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Artist biography


Bay Mills, Michigan

Image of Becky Munz

Becky Munz was born in Bay Mills, Michigan, where she was introduced at an early age to that community's rich artistic traditions. She and her family have recently returned to the Bay Mills area after living for more than 30 years near Madison, Wisconsin. In Madison, Munz was an active advocate of minority student education and achievement. She regularly conducted workshops on beading, basket weaving, and dreamcatchers for the Madison Metropolitan School District and the Madison Children's Museum.

Within the Woodland Indian culture, dolls were traditionally made of natural materials, including bass wood, birchbark, grasses, pine needles, spruce roots, and willow twigs. Following contact with European cultures, Native Americans made dolls out of animal skins, sometimes stuffing them with moss. These dolls were usually dressed in clothes made of broadcloth or cotton. Sometimes the clothing was decorated with beaded ornamentation, but generally the dolls remained faceless.

When Munz could not find "nice" commercially produced Indian dolls for her daughters, she was inspired to create her own. Known as "Becky's Babies," the dolls feature commercially made bodies clothed entirely in hand-made outfits. The fabrics, designs, and techniques used in creating the leggings, moccasins, shirts, sashes, headdresses, and hand-held fans reflect a combination of the traditional dress styles of many different Native American groups. Although she originally made dolls only for her family, Munz now sells a few numbered and signed dolls that are highly sought after by collectors.

Artist's work

Object measurements and display specifications:

Becky Munz
Infant Doll with Cradleboard, 1994
Doll with beaded outfit on beaded cradleboard
Doll: 16 1/2"
Cradleboard: 18 1/2"
Sisters of the Great Lakes Collection
MSU Museum 7594.19

Objects held in free-standing vitrine: base height = 33 inches; base width = 24 x 24 inches; acrylic height is 20 inches. Infant Doll rests on a black velvet pillow inside of the case.  The pillow should support the cradleboard starting from underneath the head and following along the back so that doll and cradleboard are on a slight slant. Naomi Doll stands on wooden box plinth - dimensions:  h: 2"  l: 5"  w: 5".