I have beaded all my life. When I was younger, I would work during the day and come home to work on my crafts all evening. I learned by watching my great aunties, my grandma and my mom. I was very curious and serious about learning, so I watched everything that they did. When I was as young as 12 years old, I worked with my mom to make a pair of moccasins. My grandma taught me how to do beadwork by drawing designs for me every time I’d visit. She was so proud of me when I finished my first upper!
I made tiny pairs of moccasins for all of my children. Sadly, my house burned down and I lost many things I cherished in the fire. However, even if there were difficult challenges to overcome in my life, I continued to sew. Over the years, I kept learning how to make new things, such as mini-mukluks to hang on zippers, key chains, small wallets, earrings, bracelets, and hairpins.
I retired when I was 71 years old and now I sew all the time! It makes me feel good. I always write about what I want to do before I start a new project: that is how I get inspired. Then, I will draw my designs on really thin paper. Otherwise, I will ask my daughter Kim for help because she is an artist too and she draws beautiful flowers.
When I go on holidays, I take my sewing with me. When I visit my granddaughters, they are always around me, asking me what I’m making. They’ll sit around and be noisy and eat my beads if I don’t watch them carefully! They are so cute and funny! I also sew when I’m out on the land, especially when the kids are interested in learning. I will ask what they want to make, and then they’ll say: “We can make little wallets or key chains for Mother’s day”. So I will help them cut out the pieces that they need and draw flowers for them. They already impress me so much!
When I sew I feel relaxed. I think about all the important women in my life: my grandmas, my aunties, and my mom. I imagine myself sitting beside them, watching them. Sometimes it’s kind of hard, but it makes me happy that I’ve learned from such traditional people. I cherish their memories through everything they showed me.