Karen Ann Hoffman, Turtle Clan

Title: Marlene Printup, Cayuga, Bear Clan  
Image size: 29 x 39 inches

Medium: Colored and graphite pencils, acrylic, watercolor and ink

“I express myself in all of God’s creations through my beadwork,” says Marlene. “We put to work our love of flowers and plants that grow from the earth, and birds in our own way on velvet. The domes on the beadwork represent the skies, and the swirls, the water; the roundness and circles are for the sun and the moon. The leaves, trees, beautiful flowers and colorful birds are things that our eyes and sewing behold.”

Marlene was born at Tuscarora, which is situated just a short distance from Niagara Falls, and she began doing beadwork shortly after her marriage to Erwin Printup, a Tuscarora man. Her husband’s mother and grandmother were both beadworkers which inspired Marlene to take up the craft. Her husband’s mother, Doris Hudson, taught beadwork and was one of Marlene’s first teachers. She also learned a great deal from Matilda Hill, Dolly Printup Winden’s grandmother, and other beadworkers in the Tuscarora community.

Marlene loves making picture frames and often includes trilliums in her design. She also loves to make beaded birds. Some of her favorite birds are Baltimore orioles, blue birds, cardinals and humming birds so I thought it fitting to include one of them in her portrait.

The beadwork traditions in her family have continued through her daughter, Mary Annette Clause, and Mary’s Annette’s daughter Jacqueline Beth, as well as her sons Barry and Joel Printup.

Marlene’s work was featured in the Across Borders; Beadwork in Iroquois Life exhibit that toured five museums from 1999 through 2003 and she has won numerous awards for her work. Her beadwork has been included in exhibits from the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, the Cleveland Museum, and the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, ME among others and her work is represented in the collection of the Heard Museum. She was also featured in a Turtle Magazine article in back in the 1970s.