Crafted by children's own hands Indian fashions are theme for holiday SOUTHEAST/Sykesville * Eldersburg * Gamber

November 26, 1992|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

Red and yellow feathers flew and colorful beads spilled across the floor at Piney Run's Nature Center. With directions from a senior seamstress, a group of young children were turning hot pink and chartreuse scraps of material into Indian scarves.

"Stringing beads and feathers is not too hard work," said Emily Steis, 7.

"You just stick the feathers in the knots you made to hold your beads on," said her sister, Lindsey, 9.

The scarf was the perfect accessory for Kyle Adams, 5, who came dressed for the party in an Indian headband and coat and a squash blossom necklace. He got further into character and changed his name to Kicking Bird for the day.

"When I was out West, I saw real Indians do an eagle dance," he said. "We learned all about Indians in school this week, too."

Some children added beads randomly. Other tried to match beads methodically to the colors in the bandannas.

"I am making a red, white and blue pattern with the beads," said Katie Bray, 7, painstakingly matching the rows around her scarf. "I wanted American colors in my Indian dress."

Jonathan Pandolfini, 7, has been studying Indian culture in his second-grade class and offered words of wisdom to his friends.

"Indians didn't have the same material but they made scarves like ours," he said.

"They had these wacky, wild colors, too, but they got them from squashed berries, not Jo-Ann Fabrics," said Brian Adams, 7.

Modern accouterments made the group "Indians of the '90s," said Mike Cobb, 8.

Matthew Thornburg, 9, got about halfway through the project before he tired of stringing and went off to study the center's exhibits.

His mother took a seat and finished because "it's too cute to leave undone."

"You are wearing yours the wrong way," said Caroline Wollen to her younger sister, whose scarf dangled from her neck to her waist. Their mother said personal preference determined how to wear it.

Megan Parker, 7, planned to show-and-tell her beaded scarf at school. "We just got finished our Indian unit and they will know all about this stuff," she said.

A room away, craftier and older children shed their shoes and traced their feet in brown corduroy fabric in preparation for a moccasin-making session.

One girl modestly fretted about her bare feet.

"Not to worry," said Pam Katz, who volunteered to direct the crafts. "Indians didn't wear socks either."

The sturdy upholstery fabric would make great slippers, the instructor said, as the children traced and cut foot patterns. "You don't need those scraps of material, but Indians wouldn't have thrown them away," she said.

A few scissors snips later, the children were plying their needles and making moccasins.

"This is really hard work," said 10-year-old Eric Ermer, who enlisted his mother's help. "The Indians had it harder. They didn't have needles. They might have had to poke through the material with a stick."

While the scarf-makers finished in time to help the center staff feed the birds, a comfy pair of shoes could take days. The half-finished shoes all went home with plans for further stitches.

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