Being an Anishinaabe woman from the south shores of Gitchi Gami (Lake Superior), I am predominantly influenced by Ojibwe traditional art styles and designs. As a lifelong survivor of abuse and debilitating trauma, I view these art styles and my crafting as medicine. Both beading and quiling require a certain level of peaceful patience. This is similar to meditation, and has been immensely healing and restorative. Reconnecting with my roots is crucial in finding myself, determining who I truly and what my purpose in this life is. I have drawn strength from my art, culture, and my people. These have developed a strong foundation for my life.
My works are comprised of Ojibwe floral designs using historical methods and mediums including birchbark and porcupine quills. I combine Ojibwe style quillwork with hand painted Ojibwe floral designs on birchbark using contemporary acrylic paints, seed beads, rhinestones, and rhinestone banding. I aim to keep the designs traditional, but to create modern jewelry with a bit of “bling” and contemporary flair. By using new materials like crystals and rhinestone banding, I combine traditional Ojibwe designs with contemporary style. I make jewelry that is reflective of my culture and the way that it continues to be preserved, practiced, and adapts to changing times.
Utilizing traditional Ojibwe floral designs and Ojibwe mediums and combining them with contemporary art styles, mediums, and techniques is my signature style. This is purposeful, as Native American art is seen as a long lost historical marvel only to be seen on historical artifacts in museums. Too often in society, indigenous peoples are less than an afterthought- many aren’t even cognizant of our existence. By allowing my art to evolve with more present day ideas and techniques, I hope to assist in the mainstream revival of the artistic aspects of my Anishinaabe culture- to help in spreading a simple and straightforward message of “we are still here.” The Anishinaabe people are still here, still creating, and fighting for our existence to be dignified.
Reconnecting with my passion for art after nearly a decade has allowed me to grow as a person, along with learning about who I am and where I come from. I hope that my art will evoke the same emotions of joy, wonder, and contentment I feel when creating in others who view and/or wear it. Intergenerational trauma runs rampant in indigenous communities and unless action is taken; these cycles will continue to be unconsciously perpetuated. With art and creativity being such a vital component of Anishinaabe culture, I believe that it needs to be strongly encouraged within our communities, and used as a tool for healing and connecting others to their culture. It is difficult to grow strong on a damaged foundation. I feel that art has helped me heal and work through past traumas and to begin to grow a strong principle. This work is vital to me- art is in my soul, has always been a part of me, even when I wasn’t actively creating art. By reconnecting with my creative roots, I have begun to accept my true genuine self, to heal and work through my traumas, and have found my purpose. As I continue to learn as an artist and Ojibwe woman I have been able to share my art and life experiences with others, and can see the impact that it is starting to have. My ultimate goal as an Ojibwe artist is to promote this path of healing through art and help others to reconnect with their culture.