Born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Ricky Bearghost is an active member of the Three Affiliated Tribes—the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation—who believe their presence in North America is from the beginning of time. In 1970, Ricky moved to Salem, Oregon, and in 1988 he relocated to Portland, Oregon. He is represented by Webb Gallery in Waxahachie, Texas.
Ricky’s early weavings were markedly traditional and usually small, created using a lap loom and colorful yarn. He would finish them by painting the reverse side, a signature effect he still incorporates in his works today. In 2015, his interest in neighborhood clean-up intersected with his artistic process. During a moment of serendipity, Ricky exhausted his yarn supply and turned to a bucket of debris he had collected, containing bailing twine, corn husks, and leaves. Enjoying the positive response to this new take on his work, he continued to seek out seasonal organic matter and found objects for his textiles, weaving what he could and stuffing discarded net produce bags with the material that wouldn’t easily weave.
This new use of non-traditional material in his process also gave rise to his inclusion of handmade ceramic beads, custom-made by him. Ricky’s innovative discoveries have led to the work he currently produces—elaborate, dense, and incredibly colorful weavings made almost exclusively from found and sourced beads. Electric colored plastic pony beads are woven alongside found buttons, soda tabs, and reclaimed pieces of jewelry. Ricky’s work often reflects the seasonal flora at the time of creation with a penchant to harvest and preserve the natural Pacific Northwest beauty surrounding him.