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Story for Lesley Ann Evans

My mother taught my sister and I how to bead and sew at a very young age. We got used to using a needle by making pendants and necklaces. I have always enjoyed sewing and beading, but only picked it up seriously again after my first daughter was born.

After high school, I always wondered about what else was out there for me. I decided to quit my office job to pursue a Fashion Design program in pattern making and clothing in Saskatoon. This opened up a whole new world because I got to observe and interact with other artists. I was also able to attend traditional pow-wows, which allowed me to revel in the beauty of the beadwork and clothes made specifically for the occasion. It is through these experiences that I finally understood the amount of work and energy that is put into creating patterned clothing and beaded art.

I taught myself how to bead by observing other people’s work and making it my own. I especially love to incorporate small details into my work – like crystals, rhinestones and semi-precious stones such as turquoise – to be able to spot my own creations. I love to create a variety of items, but I especially enjoy making dentalium earrings with crystals. This is part of why my work is unique: it is inspired by tradition, with a contemporary twist!

If I am not sewing or beading, I feel incomplete. When I talk with other artists and we start to imagine what type of items we could create, I get really eager to undertake new projects. The process of creating art – from getting a new idea, to figuring out how to actualize it, to completing the item – is so invigorating to me. I also want to create because I can help pass down traditions to my two young daughters. They love to see my creations, and they often say: “Make me one too, mom!”