Lucy Jane Simon
I create traditional art because I love designing. I have been doing it since I was 9-years-old. I make art to give to my children and my grandchildren. What I give them is part of me. It is who they are too. It is in me to share.
When I walk through the bush, I always see the beautiful northern roses, like the ones you see on ladies’ slippers. All the things around me create pictures in my mind too – I go home and draw them. The things I make are from what I see and my art is my interpretation of that experience. I love to work with the beauty and the colours of nature.
When I do moose hair dying, it is like when you paint your house – a few drops here and there results in different kinds of beautiful colours. It is not just one simple colour. There are all sorts of different shades. That is like life. At one time, moose hair tufting was the most beautiful art that everyone did. Slowly it started dying. But now we are trying to revive it. It is an important part of our history and our culture and it is important to preserve.
Lucy was born and raised in Jean Marie River; one of eight daughters in a family of fifteen. She comes from a long line of creative people. Her artistic ability was filtered down from her grandmother Adeline Sabourin. Lucy remembers some intricate pieces of work that her grandmother created, such as designs with moose hair on every second fringe of clothing.
Her mother, Mary Louise Sanguez, and elders Celine Gargan and Sarah Hardisty were others who demonstrated a multitude of sewing designs for Lucy. Her mother inspired and encouraged her to continue perfecting her art and to pass along her knowledge. Lucy is very passionate about educating this generation in the art of sewing.
At the age of nine, Lucy started working with beads and moose hide, but it was not until she was 19 years old that she started working with moose hair tufting. That subsequently led her to refine her own extraordinary and unique designs in many traditional forms such as moose hide tanning, moose hair tufting and beading.
At a young age, Lucy was involved in the establishment of the Jean Marie Native Arts with a group of women who travelled to Whitehorse and showcased her art work. She is well-known across the Dehcho for providing demonstrations and workshops where she generously shares her knowledge with others and promotes traditional craft.
Lucy has displayed and demonstrated her art at the Open Sky Festival and Gallery, the Great Northern Arts Festival and at many local events. Her art has also been displayed at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.