Art Hounds: Native artists turn their talents to making masks

Plus, Art Hounds recommend Mindy Mejia's novel 'Strike Me Down' and North House Folks School's Instagram feed

Two folded face masks, made with native fabric, on a wooden table.
Anishinaabe artist and designer Sarah Agaton Howes is one of several Native American artists who have turned their artistic talents to making protective masks for those in need.
Courtesy of Sarah Agaton Howes

Anishinaabe writer and artist Heid Erdrich has been heartened to see several of her Native American artist friends turning their talents to making protective face masks. Their work features traditional fabrics and ribbons, turning the simple masks into spiritual and cultural works of art and solidarity. Sarah Agaton Howes, the owner of Heart Berry, has even put together a tutorial on mask-making. Erdrich says it reminds her of the jingle dress, which is believed to have been born out of the 1918 flu pandemic.

Writer Claire Miller is reading a lot these days, and she was particularly taken with Mindy Mejia’s new novel “Strike Me Down,” featuring a female forensic accountant who is hired to track down $20 million in missing prize money. Miller says the story — which is set in Minneapolis — successfully transported her at a time when she really needed a break from reality. Interested in learning more about the book and the author? You can join a Zoom chat with her organized by Next Chapter Books this coming Monday night.

Guthrie Theater’s Sara L’Heureux loves traditional arts and crafts, and lately she’s been fascinated with North House Folk School’s Instagram feed. There are live lunchtime classes in everything from blacksmithing to weaving, photos of Scandinavian sweaters and wood carvings, and the occasional video of Lake Superior — or some sheep. L’Heureux says she loves the feed’s variety, and is hoping one day she can finally get up to Grand Marais to pay the school a visit.

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.