Published on July 27, 2012 by Amy
Teri Greeves (born 1970) is an award-winning Kiowa-Comanche-Italian beadwork artist, living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is enrolled in the Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma.
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Teri Greeves was born on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming in 1970. Her mother, Jeri Ah-be-hill, owned a trading post on the reservation, while Greeves was growing up. “By repeating to customers what I heard her saying when she was selling to and educating the public,” Teri says, “I unknowingly gained a broad knowledge of different beadwork from tribes around the US.” Greeves took up beadwork at the age of eight. Although she is primarily self-taught, she also received instruction from Zeedora Enos (Shoshone) and Calvin Magpie (Cheyenne). Greeves attended the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies in 1995. She has also studied at St. John’s College in 1988 and Cabrillo College in 1993.
Greeves employs a variety of beadwork techniques in her art. She uses a loom for beaded bracelets. Her larger pictorial work involved beads stitched onto brain-tanned deerhide, which she often mounts onto wood or other structures. For instance, she beaded a parade scene onto hide stretched onto an antique umbrella in her piece that won Best of Show in the 1999 Santa Fe Indian Market. She strives to simultaneously portray Kiowa realities and oral history with her contemporary experiences. She is most known for her fully beaded tennis shoes, which feature pictorial elements on solid, hump-stitched backgrounds. Her humor is evident throughout her work, for instance, in her fully beaded high-heeled tennis shoes.
Reflecting on her tribe’s traditions, Greeves said, “A long time ago, a Kiowa woman brought beadwork to her Kiowa people. She was compelled to express herself and her experience as a Kiowa woman of her day. My grandmother was a beadworker. She too was compelled to bead/express herself and her experience as a Kiowa living during her time. … I must express myself and my experience as a twenty-first-century Kiowa, and I do it, like all of those unknown artists before me, through beadwork.”
Her beadwork and dedication to furthering Native American art has earned Greeves innumerable awards and honors. Greeves won Best of Show at the 1999 Indian Market and since won many more awards at the Heard Museum, Indian Market, and Eight Northern Pueblos Arts and Crafts Show. She was awarded the Eric and Barbara Dobkin Fellowship from the School of American Research in 2003. Her work is found in such public collections as British Museum, Heard Museum, Montclair Art Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design, the Brooklyn Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, the Hampton University Museum, the Heard Museum, the Joselyn Museum, the School of American Research, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of Fine Arts of Santa Fe, the Sequoyah National Research Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.
Teri Greeves is married to Dennis Esquivel, a Grand Traverse Band painter and woodworker. They have two sons. Teri’s sister, Keri Ataumbi, is a noted jeweler, painter, and conceptual artist. Greeves frequently travels back to Oklahoma to maintain a close connection to her Kiowa relatives and friends.