Kaylene Mabbitt

South Slave
Fort Smith
Primary Art Type: 

Artist Story

As a young kid, when I first learned to bead and sew with my family in Délı̨nę, I didn’t have the patience for it. I can always recall my late grandmother working on moose hides and sewing many items for our family. We all called her Ama (mother in our Dene language), and although she was not able to guide me, she is a big inspiration to my work.

In 2020, I was newly sober during a worldwide pandemic, I needed to do something to keep me occupied at home; I remembered a few things from watching people around me bead and sew while I was growing up, and just went from there. I received a lot of help and support from a beading friend that I met online. Whenever I doubted myself, I would send her pictures and ask for advice. She encouraged me, and pushed me to keep going, which really helped build my confidence.

I draw inspiration from many aspects but most especially my surroundings. I love to go for walks and look around at all the different colors, textures, and shapes in nature. I am constantly learning and growing, and interested in all forms of original Indigenous designs and artwork. Most recently I’ve been perfecting my skills in caribou hair tufting and porcupine quill work.

My creative process begins by picking out colors before I start any work. I envision how I want my piece to look and am guided with how it feels as I go along. I draw out my designs, and then add more details, colors, and different shapes. I usually end up making bigger pieces than what I intended to as they evolve. My designs typically change while I’m creating, which is part of my bold unique creative process. The different shapes and vibrant colors are some of the distinctive traits of my work. That’s the beauty of making my own art. When I see that people love what I do, it encourages me to continue making one-of-a-kind designs. People often tell me that they have never seen anything like mine and that’s what keeps me going.

The elements in my work often hold great meaning to me. I once made a small pair of earrings for a relative with Ama’s vintage beads, home tanned moosehide, and caribou hair tufting; I used similar colors to those used in one of my Ama’s original beaded pieces. When I work with traditionally tanned moose hide, I feel especially connected with my Ama and our Sahtu Dene culture. I don’t work with moose hide often because it’s hard to come by, and so I save it for special pieces. I honor my late grandmother by learning as many Dene skills as I can, and I believe that she would be proud of me for reconnecting with my culture.

Artist Bio: 

Kaylene is the artist behind Everr Nezo Kreations, based in Fort Smith but originally from Délı̨nę. She started selling her artwork in 2020 after reconnecting with her culture and beadwork. Her work is inspired by the different colors in nature and is a mix of contemporary, unique, and traditional artwork. Kaylene’s focus has been centered around creating bold statement piece earrings, but she also makes slippers, gloves, necklaces, pins and other items. Her pieces embody a variety of beads, traditionally tanned moose hide, caribou hair tufting, porcupine quill work, and other materials sourced ethically from the land.

Last Updated: September 13, 2023

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