Jill Kaasteen Meserve helps a student learn the art of flatstich beading on a Ravenstail pattern on Saturday at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum.
Dana Zigmund / Juneau Empire

Jill Kaasteen Meserve helps a student learn the art of flatstich beading on a Ravenstail pattern on Saturday at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum. Dana Zigmund / Juneau Empire

Sharing techniques with the next generation

“It’s so fun that we get to pass this on to the next generation.”

This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Jill Kaasteen Meserve’s name.

It takes a steady hand and plenty of know-how to successfully complete a beading project inspired by Ravenstail robes and baskets.

On Saturday, about 15 children learned more about the process and started work on a tattoo-design beading project at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum.

Instructors Jill Kaasteen Meserve and Davina Cole Drones led the class and encouraged students along the way with step-by-step instructions and hands-on support.

“We are in a cool time right now that we can expand what beadwork is and what is a piece of indigenous art,” Kaasteen Meserve said as she showed her students examples of traditional and non-traditional pieces.

Drones said that she had started beading when she was young, and her interest has grown over the years.

Naisha Bathija, 9, and her mother Neelam work on a Ravenstail pattern beading project at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum on June 26, 2021. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

Naisha Bathija, 9, and her mother Neelam work on a Ravenstail pattern beading project at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum on June 26, 2021. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

“I really love this medium,” she told the class.

Students learned flat-stitch beading, which Drones explained must adhere to felt, leather or denim.

Students sketched a formline style design on felt with a marker before threading needles and starting to bead.

Kaasteen Meserve said this was the second time she had conducted a beading workshop at the museum.

“It’s so fun that we get to pass this on to the next generation,” Kaasteen Meserve said. “They approach things in a new way and can do a lot more than we expect.”

• Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4890.

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