A blog sponsored by the Michigan State University Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program, a partnership with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Sharing news and information about the Great Lakes Folk Festival, Quilt Index, the MSU Museum's traditional arts activities, Great Lakes traditional artists and arts resources, and much more. Development of content for this blog supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

#FolkloreThursday 2016 Heritage Award Spotlight: David Dutcher

David Dutcher
All photos courtesy Nick Schaedig

Continuing our series on 2016 MHA Awardees, here is a little bit more about David Dutcher, awarded for his skill and knowledge in Native american arts, including copper jewelry beadwork, and moccasin making.

From the Michigan Traditional Arts Program bio:
David Dutcher (b.1956) is a member of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians and  an artist who works in multiple genres. He began making traditional Anishnabeg black ash baskets at age 9 with his father, Jon Roy Dutcher. David is skilled in a variety of different Eastern Woodland bead styles beyond those commonly employed by traditional Anishnabeg beadwork artists. Today, David maintains traditional Anishnabeg designs as well as developing contemporary Anishnabeg aesthetic patterns with materials traditionally used in Anishnabeg art. He incorporates custom appliqué beadwork into a variety of traditional and contemporary textile products from moccasins and breeches to laptop bags and purses. His custom stitched garments invoke colonial period aesthetics that draw viewers into sophisticated conversations on hegemonic aesthetic forms and counter-appropriation. David is at home in both these types of theoretical discussions of material culture history and in the specialized and challenging work of re-creating the materials. Many regional pow wow dancers perform regularly in moccasins, jewelry, and clothing created and or decorated by David. With hand tools, including some of his own design, he handcrafts copper jewelry.

In addition to his thriving dress and adornment art practice, David also provides a variety of arts and culture-related services for both his tribe and the community at-large. These include direct collections care for many of the most delicate items in the collections of the Tower of History Museum’s (Sault Ste. Marie) most delicate items as well as providing information on appropriate and respectful storage practices and interpretive information for items ranging from snowshoes to ceremonial rattles. He has also been a professional hairstylist and has been enlisted by community art and theater organizations to help with hair and makeup for stage productions.


David will be present at this year's Great Lakes Folk Festival on Saturday, August 13th and Sunday, August 14th, both to receive his 2016 Michigan Heritage Award, and to demonstrate his artistry in our Traditional Arts Marketplace.