Well, who am I??? A person who has a great interest in the Native American Tipi. Most of my life has been spent in the study of the art and culture. I have attend as many dances and Rendezvous as my job, health and time will allow with emphasis on the tipis. I was born in Ohio in the middle of the last century to a Navy family that was always on the go. My first dances were in Seattle, Washington State, where I had a great interest in North West Coast Art. Later on, we moved to California, Texas and finally the settled in Jacksonville, Fla. Graduated from Florida State University with a BS/MS in Art Education/Constructive Design. In 1970 I became an Art teacher in the Duval Country Public School system. Today ....I am now retired as of 12/20/2003. YES!!!!!!
I do consulting work with the University of Florida on Native American materials for their collection as well as other private collections. Sometimes lecture at the University of North Fla. on Native American Art. Won the Les Bircher award in 1987 at National Powwow and many numerous crafts competitions across the country. Brought the tipi competition back to National Powwow in 1990 and hope to see it continue.
My interest in tipis came around 1971, when my husband and I saw a neighbor working tipis poles and just had to dive in and help. That was it, tipi fever hit and we had to have one. Our first choice was either a Ron Head or a Darry Wood tipi. Never heard back form Mr. Head, so we went with Darry. Boy, did that ever change my life. Xmas of 1972 our first tipi arrived in the back of Darry Woods truck. We had tipi fever with dreams of painting all these designs and putting decorations everywhere on the inside. Thank God, someone said wait a year and then decorate. Why do you want to paint the cover or what ever you want to do? So, lots of research started and I settled on a beaded Cheyenne cover with painted lining. Guess who did the beadwork? This tipi won contests all over the east from Illinois to Texas to Florida.
After a splitting of the "blankets" in 1977, I took the tipi and continued to go to dances. One day someone bet me I could probably make a tipi after all the research I was doing on covers and designs. So, I took them up on it. In 1978, David Clayton and a few friends took off down south Fla. to buy my first and only double needle industrial forward and reversible sewing machine. Still have it today after breaking hundreds of needles and sewing one finger into someone's tipi cover. Those are some very strong needles. Sorry for the blood stains on whom ever got that lodge. This group of people (with others taking their places in later times-known as "tipi slaves") began sewing the first tipis for a business called Alligator Trading Company which lasted from 1978 till the last tipi was made in 1995. Just over 300 lodges were completed in those long hot summers.
This site was started because I first wanted to write a book on tipis. Not the how to make one, but the why do we do this and why did they do that and what is all this stuff for? The books just didn't tell you where do you look for this information. Then I decided that I could reach more people by putting this information out on the internet. This site is going to be an on going changeable place to exchange ideas, stories, information, research and pictures of tipis. Would like to see articles or information placed here. Do not be scared to write. No one can say I am a great writer. On the contrary, degrees do not make a writer...experience does. I just hope I get the point across. Spell checker does the rest...along with grammar check (sometimes).
Then I did write a book on tipis called: Tipis-Tepees-Teepees: History and Construction of the Cloth Tipi.