Artist Story

I have been sewing for as long as I can remember. My Grandmother Mary and my Mother Margaret are amazing traditional sewers. I watched them from a young age and learned from them. I have always found it very easy to create art in any form, from wood working to antler working to traditional sewing, carving, painting and anything else that interests me or catches my eye.

I try to create what others haven’t – incorporating traditional techniques in everything I make with a twist of contemporary. I create art that makes me happy – and if I am happy with my creations then I believe that others will also find that joy. It is amazing to see something so beautiful that you alone created and even more amazing to see people wearing it or buying it. I still have a hard time when people come up to me and compliment me about my work but that is getting easier.

I feel at peace when I’m in my space, surrounded by my “junk”, a good cup of coffee and no one around. Making art keeps my mind young and creative. I have a million ideas and never enough time. I use a lot of recycled material and stuff that other would never think to use. I am always on the lookout for art “supplies”.

For me, art is a way of life. It builds self-worth, self-esteem and self-love. It’s about being Aboriginal and it’s about being proud. Proud of who I am. Proud of how far I have come, proud of who and what I was taught and proud of my creations and hopeful for the future. I am hoping to pass on some knowledge to the younger kids in the community. Well, not only the young, but also the young at heart.


Artist Bio: 

Lisa McDonald was born in Edmonton, AB and currently lives in Norman Wells, NT. Her emerging art varies in genre and taste; she enjoys sewing with beads, making traditional slippers, mitts and mukluks, card holders, working with moose-hide, caribou, strond and canvas. Lisa also enjoys photography, taking pictures of wildlife and landscapes, enexpectedly "in the moment". She also enjoys working with wood and acrylic paints, she enjoys painting end tables, coffee tables, etc., adding designs to perk them up. Lisa was taught art at a young age from her Grandmother Mary and her mom Margaret. She learned by watching them and others sew, she likes to look at other artists work and get idea's and different techniques that are used. Lisa has many talented artists in her family; her mother Margaret sews traditional wear and sews beutiful embroidery. Her aunts, Violet, Ruby, Rosie, MJ and Betty also sew traditional wear and do exceptional work. Her cousin Jackie also sews well. Her brother Blaine and son Jaryd are drawing artists. "All in all everyone is an artist to some degree, but I have a very talented family and I am very proud of them." "I did not go to art school or anything, but living and growing up in the Sahtu Region, I am surrounded by artists and their work. My Grandmother and her sisters were talented sewers. Anything I have learned was past on to me from my Grandmother and Mother and also by asking other and watching other work. I learn best by hands-on work and practicing different techniques." "I always loved to do work with my hands. Growing up I never believed I had the inner artist in me and always doubted myself, so growing up, I sewed a few times but because of that belief I never really allowed myself to be really open and artistic." "Take time for our youth, it is so hard for us in this day and age and I know what it is like to be shunned and left out. Alcohol is such an easy way out and our youth need to know that they are needed, they are smart and they are worth something. We need to start positive and work with them because they are our future. I love my children and nieces and nephews. I hope I can pass my abilities on to them."

Last Updated: May 23, 2023

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