My great-grandmother, Violet Beaulieu, taught me traditional beading when I was 16 years old. I started out by learning the traditional two-needle appliqué technique, working on smaller projects such as cardholders, uppers and baby moccasins, as this knowledge was an important way for me to feel connected with my great-grandmother and our Métis culture.
I first started making beaded earrings on my own, teaching myself the brick stich as I tried to figure out my own style and creative process. As time went on, I started incorporating the two-needle technique I learned from my great-grandmother into my earrings and other items I was making. Aside from modern or vintage beads, I love to incorporate other materials in my designs, like moosehide, porcupine quills, and a multitude of fabrics. I like to harvest my own materials when I can, so I am always looking for porcupines on the side of the road! I mostly use natural coloured quills, but will sometimes dye them myself. For my most popular earrings, I fuse pellon fabric on moosehide to increase the longevity of the pieces. I draw my own designs, making sure everything is symmetrical before I start beading, as this ensures my work will look as neat as possible.
When I was living in British Columbia, I felt disconnected from my culture, which made me realize that learning beadwork was important to me. As soon as I came back to the North, I spent as much time as possible with my great-grandmother to take in as much of her knowledge as I could.
My great-grandmother’s work is intertwined with everything I do. After her passing, I found it hard to bead for a while, but I turned to her work for strength and inspiration. Keeping a bit of her style in my own designs is so important to me and helps me feels close to her. Because of that, I feel that my artwork is deeply interconnected with my family.