A Bag Worth a Pony: The Art of the Ojibwe Bandolier Bag

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A Bag Worth a Pony: The Art of the Ojibwe Bandolier Bag

By: Rebekah Bjork | March 2, 2018

In November of 2016, the editorial work on the manuscript for Marcia Anderson’s A Bag Worth a Pony: The Art of the Ojibwe Bandolier Bag was nearing completion—but crucial images were missing. Volunteer photographer James of Castle Productions came to the rescue! He and Anderson, a former MNHS curator, went on an epic trip across Minnesota to document beadwork and bead artists around the state. The dynamic duo drove from Minneapolis to Little Falls (photo shoot at Morrison County Historical Society) to Cass Lake (photo shoot of bead artist Mel Losh) and stayed the night, then drove to Grand Portage (photo shoot of bead artist Ellen Olson), and dodged a major snowstorm by pushing on to Cloquet, where they stayed another night, then did a photo shoot of several bags owned by the Fond du Lac Band, then sprinted home to the Twin Cities. The storm forced the rescheduling of the last leg of the trip, to Mille Lacs, which took place in December (photo shoot of several bags and of bead artist Cheryl Minnema). At each stop, Jim, a professional commercial photographer, set up his portable lights and sophisticated digital photography equipment, ensuring clear and beautiful images. The bead artists and the bag owners received copies of the photos.

Marcia and the Press are deeply grateful for Jim’s excellent photos—and his willingness to devote days of travel and image cleanup to this important project, which showcases thirty years of Anderson’s research, the work of the bead artists, and the spectacular bags at MNHS and elsewhere. The book has received many positive reviews and is a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.

 

Submitted by Ann Regan