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Betty Takazo Jr.
I learned to sew from my grandmother when I was about five years old. I have been sewing since then. I make slippers, mitts, mukluks, vests, purses and whatever handicraft comes to my mind. I love everything about sewing different kinds of traditional artwork!
Sewing relaxes me. I draw flowers just the way I want and how I see them in my mind. Then I choose different colours for the beads. I try to come up with different colour combinations and use them in new ways to make the flowers come to life. Instead of the petals all being the same colour, maybe half is one colour and half is another colour. Then the end product is always unique and my own creation. And if it doesn’t look good, I can always take it out and start again!
I use traditionally tanned moosehide for my artwork as much as possible, but hide is getting harder and harder to get so I save it for footwear that needs to be durable and last a long time. I use northern fur like rabbit to trim my artwork. Nothing is warmer on the ankles than fur! After I finish my sewing I look at it and if it looks good, I am happy about it. It feels good.
I send some of my artwork to the Norman Wells Historical Centre where they sell northern art to help artists like me. Sometimes my art sells right away and that makes me happy and proud. I sew with ladies in my community of Deline. We are always teaching each other new things! When young ladies come to the sewing group, we help them so they can carry it onto their own children as well.