By MELANIE ELLIS
SANTA FE – Carol Melting Tallow is a multi-talented 31- year- old aboriginal dancer, designer and entrepreneur from the Blood Nation. After graduating in 2008 from Lethbridge College in Alberta, Canada, with a degree in fashion design and marketing, she started her own fashion on-line design business called Native Notions.
She is already an accomplished fashion designer, deeply enmeshed in her native culture. Her goal is to market that culture through patterns, sewing classes, and one day, home décor.
Her clothing and dance regalia designs use basic, affordable materials such as, cotton and satin fabrics. “Thank heaven for Wal-Mart,” she told design students during one class at Lethbridge. She also uses natural adornments such as chicken feathers, horsehair and porcupine quills.
“You have to have a dream to begin with,” says the IAIA full-time student, majoring in two-dimensional design. “Everyone wants to drive a Cadillac Escalade. I’ve got a ’98 Windstar ”“ the lights shut off every time I drive over a bump ”“ but one day I’m going to have that Cadillac. This is no longer a dream. I’m doing it.”
Melting Tallow believes that networking is crucial to her success as a business woman. She has exchanged business cards and ideas with fellow business associates at the Smithsonian in Washington and in Florida where she won the world fancy dance title.
Fancy dancing, either with a stage troupe or competitively at a pow-wow, is something she takes great pride in and uses as a stress reliever. “When I dance, I’m in the moment and forget my troubles. It’s a passion, a love. It’s something that bridges families.”
She was the lead First Nation female dancer for the 2010 Winter Olympics Open Ceremonies in Vancouver, BC, for the dance company of David Atkins Enterprises Productions Limited. She has also performed in South Korea and in Amsterdam, Holland.
A Winner All Around
Since 2005 she has been winning awards, both for her Native regalia and clothing designs as well as for her Native dancing.
* Best Designer award at the 2005 Lethbridge College fashion competition
* May 2006, her fashion designs showcased in a documentary on Aboriginal People’s Television Network (APTN), and now broadcast in Cree, French and English
* Head Lady Dancer at the National Smithsonian Washington, DC Pow wow 2007
* Junior Women’s Fancy Shawl Schemitzun World Championship Title 2007 at the Schemitzun, Conn. Competition Pow wow.
She has even designed a jacket for Phil Fontaine, Canadian national chief of the Assembly of First Nations. With her fashion design degree, Native Notions business and her IAIA fine art experiences, Melting Tallow is ready to soar.
“Now it’s up to me to make a better future for my family, my people and my nation.”
Copyright © IAIA CHRONICLE 2010