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Beadwork

Archive

I was taught to bead by a Métis Knowledge Keeper, Alicia Hamilton, (virtually) in a lockdown in the winter of 2021. I specialize in single-needle flat stitch.

See more of my work on my Instagram page.

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Mysis relicta with DNA barcode border

I created this piece as part of the art and science showcase for the Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) annual meeting.

Mysis relicta is a species of shrimp that occur in glacial lakes around Iqaluktuttiaq, Nunavut - where I do my PhD research. It was reported in an academic publication in 1962, where four "glacial relict" species were described. After tons of planning and lots of effort, I collected Mysis relicta and submitted specimens for DNA barcoding.

DNA barcoding is a method of sequencing that extracts a small portion of the CO1 gene in animals. Each basepair can then be colour-coded to look exactly like a barcode you'd see in a grocery store! The edge of my piece is the actual DNA barcode of a Mysis relicta sequence.

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This beadwork was created using single-needle flat-stitch techniques and combining contemporary styles with elements of traditional Métis beadwork. The red dress is a national symbol to raise awareness of the ongoing human rights crisis of gender-based and racialized violence in Canada. For the edging of the dress and flower pieces, queer flag colours were used to call attention to the elevated rates of violence women and 2SLGBTQQIA people experience in this country. The flower and seed pod are interpretations of a native medicinal prairie flowering plant called Echinacea, commonly known as coneflowers, to represent cyclicity, however elements of the coneflower's life cycle are missing. The traditional elements of Métis beadwork include the design of the flower and the "mousetracks" connecting the flower to the seed pod. In traditional beadwork, usually the entire life cycle of a flower is depicted and connected via tendrils or mousetracks. The entirety of the life cycle is not included in this work as most MMIWG2S victims have their lives irrevocably changed or cut short by violence.

 

May 5th is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit People, where hanging up a red dress was inspired by Métis artist Jaime Black during her REDress Project installation.

Materials: Charlotte-cut seed beads, Czech seed beads, felt, tanned deer hide

This piece is on permanent display at Fort Whyte Alive in Winnipeg, MB.

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White water lily

This was custom ordered by a peer in my department at the University of Guelph, who is graduating from a PhD program shortly. Their grandmother's name is Lily and they want to honour her.

Czech seed beads, Charlotte true-cut seed beads, 24-kt plated seed beads, glass beads, tanned deer hide

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Medallion

This was my first medallion, custom-ordered by a wonderful mum for her son's first powwow dance. It was created based on his name and his colours, which match his regalia.

I added a pouch to the back of the piece for medicine, if desired.

Created with Charlotte-cut seed beads, seed beads, paracord, felt, and smoked moose hide.

American White Pelican

I often create beadwork based on images I have captured myself. This pelican was a custom commission.

Seed beads, glass beads, tanned deer hide.

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Orchids

Both of these flowers are native to the prairies.

Left: Custom commission of a Pink Ladyslipper. Charlotte true-cut beads, seed beads, vintage glass beads, and tanned deer hide.

Right: Sparrow's Egg Lady Slipper medicine pouch. Gold-plated seed beads, Charlotte true-cuts, and seed beads on dyed and tanned hide.

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Fish leather pieces

I enjoy experimenting with new materials and styles. I learned of fish leather from Anishinaabe scientist Amber Sandy and was immediately interested in sourcing some. It is one of the strongest animal leathers available, but is also thin and easy to work with.

The stud earrings in the photos here are metallic copper-dyed cod leather, celery green-dyed cod leather, and all of the earrings on the right hand side are tilapia leather. They are all edged with seed beads, backed with tanned deer hide, and have silver stud findings.

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Gold Salmon earrings

Custom order from a fish biologist.

Fish leather, Charlotte-cut seed beads, smoked moose hide.

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Experimental designs

I ordered some more interesting fish leather from Fiskur Leather.
 

I looked at the fun-coloured trout leather and decided to create some experimental pieces inspired by the colours of the dye.

Left: Banana trouts

Trout leather, Czech seed beads, Charlotte true-cut seed beads, silver-plated findings

Right: Blueberry trouts

Trout leather, Czech seed beads, Charlotte true-cut seed beads, silver-plated findings

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Fringe earrings

I had taken a few workshops to learn fringe-style beading, but it took me over 2 years to figure it out.

I call these findings the Jellyfish.

Czech seed beads, Charlotte true-cut seed beads.

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Piccolo

I love challenging myself with new projects, like beading portraits of pets.

Seed beads, tanned deer hide.

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Bentley & Moira

Inspired by silly photos of our family dogs.

Seed beads on felt.

Coneflowers

Inspired by native medicinal plants from the prairies, I created several pairs of earrings depicting coneflowers/Echinacea.

Pink: sterling silver fishhook findings (33mm), seed beads, delica beads, vintage glass beads, Charlotte true-cut beads, tanned hide left over from moccasin making.

Yellow: 14k gold-filled earring hooks, seed beads, delica beads, Charlotte true-cut beads, seed beads, vintage glass beads, tanned hide left over from moccasin making.

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Prothonotary Warblers

Custom commissions of Prothonotary warblers.

Made with seed beads, glass beads, felt, and backed with dyed deer hide.

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Aerial beluga image

Custom commission. Seed beads on felt and backed with dyed deer hide.

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Beaded Bird Busts

Birds are an ongoing obsession for me, and I take commissions and create many bird bust pins.

Right: Ruby-throated hummingbird

Left: White-throated sparrow

Made with seed beads, glass beads, felt, and backed with tanned deer hide.

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Dragonfly commission

This piece was commissioned by a friend, as a gift for her mother. 

Seed beads, felt, vintage glass beads, tanned deer hide.

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Floral commissions

The Metis are known as the "flower beadwork people" by colonial settlers and First Nations groups our ancestors interacted with. We were (are!) known for being loud, jovial, and for our floral beadwork patterns on everything from our shoes, horse blankets, vests, and more.

Left: Cherry blossom

Right: Four-leaf clover

Seed beads, vintage seed beads, felt, tanned and dyed deer hide

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Floral commissions

Left: Custom commission of a marigold. Charlotte true-cut beads, seed beads, vintage glass beads, and tanned deer hide.

Right: Unknown purple flower. Seed beads, vintage glass beads, tanned deer hide.

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Beaded bird bust commissions

Left: Red phalarope female. Seed beads, delica beads, felt, vintage glass beads, tanned deer hide

Right: American robin. Charlotte-cut seed beads, seed beads, delica beads, vintage glass beads, smoked moose hide

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Arctic char

Commissioned by a fish biologist.

Charlotte-cut seed beads, seed beads, delica beads, dyed cow leather.

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