As a beadweaver for more than 25 years, I’ve come to think of this ancient craft as an outlet for my many visual inspirations.
From traditional Baltic, Slavic, Scandinavian, Asian and Arabic motifs, to the customary patterns of the many Indigenous Peoples of North America, I revel in the shapes and colours with which we’ve decorated our lives, century after century.
Growing up on the Great Lakes, I was first introduced to beadwork by the Ojibwe People of that area, with whom I proudly share my heritage. I was struck by the creativity and obvious time investment in each piece of carefully woven beadwork, and with the way each shape or colour might communicate something about the culture within which it was created. This beautiful melding of history and craftsmanship sparked something in me as a young child, and beadweaving has remained my beloved creative outlet to this day.
In many cultures and families from Nunavut to Nigeria, beadwoven pieces are made with immense love, and are worn, mended, and cared for with great respect, often passed down through generations. The craft itself is also passed down mother to son, father to daughter, and grows and survives with each new beadweaver.
I’ve worked with every type of bead and stitch under the sun, and today I primarily work with Japanese Delica Beads, and a small number of traditional beadweaving stitches. I never use a loom, so each bead is sewn into the piece individually, often as I sit with my family at home, camping, or travelling in the Pacific Northwest. My craft tends to follow me everywhere.
I am proud to be carrying on the long tradition of beadweaving, and hope to do my part to bring the beauty of this amazing craft into wider contemporary awareness.