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Jessi Johnson

South Slave
Fort Smith
Primary Art Type: 

Artist Story

My mother-in-law, Rose Browning, was amazing at beading. She gave me my first pieces of material and taught me a few basic techniques, but I ended up getting frustrated and setting it aside. In 2016, I picked up the sewing materials she gave me and got started again. I was on maternity leave and wanted something to work on while the baby was sleeping most of the time. I now really love doing beadwork, specifically earrings. I’ve also made bracelets and necklaces, and have done headbands on felt and fabrics. I mainly taught myself to bead at home through online photos and videos.

My earrings with intricate designs are definitely inspired by nature. I like using colors related to blue, like teal or gunmetal. I use delica and seed beads, but when I make bracelets and necklace I will often weave them. My creative process will often start on a whim, like during a walk. In those moments, I normally try to jolt the ideas down, even if it’s on my hand with a pen I found in my pocket. When I have time, I will revisit those ideas, sit, look at them closely and decide what I want to do with them. That’s when I start designing what I want. I also love to make earrings based on cartoons that I enjoyed as a child. I hope they can bring back some childhood giddiness in others, just like it does for me.

What I love the most about creating art is that it makes me feel stress-free, calm and relaxed. I know others might feel frustrated when they work on artistic projects, but I find it’s how I release the daily stresses of being a single working mom. It helps me focus on what’s in front of me, like therapy. What I like the most is probably when I’m halfway through a project and it’s coming to life; there’s a turning point where I can tell it will look good when it’s finished.

Artist Bio: 

Jessi Johnson was born in Fort Smith, moved to Hay River when she was 7 years old, and came back to live in Fort Smith when she was nineteen, where she still resides. She sells her work through her own Facebook page, or will sell directly from her kitchen table in her home. For now, Jessi wishes to continue making beaded jewelry as a hobby, all while working, completing a degree, and raising a young family.

Last Updated: September 23, 2021

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