The First Nation™ Sioux designs are based on artist Shawn Espinosa’s work in the parfleche medium.
Parfleche is rawhide adorned with art work originally done by the plains Indians and made into containers, carrying pouches and protective battle gear (the term “Par fleche” is derived from the french words for “stops arrows”). Shawn uses extensively the concept of “4” - a number sacred to the Lakota Sioux. This number relates to multiple aspects of significance: the four elements of life - earth, wind, water and fire; the four directions - north, south, east and west; and the four Lakota virtues - family, fortitude, generosity, and wisdom.
Parfleche art is an example of how everyday objects were given special meaning through decoration and adornment. Shawn’s striking, classic geometric designs are representative of the times before contact with the Europeans when the Sioux developed the tradition of using abstract designs to convey complex concepts. They are also emblematic of the time and care that were devoted by the Sioux to the creation of traditional decorative and functional art.