Jesse Larocque

North Slave
14 Calder Crescent
14 Calder Crescent
Yellowknife, NT X1A 3B1

Artist Story

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.

Artist Bio: 

Jesse started making jewellery in 2010, when she felt the need to connect with her Métis heritage. She aims to continue expressing her creativity while passing on her traditional knowledge to future generations. Jesse’s jewelry business is called Northern Breed - a name gifted to her by her grandfather, Don Morin. You can find Jesse’s artwork on Facebook and Instagram. Follow her at: NorthernBreedNWT.

Last Updated: November 5, 2020

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