I started when I was 6 years old or younger even. I would go with my mom to teach others how to sew at the community centre. My mom taught me but there was an elder in town I used to visit and she was very encouraging when I made little moccasins. I used to show off that I could sew to the elders when I was younger and I think that made me try extra hard to do it well.
When I started making baskets, I remember crying when the quills poked my hands so I must have been pretty young. Sometimes it takes a week to sort out quills, dye them and make sure they are all the same thickness. I make my own design stencils out of Kraft Dinner or Lipton Soup boxes, of animals, birds and flowers. One time I timed myself to make one basket and it took about 24 hours. I love making them as it takes my mind off things and it is relaxing.
I think my work tells the story of how baskets have been used for centuries. Baskets used to be made with clay so you could boil water. Birch bark baskets were sealed with spruce gum and used to store water underground to keep it cold. They also used them for storage and bowl shaped baskets were used for eating food. When they used to travel they walked most of the time so they did not carry much and they just made new things for dishes. The history of baskets from this area is important to pass on – I do my best to continue to share those stories.