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Mary Neyelle

Fort Simpson
P.0. Box 22
Wrigley, NT X0E 1E0

Artist Story

I make vests, mukluk, mitts as well as slippers, and I love to decorate every item I make with beadwork! My mother and my sister taught me how to bead when I was about 15 years old. I learned how to make slippers first, and I continued to practice from there. I started by making slippers for my own family, and eventually for my kids as well. Everyone in my family has received their own handmade slippers and mitts from me and that makes me really happy!

I have been making my artwork since I was a teenager, and at the beginning, it was really hard to learn. I can’t remember how many times I took some of my first projects apart just to redo them the right way.

I draw my own designs. I also make my own patterns, which I cut myself. I particularly like to draw flowers because I find them so beautiful. Red, blue and pink are some of my favorite colors to work with. I will use either shiny or mat beads, depending on the design I am working on.

Sewing makes me feel good and it keeps my hands busy. I love to work on productive projects, and I also really like to see how they turn out when they’re done.

Artist Bio: 

Mary Neyelle is originally from Wrigley, Northwest Territories. Her parents were also from the Dehcho region although her mother Marie Hansetti had relations in Hay River. She married a Sahtu Mountain Dene man and together they had 8 children and adopted another son.

Mary started beading when she was 15 years old. She was taught by her mother and Aunts in old Fort Wrigley. She started with the techniques of porcupine quills, silk embroidery, moosehair tufting and yarn since seed beads were not readily available at this time (1945) until the Hudson Bay Company Traders came into the Mackenzie River District.

Mary makes moccasins, gauntlets, beaded gloves, beaded moosehide vests, mukluks, scissor cases, needle cases, beaded gun cases, credit card holders, eye glass holders, ponytail holders, watch straps, stroud picture frames, and lots of various uppers. She likes to check the different assortment of beads and selecting the colours which can coordinate for floral and other designs on uppers or other projects. A lifetime of sewing to provide for her family, she now sells her artwork to those who are interested.

Last Updated: February 17, 2020

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