BRANTFORD — In many indigenous communities, beadwork artists often gather to work on their latest pieces in together. But the coronavirus pandemic has called for individuals to socially distance and stay at home.
These beading circles have since come to a halt even though they’re more than just a social event. They are considered to be a safe space where community members can share and exchange their different techniques, while providing emotional support for one another and a way to productively pass the time.
The functions are considered to have well-being and healing powers like a form of therapy.
These crucial gatherings, however, have have been paused. But one indigenous creative is keeping the spirit of these cultural meetings alive—and she’s doing so online.
A Gwich’in jeweler based in Yellowknife, Canada, Tania Larsson, kicked off a series of virtual beading circles in March. Her gatherings offer an online meeting space where beaders of all skill levels can gather to talk through their various projects conducted through an app called Zoom.
Larsson initially got the idea earlier this month, after partaking in a Zoom meeting for Dene Nahjo, the indigenous collective that she is a part of.
In that first session, the artists worked on a variety of projects. One sewed together miniature leggings for a doll that she was creating; others worked on statement earrings or a traditional moss bag.
The online beading circle also gave rise to Larsson offering tips on how to stay positive during the isolation period as well as inspiring other indigenous beadwork artists to do the same. She told Vogue that the aim was to keep creative morale high.
If you would like to participate in a Zoom beading quest yourself: next Thursday the staff at the Woodland Cultural Centre will be releasing instructions, demo videos, and a live interactive workshop through (ZOOM) where you can ask questions for a corn cob keychain workshop. The workshop will take place from 12 p.m., to 1 p.m..
A suggested donation of five dollars for the Save the Evidence Campaign will offer a materials kit that will include a string of sinew, leather corncob steam (roll and glue), leather tie, leather needle (other needles will work if able to pierce leather), coloured beads and a metal keychain loop.
Leaving a comment on their Facebook page will also allow a coordinator to reach out to your inbox about payment and delivery. Pick up spots at Six Nations and Brantford locations.
But if you cannot attend the demo live, the recordings and print outs will be sent to everyone on our E-Newsletter. To register for the Zoom classroom go to: https://zoom.us/…/regist…/tZUqfuCvpj4vKS36hPh7r7JmqmFWfPpKNA