James Little Wounded: Artist & Grandpa

In our final snippet with artist James Little Wounded, he talks about what it's like to work in his studio both as an artist and a grandpa - how he makes (and listens to) his pieces and how his little grandchildren love to watch and "help" him.

[Rose] You told us you did not want to be filmed while you're creating something because every piece has its own spirit, and you're afraid that spirit will leave and the piece won't finish itself.

So before you even get started on a piece, does it speak to you on some level - I'm going to be a dance stick or I'm going to be a war club?

[James Little Wounded] Yeah, I can sit here and be trying to think of some beadwork, like a pipebag or something, and then something else will pop in my head, like a horse stick or a ladle…something totally different than what I'm trying to think about. And, then It'll stay in my head until I get it done!

[Rose] It haunts you? (She says this smiling)

[James] Yeah (smiling)

[Rose] It insists…

[James] I can start a piece so far and then go on to something else that pops in my head…but I have to get it so far so I can remember what it was.

Sometimes when a piece gets stuck in my head I have to get it done. I don't want to loose it. Especially if I really have it in my head to do it…I'll work all day and most of the evening, as far as I can until 12, 1, 2 - with one eye open I'll sleep.

[Rose] Do you sketch out your designs?

[James] No. I've tried drawing them out, but they don't turn out the same anyways…

I have lots of drawing pads…(smiling, he says) my grandchildren like to color on them.

So, that's why a lot of times I don't like to show other people what I'm working on…sometimes I will, but it has to be just the right person.

I have grandchildren now…and they try to help me. I don't mind them watching me - I watched my grandparents.

[Rose] Its The Way…

[James] I used to draw on their stuff, like my grandchildren do to my stuff now. My little granddaughter…"LaLa I'm gonna help"…she came running after me with a pencil. She hopped on a chair and had her tongue out, concentrating, trying to draw on one of my pieces.