Patterns in the Plains region

Women in the Plains region usually embroidered geometric polychrome designs with beads or quills. With white influence and trade, beads became more popular, though quillwork was still practiced (Furst and Furst 1982, 166). By the late 1830s women used beadwork more frequently, and by the late 1800s women were making entire garments, especially vests, moccasins, and leggings, covered with beads (Paterek 1994, 87). Early beadwork designs were geometric patterns, the inspiration for which often came from nature. In the late 1800s northern Plains Indians began using floral patterns, though geometric designs are the most commonly used in North American Indian art. Most of the symbolism of the decorations has been lost or kept secret, though some symbols ward off supernatural forces, like those for a baby’s cradleboard (Furst and Furst 1982, 167).