Mishelle Lavoie

North Slave
74 Bromley
Yellowknife, NT X1A 2X8

Artist Story

I like to think that the beaded earrings that I make are pretty unique.  I am currently making a lot of leaf or feather shaped silhouettes, using delica beads. I come up with my own designs and they can vary a lot. All the patterns I come up with have a different source of inspiration. It’s not a cohesive collection, I just get inspired to create when I see something that I like, which I then reinterpret into my own design. Some of it is organic, some is geometric and sometimes a bit of both.

There’s a specific pair of earrings that I make that make me think about my uncle a lot. When he passed away in 2020, we went to Deline, to a spot called Russel Bay. My auntie and uncle had a cabin out there and they would invite family members, or other kids from the community, so that they could spend time on the land. When I was there, I took a picture that became the inspiration for this particular pair of earrings.

Most of my inspiration is related to nature and colours. Some other items are based on songs that I like or things like that. I prefer to sketch my designs by hand. What I love the most is the designing process, especially when it comes to figuring out the colours and where they will go in the pattern. I will either pick the colours first, or work on the design and then figure out which colours will work best within that pattern. Either way, I work it out.

I have always been interested in art. When I was in kindergarten, the teacher would set up stations to play from, and I would always pick the station dedicated to arts. One day she mentioned that I should try a different station, but I said no because I was perfectly happy right where I was!

I create art because I find it really relaxing. It makes me feel calm and peaceful. I can just sit there without thinking and focus on my project. It’s therapeutic in that sense for me. At the end of the day, when I’m done making something — sometimes at 2 a.m. — my body is tired, but I don’t feel mentally exhausted. I actually feel more at ease.

I wasn’t raised in a traditional household. I didn’t go about tanning moose hides and beading while I was growing up. I learned those things later in life. I found an important cultural connection there, and at the same time, it was just another piece of the puzzle that makes me who I am. My art represents who I am as a whole. Like every person, I am multifaceted and multidimensional. When people look at my art, I hope they can see that there is a part of me represented in each unique piece.

Artist Bio: 

Mishelle is originally from Inuvik and now lives in Yellowknife.  As an artist of Scottish, French, and North Slavey heritage, Mishelle wants to ensure all the facets of her being are represented in her art - whether she expresses herself through sewing, beading or tapestry-making. Her mother taught her some beading basics, and Mishelle practiced until those techniques evolved into her own.  She loves to create original earrings, playing with shapes, colours and nature-inspired designs.

Last Updated: May 18, 2022

Artist Gallery