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LINDA (TOPASH) YAZEL

Musko Bahnase (Red Bird)
Potawatomi/Ojibway
Buchanan, Michigan

Click here to view the artist's work

When Linda Yazel was young she was not exposed to much of her native culture, despite the fact that her mother was an Ojibway master beadworker from Manitoulin Island, Ontario, and her father was a full-blooded Potawatomi from the Pokagon Band in Dowagiac, Michigan. Because she regrets this loss of contact with her heritage, she and her family have spent the last 20 years learning the traditional ways of their elders. Yazel learned the basic techniques of beadwork from her mother and now beads on a regular basis with her cousins and aunts.

She feels compelled to teach others so that traditional skills will not be lost and so that others outside her culture can appreciate the beauty of her craft. She has taught at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph, Michigan, and the Fernwood Nature Center in Niles, Michigan. She was recently commissioned by Central Michigan University to create traditional beadwork for the Museum of Natural and Cultural History. One of her pieces is displayed at the Anishnabek exhibit at the Public Museum of Grand Rapids.

Yazel expresses the cultural heritage of her people primarily through the use of split-loom jewelry design and traditional materials such as porcupine quills and small glass beads. To keep her work fresh and new, she also uses buttons and semi-precious stones.


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