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Meet Rhea Bewick of Ikoose Designs in Fresno County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rhea Bewick.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Rhea. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I learned loom beading at seven years old from my grandmother, who’s Mono Native American name was Ikoose. My grandmother passed away, and I was given her seed bead collection. I didn’t do any more beadwork until just a few years ago. I am a stay at home mother, and I was in need of a creative outlet in my life. When I started doing beadwork again, there was definitely a learning curve.

As soon as I gave my beadwork business the name Ikoose Designs, everything clicked. It is slow and tedious work, and being a stay at home mother to two toddlers takes away some of my time from the beadwork, but I love every minute of it. My customers have been super patient and understanding.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Everything I do can almost be done another way, and I have been learning these new techniques from my fellow Native American followers. I learned how to do this when I was 7, so I was only a beginner. The advice has been super helpful along the way, and the support that Native Americans have for other Native Americans has been inspiring.

Please tell us about Ikoose Designs.
I specialize in loom beading, which is actually considered a great intro to beadwork. I had no idea that people were going to be so drawn to my work, but I feel like I do my best to elevate each piece and make it unique. Instead of having an Etsy shop for people to select pre-made items, I do custom work. I come up with a new pattern, and we go through colors and leather tooling if there is any desired. It is a long process, but it is so worth it when the pieces are finished. I make hatbands, dog collars, belts, guitar straps, lanyards, bracelets, etc.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have not bought my beads from big chain craft stores, they are all different crazy sizes. The best places to buy nice beads is from local bead stores. Also, before starting any leather project, I need to make sure that the customer has a picture of the correct size they need (a belt that fits, a dog collar, etc.). Once an item is made, there is no other way to correct it than to remake it again (which I have done, no regrets just lessons learned).

Contact Info:

  • Email: ikoose.designs@gmail.com
  • Instagram: Ikoosedesigns
  • Facebook: Ikoose Designs
  • Other: Tik Tok Ikoosedesigns

Image Credit:
Rhea Bewick

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