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Ruth Modeste

South Slave
Fort Smith
Primary Art Type: 
P.O. Box 682
Fort Smith, NT X0E 0P0

Artist Story

I like to be creative in many ways, but I especially like to make beaded jewelry. I started making beaded jewelry in 2016, because I finally had the time to do it. I felt like it was time to try something new and I was drawn to jewelry because I thought it would be interesting to explore.

Growing up in Ulukhaktok, I’d often see family members making beaded uppers for moccasins and other crafts, using tread to make the flowers. I can remember being taught how to bead by different teachers in my Inuvialuktun class. Today, I use those skills and influence, mixed with a more modern twist to create my artwork.

I feel calm when I make art. It’s a nice process. I was living a really busy life in Yellowknife, but here it’s quieter and it allows more space to create art. It gives me something to do and it can take my mind off of daily stresses. I often start my projects on a whim. I will start with a centre to bead around and will improvise the pattern and colours as I go. I love seeing the completed product and I especially like to see other people wearing what I created.

What’s unique about my artwork is the combination of materials I use. I make earrings with beads, sealskin and fur, paired with one-of-a-kind colour and style combinations. I also paint on wooden chips – usually something simple like a flower or an inuksuk – which I then turn into jewelry. Eventually, I would enjoy making carved jewelry. When I was younger, I would watch my uncles carve and would be inspired to do that myself. I’m waiting to have the right tools on hand to make it happen. I find it so beautiful and am looking forward to it.

Artist Bio: 

Ruth is the creator behind Against the Bead. An Inuit artist from Ulukhaktok, she currently lives in Fort Smith. Ruth began her creative journey at a very young age, listening and watching her grandmother and other family members. Only over the last few years, she has nourished her creative side.


Last Updated: October 8, 2020

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