The way the skirt flows

The way the skirt flows
(photo submission) Yuchi/Muscogee (Creek)/Kiowa Audrey Hill discusses unique take on cultural skirt design

Liz Gray/Reporter

Hill describes design process, reasoning

GLENPOOL, Oklahoma — The way that Audrey Hill (Yuchi/Muscogee (Creek)/Kiowa) presents herself can be described as meticulous. Anyone with an eye for design and fashion can see her ensembles are well thought out.

Her personal style is reflected in the arrangements of skirts she has created. Each skirt Audrey designs is treated with great care and thoughtfulness, a flowing work of art.

The passion of designing skirts for the ceremonial dances she and her family attend started with the birth of her daughter in 2014 and has since developed into a reputation of making a new skirt for her and her daughter every weekend during the active stompdance season.

When she first started the skirts, they did not come out quite right. Some were uneven and the ribbons were not lining up, but this did not discourage her.

“That was my motivation to keep going and to keep trying and work my way up and getting better at sewing,” Hill said.

Audrey said that the time she takes in the design of her skirt stems from passion and does not see it as just a hobby.

She starts out with a sketch, taking scrap pieces of paper and colored pencils to form the idea.

When she goes out to buy material, the trip could take one to two hours in order to compare colors, match color schemes and get the design to come together perfectly.

Audrey said her enthusiasm for design has always been a part of who she is, the ideas were there but the knowledge of application needed to be developed. Once the ability to create was obtained, she was able to express herself through her skirts.

“I normally go with bright colors, something that stands out, something that’s going to catch the eye,” Hill said. “…Expressing yourself and being your own person, a lot of people are scared to do that…”

She considers her daughter when designing and what she thinks her daughter may like, sometimes going into characters like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The joy of seeing her daughter dancing and enjoying herself when she goes out to the ceremonial ground fills her with pride and inspires her to keep doing what she is doing. She hopes to one-day pass down the knowledge and passion to her.

One of the traits that Audrey’s skirts have is the length. They are shorter than the full-length skirts that many are used to seeing. The reason?

“…I like to show my cans,” Hill said.

Her husband Buffalo Hill makes her and her daughter’s cans and she likes to display his work.

“That’s one thing I love, that we do this as a team,” she said “Our heritage is something that we, I mean, it’s our heart. It’s our passion.”

Audrey and her family are members of the Duck Creek Ceremonial Ground and participate in stompdances at other grounds.

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  • Susan Thornburg
    September 6, 2017, 5:53 am

    Have you ever thought about doing Northern Tribe skirts as well? The reason I ask as that I’m originally from the north, Wisconsin, I’m registered with the Red Cliff Band of The Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.