I’m a self-taught Tłı̨chǫ beadworker. I use modern or vintage beads with materials from the land — such as traditionally tanned moose or caribou hide, caribou antlers, and rabbit fur — to make earrings, necklaces, keychains, headbands, and clothing items. I also dye moose and caribou hair for tufting.
I am currently taking a traditional hide tanning workshop. This is the first time I have ever tanned a woodland caribou hide and I am excited about what it could mean for my artwork! I am looking forward to be able to tan my own hides one day. It reminds me to feel empowered and proud to be a strong resilient Indigenous woman.
My artwork is always inspired by colours and elements found in nature. When I make my patterns, I like to create based on what I feel in the moment. I usually start by sketching out my design ideas in a notebook I carry with me. I also love to ask for feedback on social media, so that my customers can give their opinion about my work. It’s all part of my creative process. In this ongoing journey, I am grateful to be a part of a beading community where other artists share knowledge and tutorials that help me grow.
When I sew, I am reflecting on my life, my Ancestors, and my family. Beading is a form of meditation to me; it is medicine and it is my way of healing. Most of all, beading allows me to reclaim the creative arts that were lost three generations back in my family. By learning how to bead, I am creating a future that allows my daughter to learn those lost skills too. It’s a way to reclaim and revitalize modern beadwork.
I am always inspired by my Indigenous Ancestors. For years, they have been creating with materials from the land and I think it’s really important to revitalize those art forms in my own family. I have always loved to hear stories about other Indigenous women growing up watching their mothers and grandmothers sew. I never got the chance to experience that, which is why I am doing everything in my power to offer those memories to my daughter. Soon, we will be beading together. It will be a special bond to be able to teach her those traditional skills and to create with her.