When I was about 4 years old, I remember seeing my mom doing some beadwork and my grandma making moccasins, but I didn’t truly start beading until my kids were a little older. At the time, I had moved to a small town in Alberta and they had this store where they sold beads and all kinds of crafts. The manager invited me to come and sit with her to bead at the store. That was about 1984. I now make beaded earrings, beaded wallet, moccasins, rosary pouches, key chains, purses and more.
I mostly learned to bead on my own, because I just love to create based on how I feel. One of my aunties does a lot of patterns for me because she is very good at drawing. I love to collaborate with her. When I make my own designs, I choose geometrical patterns like triangles or diamonds. Colours really inspire my work as well. I enjoy using a lot of bright colours, particularly different tones of red.
When I bead, I don’t worry about anything else. I can just sit there and bead for hours because it’s so soothing to me. I get in my own little world and, all of sudden, I did all the outlines and all that needs to be done is the inside. I also sew because I love the sense of completion it brings into my life. Once I’ve finalized a project, I find it so beautiful and it makes me feel like I accomplished something.
The first moccasins, purses and wallets I made were for my daughters, when they were younger. But they can do their own sewing now! One of my daughters, Lesley Ann, started to sew by watching me. She used to ask me to do the outlines for her, but I told her that the only way she can learn is by doing it herself. And now, it makes me feel good that she’s sewing. It’s important to keep the tradition going. My granddaughter is already interested in making pillows, and soon she’ll be able to learn how to make earrings. I love to teach the next generations by starting small and by helping them learn along the way.