Shawna McLeod

Fort Simpson
Primary Art Type: 

Artist Story

Creating and working with my hands has come very naturally to me. The matriarchs in my family have been creating for many generations, it was something that I was born to do! 

I started working with traditional material at a young age. My late grandmother, Florestine McLeod left behind a beautifully tanned caribou hide, beads and many patterns. They had been sitting in storage for many years until I got my hands on them. I used the caribou hide to make braided headbands with bead work on them and then experimented with wallets and purses. I felt connected to her through this process and was eager to learn beading techniques from elders and other creators in the North. 

After this experience, I started to ask many questions about beads, use of traditional materials from the land, and expand my knowledge with the type of materials to improve my work. I moved away from home for college and the only thing that kept me grounded during this transition was beading. A friend at college taught me how to brick stitch and my collection of earrings started to grow. I wore them out and gifted them to friends. I was also enrolled in Photography School and would use them in photoshoots. Sewing allowed me to feel connected to my culture and community while being away from home. 

Beading and working with natural materials from the land is part of my healing journey. It gets me out on the land and  creates space to allow me to reclaim my traditional teachings and connection to my community. I started to take creating seriously when my sister approached me to sit and sew with her. She had started a social media page to sell fine art jewelry and it quickly blew up. She needed help with photography of her products and sewing to meet the demand. We learnt very quickly that we are a great team and that is how From the Land Creations was born. 

From the Land Creations is a land base and fine art jewelry line. We specialize in using materials from the land, and incorporating traditional art practices into our work. We use material such as antler, sweetgrass, moosehair/caribou/reindeer hair tufting, moose/caribou hide, shells, feathers, quills, beads, sinew, etc. We do our best to use all of our harvest and respectfully place any left over material back on the land. Since our initial set up of From the Land Creations, Robyn has continued to move forward in pursuing fashion full time, while I continue to do it part time. Together, we have been doing this for about 10 years and finding different ways to grow and thrive as individuals and part of a team. 

Beadwork, sewing, and creating are all part of my everyday life. I work on art every chance I get and sew something almost every day. I’m not limited to only fine art jewelry as I have been trying to expand my knowledge on working on larger garments and traditional practices such as hide tanning. I’ve been pretty lucky to have my sister Robyn, mother Joyce and grandmother Celine Villeneuve, and many creative aunts and cousins to assist me with whatever I need.


Artist Bio: 

Shawna McLeod is a Dene and Métis artist from Deh Gáh Got’íé First Nation (Fort Providence). She currently resides in ŁÍÍdlįį Kùé First Nation (Fort Simpson) with her fiance and four children, where she works full time and sews in her free time. 

Shawna has been focusing on creating fine art beaded jewelry for many years. From the Land Creations was developed as an outlet for Shawna to hone in on her skills, to showcase the talent she has developed from elders and her community, and an opportunity to share art with others. She enjoys challenging herself with larger projects with her sister, Robyn, together they create garments such as jackets, baby belts, beaded & fur shawls, moccasins, and other fashionable statement pieces. Shawna’s jewelry has been showcased in WHITE/Milan Fashion Week, Adaka Cultural Festival Fashion Show, NAKA Fashion Show, and Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto. 

Shawna loves to learn from her elders, practice her culture heritage and pass knowledge to her children and youth in the community.




Last Updated: May 16, 2024

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