade with others kept you busy during the long periods of down time. Also, fancy flourishes like beads, dead animal heads, etc. were only really worn when one really wanted to dress up for a special event/occasion. Even then, it wasn't what everyone did. The other 99% of the time, you should be wearing a basic and functional outfit.
  • Be careful who you are representing. (Example.)If you use a Blackfoot bead or clothing pattern, there is a higher likelihood that it was acquired as a war trophy than from a friendly trade.  Either way, it may give the wrong idea when a rival tribe sees you wearing an enemy's handiwork or if the Blackfoot see it, they may reward your perceived treachery by making you tonight's entertainment.
  • It is better to make your kit more in a white man's style that was influenced by Native American design than trying to copy and certain tribe's style. This just makes good business sense whenever meeting with other tribes. Remember, you are a businessman trying to establish friendship and commerce.
  • Look at the pictures, sketches and paintings of original mountain men. See any beads? No, there are few if any present.

Back then, your job/lifestyle would have been checking your trap line, gutting-skinning animals, tanning hides, packing, heavy travel over broken terrain, wilderness survival, hunting, foraging and sometimes even having a serious disagreement with other white men and Indians. This means it is a very hands-on, dirty, sweaty, freezing, blood-soaked, rain saturated, sun-dried and powder burnt experience. It was the lifestyle that either hardened a man or killed him. (often times, both.)

I'm not trying to discourage you here. I am only trying to help you put together a great impression for this time period. Beadwork is an artform by itself. If you love it, you should do it but also remember that beadwork is delicate and not intended for rough field clothing. It is more for ceremonial and celebratory purposes. 


Here is a good link:

http://www.thefurtrapper.com/trade_beads.htm

I hope this helps.  Good luck.

-Dave


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Buzzard

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Reply with quote  #17 
Bill

Dave has said it all there, I couldnt agree more with his advice.

Buzzard

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TsalagiDave

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Reply with quote  #18 
Thanks Buzzard. 

Bill, if we can help out with answering any questions, we're here for you buddy.

-Dave

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Wild_Bill_Hickok

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Reply with quote  #19 
Dave and Buzzard, thanks for your help. I'll try and find some suitable buckskin during the new year, perhaps at the next BWA roundup
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