Karen Ann

Karen Ann Hoffman

She // Her // Hers

[ID: A headshot of a woman of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. She looks directly at the viewer and smiles. Her long silver hair falls past her shoulders. She wears earrings and a necklace made of Wampum, crafted from the shells of the Quahog clam.]

Haudenosaunee Raised Beadwork Artist
Stevens Point, WI
2022 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the Builders Initiative.

Karen Ann Hoffman is a Haudenosaunee raised beadwork artist and citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. Hoffman lives, hunts, and gardens in a rural area of central Wisconsin sheltered by trees and grasslands and poised on the edge of a marsh.

Raised beadwork is a rare and elegant style whose forms and designs reach back over fourteen thousand years. It is a cultural hallmark for those of the Six Nations, linking the lessons of their past with the celebration of their today and the joyful anticipation of their future. It is this long and deep cultural connection that beckons and inspires her. “As a beader,” she says, “it is my privilege and responsibility to peer through that cultural lens, reflect on contemporary Indigenous experiences, and describe what I see on a field of velvet using glass beads and a steel needle.”

A slow and thoughtful beader, Hoffman often spends a year or more in the creation of one of her legacy pieces. crafted to be exquisitely culturally connected, these pieces are brought to life slowly and gently. They speak, she says, not for her as an individual, but for her People — past, present and future. They sing the lessons of their Ancestors in voices strong and clear.

Portrait photo by Wisconsin Public Radio/JPotter.

  • Artwork by Karen Ann Hoffman
    Feather Holder, 2014. 14 karat gold and glass beads on velvet, dimensions 16 × 5 inches. Photo by James Gill Photography.
    [ID: Golden and white beaded embroidery in the shape of a small flower and swirling stem on a rectangular piece of black fabric. Black ribbon frames the object and three delicate, black bows run along the bottom.]
  • Artwork by Karen Ann Hoffman
    Rock Art Caribou, 2015. Glass beads on velvet, Lake Superior agates in a ceramic frame, dimensions 32 × 30 inches. Photo by James Gill Photography.
    [ID: White and black beaded embroidery on a dark background. The image is a flat and stylized image of a caribou standing under a flowering vine. The embroidered scene is framed by a brown marbled background.]
  • Artwork by Karen Ann Hoffman
    Berry Knife, 2021. Glass beads on velvet, dimensions 8 × 6 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist.
    [ID: A semicircle piece of purple fabric embroidered with intricate beadwork of red strawberries, white flowers, and green leaves.]
Artwork by Karen Ann Hoffman Artwork by Karen Ann Hoffman Artwork by Karen Ann Hoffman