The husband-and-wife team of Joe B. and Terry Reano are among the few Pueblo artists who still make beads completely by hand, without using power tools. Both learned these techniques from their parents and have passed the tradition on to their children.

To make their handmade beads, they start by rubbing a piece of shell or turquoise against a large, course slab of sandstone to flatten it. Then, using a hand-powered pump drill, they drill a hole. Thicker pieces require drilling from both sides. To make the beads round, the beads are strung on a wire and then rolled against sandstone, or pulled through a groove in a rough stone. The circular beads are smoothed with finer and finer sandstone, and then finally polished with buckskin.

It can take two or three months to finish one strand, and in the process, roughly half of the original bead material is ground away into dust.



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