“I like to say that I am a bead artist who loves to make adornment.” 

Molina Parker (Two Bulls), a Rapid City native who now lives in red shirt, is a talented creative specializing in beadwork. Parker is so talented, she was recognized this past April as one of 8 Indigenous Beaders Who Are Modernizing Their Craft by Vogue. 

The tedious and “therapeutic” process can sometimes take weeks, which is one of many reasons why Parker’s earrings (especially) sell as soon as they go up on her online store. 

605 chatted with the talented artist on when she started, what she can’t leave home without, and standout moments with her jewelry.

I STARTED BEADING JEWELRY… when I was a young girl, about 5 or 6 years old.

YOU MIGHT KNOW ME FROM… my recent profile in Vogue or events around the Black Hills. 

FOR MY CREATIVE METHOD… I like to switch things up. I can go from loom to applique to peyote to brick stitch. Going back and forth helps to decrease burnout. 

I STARTED BEADWORK… as a young girl. I would watch my mother, grandmother, and aunt work with their hands. From sewing, beading, and painting, I knew that this was something I wanted to do. 

WHEN I CREATE A PIECE, IT TYPICALLY TAKES ME… anywhere from a few hours to weeks, depending on the size of the project.

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF JEWELRY I SELL ARE… beaded earrings, bracelets, and collar necklaces.

CREATING PIECES IS IMPORTANT TO ME BECAUSE… beading is my therapy. I put a lot of good energy into all of my work, and it makes me happy to see other people appreciate my work.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT EXPERIMENTING WITH COLORS IS… that the combinations are limitless. Sometimes I like working with an explosion of colors and designs, and other times, I like the simple beauty of working with a muted palette.

ONE OF MY BEST SELLERS IS… my vintage beaded round earrings with dentalium shells.

THE MATERIALS

Here are just some of the items used.
+ Glass Beads
+ Leather
+ Shells
+ Silver or Gold
+ Rawhide

ONE PIECE THAT TOOK ME THE LONGEST TO CREATE WAS… my favorite necklace titled, “Say Wut!” It was purchased by Akta Lakota Museum in Chamberlain. It took me approximately two months to complete. 

ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE PIECES IS… my porcupine quill/beaded necklace. I infused traditional Lakota quillwork with fine beading and shells. 

ONE MOMENT I’LL NEVER FORGET WITH A CLIENT WAS… creating a custom necklace for my friend to wear to the Americans for the Arts gala at Rockefeller Center in New York City. 

MY INSPIRATION FOR PIECES COMES FROM… my family stories, bugs, and pop culture. 

WHAT MANY PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME IS… I love to collect Lisa Frank stickers and watch horror films. 

A MISCONCEPTION ABOUT MY ART IS… that it has to be culturally significant or mystical in some way.

WHEN I’M NOT CREATING JEWELRY, I’M… hanging out with my family. 

ANOTHER HOBBY I LOVE IS… painting. 

ONE OF MY FAVORITE PARTS ABOUT SOUTH DAKOTA IS… He Sapa (The Black Hills). 

YOU’LL NEVER SEE ME LEAVE HOME WITHOUT… my phone, chapstick and, most importantly, earrings! 

MY GO-TO PLACE TO GRAB A BITE TO EAT/DRINK IS… Colonial House. I love the Chocolate Cream Pie! 

TO RELAX, I… bead. I love listening to podcasts like Someone Knows Something and Limetown, and beading. 

A PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE IS… don’t be afraid to wear big jewelry! My ancestors were always embellishing themselves with large statement pieces, and I love to do the same. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT SQUAREUP.COM/STORE/MOLINAS-LAKOTA-BEADWORK.

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