Around me I see women with an appreciation for fine clothing, art, and culture. I believe these women will appreciate the Camas line of sophisticated, handmade and beaded leather clothing for what it is: wearable art.
As an interior architect and daughter of a textile designer, I grew up with an appreciation for design, but I am not one who follows fashionable trends. I am one who collects beautiful things of historical significance: Native American canoes, visual arts such as Bodmer and Catlin lithographs and aquatints, or early American clocks – things created by hand using traditional methods. While Connecticut is my home state, I have lived in Sun Valley, Idaho for over 30 years, where I developed a passion for the American West and the beauty of Native American traditional arts and jewelry.
I established Camas Design to embrace Native traditions of brain tanning hides and beadwork, to partner with talented Native artists, and to create a contemporary, exclusive clothing line.
The logo and spirit of Camas Design is inspired not only by the spare beauty of this blue flowering native plant that blankets northwest prairies in springtime, but also by its historical importance as a sustainable source of nourishment and trade for indigenous peoples of this region where I’ve made my home for decades. The term ‘camas prairie’ refers to several distinct regions of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, named for the lily-like perennial camassia or camas.
The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, considered to be producers of the finest beadwork in North America, now occupy the Fort Hall Indian Reservation near my home. I made an impromptu visit to Fort Hall years ago and was amazed to discover the intricate beadwork decorating supple, naturally tanned hides on display in the gift shop. Each piece was clearly a work of art imbued with the passion and tradition of its people. I came away with the recognition that this outstanding craftsmanship, passed down for generations, deserved a wider audience, and began contemplating how I might collaborate with artists to fashion their handmade beadwork and traditionally tanned leathers into timeless, updated styles. My first sample was met with encouraging approval–I wore it around town and people went crazy for it. Seven years after my first visit to Fort Hall, with countless hours invested in research, networking and design, the Camas collection emerged, and I hope you’ll enjoy wearing these pieces as much as I’ve enjoyed bringing them to you.