Madison Holler Q&A

October 11, 2021
Madison Holler makes jewelry that honors her Native ancestry.

“Nature is a huge inspiration in my work, so my roots in central Minnesota and in northern Minnesota (near my cabin on rainy lake) are engrained in my work, always. From the landscape to the flora and fauna — these are my muses.”

You learned beading from your relatives at your family cabin. Do you remember enjoying the patience required to make a piece? 

I would say the first thing that I noticed about beadwork was how much I enjoyed the way it could slow me down. I was a very hyperactive child and have dealt with ADHD and OCD for most of my life. Beadwork is incredibly medicinal and meditative. I found that tasks that were repetitive could get me into a more pensive state and found it to be a comforting outlet.

You’ve said to bead you have to accept the fact that you can work on a piece for eight hours but if a bead breaks it all could be for naught. Hard!

The patience required, given the fact that the medium can be so fickle and unforgiving, sort of demands that the maker gives grace to the process. Learning to let go and move thoughtfully have been the greatest teachings of beadwork. The rewards for this type of acceptance and perseverance, however, are always worth it in the end.

You draw on your Anishinaabe, Scandinavian and Dutch heritage in your work. Do you find that Native artists are finally gaining cultural prominence?

I think that last year’s racial reckoning brought light to a lot of BIPOC creatives — I can only hope this increases at the same velocity we have been seeing as of late.

You’ve said that you try not to make the same piece twice. Is that difficult to resist when you see a design has become popular?

I don’t actually find this difficult at all, oddly. I am sure that people won’t like that answer, though. To me it seems obvious why. Most artists wouldn’t want to sit and paint the same painting for 10 hours straight over and over again. It feels the same for beadwork to me. These pieces are not quick to produce. To create designs identically, would take away from the time for me to explore new ideas!

You work from your home in Sauk Rapids. How does living in central Minnesota inform your art?

Nature is a huge inspiration in my work, so my roots in central Minnesota and in northern Minnesota (near my cabin on rainy lake) are engrained in my work, always. From the landscape to the flora and fauna — these are my muses.

You’re also proficient in photography, ceramics and illustration. Do you find your practice in one space informs your work in others? 

I have always been a wearer of many hats or the saying “stokes in many fires” comes to mind. I have always sort of thought of it as my superpower. My experience in graphic design and photography has definitely benefited my beadwork business. I think that being a multi-faceted artist can be frowned upon, as if dividing your focus does not allow you to become proficient or grow experience in a single medium. However, I’ve found that every time I learn a new craft, trade, skill set, I am better off for it and find new solutions and techniques across the board. That being said, I am shifting my business to be more centered around the beadwork and have photography take the back burner come the start of the year! This has been a slow transition, but I am finally ready to give beadwork my full time attention.

Do you mind marketing your work or do you find non-art work annoying?

Mastering those areas of owning a small business has been really frustrating, yet fulfilling to me. There were a lot of growing pains in the beginning, and things I wish I had known to ask. As a new small business owners, especially women, not enough conversations happen about money and business acumen. These are the things I wish I had sought advice in early on.

What is next for you?

I am working on a video series that will be available for purchase next spring.