Beading with Community Artists

Students will learn about beading by studying Ojibwe Cultures and seeing different examples of beaded objects done by artists in the community. They will look at the patterns and create their own patterns using a loom, guided by two beaders from our Ojibwe community.

Materials Needed


Art Materials


Activity Process


The students were engaged when different examples of beadwork were shown. I asked them questions about the beadwork. We talked about the Ojibwe culture and about the art of beading. I started the project by having the students create their own pattern using grid paper and colored pencils.


An Ojibwe teaching artist from our community came in to show examples of her beadwork and to show the students how to begin and proceed through their individual projects. For each class period it was necessary to review how to end a string and start a new one.


  1. Students created a beading pattern based on the examples shown in class and the motifs talked about from Great Lakes beaders in our region.
  2. A guest artist visited and talked about the art of beading and the various uses, and then she began beading with the students.
  3. Have beads, looms, and other materials ready to use when students have time to work.
  4. A second teaching artist visited the class and showed us how to end beading strings and add more string.
  5. We then cut the strings and tied off our beading.
  6. It is good to reinforce beading by running the needle back through the beads.
  7. Our guest teacher showed us how to tape the strings to back of beading and sew our beading project to leather.
  8. We found that it was good to split the ends of the leather to make it easier to wear.


After the project was complete, the students displayed their bracelets along with an artist statement about the influences of Ojibwe art and culture of their chosen bead design. Students also wrote about their experiences working with the guest artists and what they learned about art and culture from these contemporary beaders.


During the project, it is important to constantly walk around, help, and check for understanding. This project also fosters students working together to solve problems and overcome difficulties in small groups. Co-teaching with a beader was a great experience for us all!

Vocabulary Words


I would have changed the size of the beading project to a more reasonable size for finishing in school. For example, not have as many rows and make it a certain length. I, personally, have learned a lot teaching this project. I thought I was prepared but I need to be more prepared for this project. I will try it again!!

Grade Levels

Primary Content Area

American Indian Learner Outcomes

Content Standards



Social Studies