Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Features

September 4, 2012

Gathering Culture in Glasgow

Barbour makes first trip to event

GLASGOW — A good Native American headband is hard to find, according to Paul Barbour.

“But if you honor the headband, it talks to you, it will tell you it’s the right one for you,” he said.

Barbour is a descendant of the Ute tribe and sat wearing his own headband and chest plate as he ran his stand at the Global Fest on the Glasgow Square on Saturday afternoon. It was his first time at the Glasgow event.

“People are very nice,” Barbour said. “I just sit and relax and talk to everyone.”

Before the storms came, Barbour was teaching visitors about his handmade work, which also included dreamcatchers and fans of turkey feathers set in brightly colored bases.

Originally from Idaho, his father had lived on a reservation but Barbour followed his wife to Kentucky, where they found their home in Rhoda.

He still holds on to his roots, however, believing in the spirits within a dreamcatcher and the medicinal power of nature.

“The stuff they find in the prairies is more medicine than a doctor can ever give you,” Barbour said. “The [Native Americans] that go out and know how to find a good mushroom, they know what kind to eat that will help them.”

Barbour’s American heritage is more than the paintings, statues and designs he displayed as part of the Global Fest. He was a soldier during the Korean and Vietnam wars.

On a trip to Germany in the late 1950s, he ran into a young Elvis Presley, he said, tagging along with him for a brief time, for a few drinks and a few nights on the town.

When he retired from the military in 1972, he picked back up where he’d left off, continuing, as he had since he was a young boy, making traditional Native American wares and interacting with people all over the country who had a passion for it.

The designs for his work are already in his head, the test is getting the designs to come out.

“When I start I go to Him,” Barbour said, pointing to the sky. “I ask Him to help me with the design and it just comes out. Sometimes it takes days, but it comes out just like I pictured.”

Some of his designs are as intricate as 150 beads per inch. He writes designs on draft paper when he can’t work on them. No two designs are alike, and if he finds someone with a similar design to the one he’s made, he considers that a spiritual connection between the designs.

He can tell when headbands or dreamcatchers are manufactured because of the detail.

“You can see there are some beads missing or the strings are broken and you can tell it was factory-made,” Barbour said. “They’re just not as good, they don’t have that connection.”

The next stop for Barbour is the International Fest in Bowling Green on Sept. 29, where he will continue to tell his stories to anyone and sell his work to those that listen to the call of the designs.

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