Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation
June Roberts Wesley, like many artisans before her, had an affinity for drawing and painting. No surprise her favorite class in school was Art Class! She had an eclectic interest in many mediums, including silversmithing and painting. During her high school tenure she began to explore more traditional Native art forms and bought her first beading loom.
She attended her first pow wow at Dartmouth college and was enthralled with a whole new world opening up for her. She was fortunate to have her early work on display at an All Native art show for high school students and one of her drawings was chosen to be the graphics on the pow wow poster for the Dartmouth event.
June has settled into the sewing and designing of dance outfits using applique as her “paint”, creating colorful contemporary powwow dance clothes for dancers all over the US and Canada, including a former Miss Indian World. She also enjoys beading and sequin work. She is currently working on a traditional fully beaded top for a client as well as other custom orders. She is also helping to make a traditional Apache dress for a young lady’s Sunrise Ceremony, a coming of age celebration for Apache girls as they come into womanhood.
June lives in Arizona with her husband Fred in the beautiful Apache homeland enjoys the always dramatic surroundings in the Southwest desert.
I have always been drawn to color and being able to design and sew powwow dance outfits or bead items for a living is pretty extraordinary! My mom always encouraged me, even allowing me to paint murals all over my bedroom. ..how cool is that for a little girl? Get me in a fabric store or bead shop and I just get excited at the possibilities…..
I am so grateful to those who enjoy my work and to those who encouraged me through the years, especially my friend Amisa Yellowbird who spent countless hours with me, teaching me new techniques and brainstorming ideas.