Coming Out/Emergence 

My intention for this 2-D beaded panel was to create a visual of the Kiowa's Coming Out, or Emergence into this world. There are 6 ethereal figures, 3 male and 3 female of different stages of growth, representing the 6 original bands. The ants are symbolic of Emergence Story and one of the Kiowa stories of death and grief. Ant rocks, related also to Kiowa Gourd Dance, creates the hill on which the human figures stand. The larger stars in the Milky Way reflect the ants below in the Earth World. Sainday, who is a part of both stories, is visually represented in his handprint in the stars. Buffalo medicine, strong healing, is referenced in the Sun, our Star, and connects to our Sundance origins.

In prayer, I feel this story came out at the time human beings across our planet had reached some sort of symbiotic relationship with the Covid virus. After almost 3 years, I could feel humanity emerging into this different world.


The piece began with a black hollyhock and a juniper tree that grow on the land where my home is. I made master dyes from the hollyhock flowers and the juniper roots. I folded and tied, working with the dyes to create a landscape for a story, using a muted bead palette and many different types of gemstones. I gathered rocks from ants whose hill has lived next to my house since before I moved here-and probably before any person lived here. I am very grateful for the generosity and the opportunity which has lead to a piece of my beadwork residing in the First Americans Museum collection, a museum that is near the Cauigu (Kiowa) homelands. I am honored.

Materials: Charmeuse silk, black hollyhock dye, juniper root dye, ant rocks, 10/0 metallic seed beads, 10/0 seed beads, 10/0 cut beads, 10/0 vintage Venetian beads, 24K gold hex beads, antique glass disc beads, Swarovski crystal montees, metal prong back settings, seed pearls, faceted modolite garnet beads, round garnet beads, faceted color change garnet beads, 4mm faceted garnet beads, faceted moss agate beads, “Disco” mixed faceted gemstone beads, sterling silver beads, faceted topaz beads, faceted spinel beads, matte onyx beads, faceted smokey quartz beads.

Collection of the First Americans Museum, Oklahoma City, OK

Dimensions: 37.5”x31.5”x3”

Date: 2022

Photos of hands holding beads by Mary Neiberg.