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Art Installation

The Beadwork Project

We have developed a beadwork project as a component of the Songs in the Key of Cree's community engagement. The workshops allow youth to learn basic beading techniques and express their creativity and uniqueness. Each participant learns the single-needle flat stitch to bead on a small piece of coloured felt. With permission, we document their work as a photograph. These images will be tiled together into a display that will tour with the performance and

grow as we visit communities. 

This project explores the translation of beadwork traditions across Turtle Island. Just like Indigenous language revitalization, the resurgence of beadwork is an act of reclamation. While some participants choose to bead words, or their names in Cree syllabics, for example, others bead images that connect to their interests, such as anime and pop music. This project allows youth to explore the relationship between language, culture

and artistic expression. 

See our our gallery page and below for some examples. 

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Our Beading Instructors

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Emma Rain Smith

Visual Artist - Beader

Emma is an Aniishnaabe artist from Bkejwanong (Walpole Island) First Nation. She creates wearable art and installations in the beadwork tradition and also incorporates modern materials and techniques. Her work is influenced by Indigenous storytelling and language, and explores the relationships between oral traditions and their physical and visual representations. Emma graduated in Fine Arts from the University of Waterloo in 2018.

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Heather George

Historian - Beader

Heather is a Mohawk/Euro-Canadian scholar and mom. A PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Waterloo, her research focuses on the history of Haudenosaunee (Six Nations)-led museum practices and the relationship between cultural preservation and the healing of historic trauma. She holds a MA in Public History from Western University, a BA Honours in History and Native Studies from Trent University and an OCGD in Museum Management and Curatorship from Fleming College.