Wolf-Bear Creations

Davises put native Indian touch
on their art, crafts and home

By Elizabeth Nachman
Contributing Writer

MADISON, Ind. (March 2000) – Nestled between a small creek and a forest of trees is a sign that says "Awahtahe," or "Welcome."

Sid and Nancie Davis

Photo by Elizabeth Nachman

Sid and Nancie Davis decorate
their home with Indian flavor.

And welcome you will be upon entering the home of Sid and Nancie Scott Davis. This unique couple has turned a crumbling piece of the past into a cozy retreat that they now call home.
Their house is, in a sense, a museum, for it is filled with Indian artifacts and Nancie's acclaimed artwork.
You will also find a variety of interesting collections, including baskets, antique baby bottles, wooden mallets, bears and horses. It not only holds personal treasures but also contains many pieces reflective of their Indian heritage, such as an Indian war shirt worn by Sid's grandfather more than 100 years ago.
A Kiowa Apache, Sid was born on a reservation in southwest Arizona and lived there until he was 16 years old. After attending college in Illinois, he served in the U.S. Marines for eight years. While living in Illinois, he began his 45-year career as a building contractor. Although he officially retired five years ago, Sid continues to use his natural skills and abilities.
Restoring their almost 200-year-old stone house became a four-year project that he and his wife took on together. One of the most notable accomplishments is the room that Sid built with his own two hands. Originally a summer kitchen, it can now be accessed from either the living room or kitchen.
Cozy and filled with the warmth of a wood stove, the room is referred to as "their cabin." Hanging from the walls are many examples of Sid's talents, including several pairs of handmade moccasins, beaded bags and tin lanterns.
His wife's art also adorns the walls. It is here that the couple spends many hours working on their individual crafts and artwork or just relaxing.
Nancie, a Southern Cheyenne, was born in Fort Wayne, Ind. Later, she moved to Indianapolis, where she attended the University of Indianapolis and studied at the Herron School of Art. She is a recognized artist whose paintings have not only hung in the famed Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and in the Louvre in Paris, France, but have also graced the covers of magazines.
She is also listed in the Who's Who of American Artists.
Nancie's interest in art developed from the moment she could hold a pencil in her hand. Her grandmother and great uncle were also artists.
Her paintings reflect a variety of mediums, including pastels, oils and pencils. While a large portion of her artwork is executed on canvas, she also uses unusual backgrounds, such as feathers and her husband's carvings.
The portraits that she paints on feathers are wonderfully detailed and precise. She strives to create a mood with her paintings and wants the onlooker to feel the emotions of the subjects.
Upon request, Nancie will also draw composites and courtroom sketches for law enforcement media and agencies.
Nancie taught art for 29 years in the Indianapolis area. She also had the unique opportunity to teach in France. She has exhibited at numerous shows around the United States as well as in France.
At one of her shows in Toulouse, France, she sold her entire collection on opening day. Currently, her paintings are displayed in museums throughout the United States and can be purchased locally at Step Back in Time, an antique shop in downtown Madison.
"The first time I saw Nancie's artwork, I was totally amazed by her realism and creativity," said Sara Wilson, co-owner of Step Back in Time. "When I opened the shop in July, I just had to offer her a wall."
The shop usually has 10 to 15 of her paintings on hand at any given time. Private commissions can also be arranged.
Although Sid has sold his crafts in the past, he now focuses on creating items for his home and family. Numerous pieces of his handmade furniture can be found throughout the house. The wedding dress he made for his wife hangs in a nearby closet.
In almost every nook and cranny, there is some object lovingly touched by Sid's hands. When he is not pursuing his crafts, Sid visits classrooms and talks to students about Indian culture.
Both he and his wife conduct seminars on the art of beadwork, scrimshaw and painting. When asked, Sid will do restoration work for museums.
The next time you watch the movie "Dances With Wolves," look closely at the Indian weaponry. Several of the stone pieces and tomahawks were crafted by Sid Davis.

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