beaded memories art project

beaded memories:


beaded memories is a deeply personal and heartfelt series of beaded expressive art pieces.  each piece is about memories from my childhood, including imagery from my home, experiencing trauma, “discovering” my mixed race status, feeling like an outsider, and other experiences of growing up in a small town as a mixed indigenous person.  


the art pieces are titled with haislakala, my indigenous language, and act as a way for me to continue the meditative process of learning my language.


this project was made possible by funding from the first peoples cultural council


i would like to thank my mentors, Shawna Davis and Lisa g Nielsen for their incredible support on this project. i would also like to thank my wonderful friends Ashley and Ariel for giving me their time and input on this project as well.


here are the images of the beadwork and the written words to go along with each piece. stay tuned, hopefully one day i will show them in real life!


ʼuálazkʷíƛ  thank you for spending some time with them.


(pls note they are not available for purchase at this time)


the snowflake motif handkerchief belonged to my late mother, and the snowflake is the symbol for kitimat, the town where i was born and grew up.


the cedar and sage are medicine that i am using to try and heal old wounds, cleanse the memories, and release the pain.  they are also helpful to brush away negative energies. 


(below) this first piece is about being mixed race, feeling conflicted about being both indigenous and settler, colonizer and colonized.  i tried to meld my west coast roots and my british roots together.  it is difficult for me to reconcile these two halves. 




(below) these pieces are about my childhood home. the textures and colours i remember of our scratchy carpet and orange crushed velvet couch and chairs.  it reminds me of the feelings of that time, literally and emotionally. 




(below) op - father. this is a piece about my dad. this is the cup he used to always use to drink coke in. it is inspired by my memories of home, and also of a photo i took in our family home kitchen, you can see it below.


here is the image i used for inspiration for this beaded pendant.  it is taken in my family home.  you an see fish my dad caught thawing in the sink, and a coke bottle in the corner. 



(below) these pieces are about being mixed race.  memories of being told by my best friend that i was mixed race, as it hadn't occurred to me at that point. memories of friends telling me they would never marry someone who wasn't white. memories of friends parents asking me if my father had been to jail.  being told racist jokes as a kid and them watching my face to see how offended i was. always feeling like i never quite fit in.  telling people "i'm half." half of what? these pieces are about that void, un-whole-ness of being mixed race.  not being enough. the gap i left between the black and white piece is meant to show this feeling.  the exposed threads are meant to show the void. 




(below) *content warning* this piece is about experiencing abuse and trauma.  the fear of male anger i still carry with me today. the point of impact and then the deep vast sadness and confusion that comes afterwards.



(below) group shot of all the pieces together, along with old family photos. 


here are some in-progress shots of the project



please also check out this beautiful video lisa g nielsen made of me beading, that was meant to be displayed in person at the solo show.  it was filmed on a super 8 film camera and hand processed by lisa g. follow this youtube link:

lisa beading