Categories
Canada

Assomption of Survival

Submitted by: Celina Loyer – Cree Métis

Materials: Traditionally finger woven acrylic yarn

Our fur trade ancestors used the sash as a tool: a belt, a rope, a tumpline. With this mask, the sash is transformed into our tool of survival during the pandemic. Based on the ancient Assomption ceinture flechée pattern and colours, the unique shape of this mask springs from creativity and necessity. Completely woven by hand, sashes usually remain the same width. Shaping the sash to fit the face requires ingenuity and perseverance.

The sash is not perfect – changes in thread tension create imperfections in the weave. As we progress through the stages of the pandemic, tension affects people too, revealing flaws and inspiring adaptation of old ways to a new normal.

Our people have faced pandemic before: smallpox, influenza, TB. Yet we persevere. The means to survival can feel heavy or stifling, yet we will continue to do what is necessary to ensure our culture thrives.

Just breathe.

Images: Veridian Photography
Model: Jessie Loyer

This mask was created for the Breathe community Facebook group – A collection of traditionally crafted masks demonstrating resiliency through 21st century pandemic.

Categories
Canada

Every Bead a Breath

Submitted by: Adele ᒪᐢᑿᓱᐏᐢᑵᐤ Arseneau

Materials:

Handmade Mask by Adele maskwasowiskwew Arseneau

As an indigenous woman, I’ve largely passed through this existence feeling like I have no voice. Most of my art has been focused on creating around the endangered stories of others, to put them up on the proverbial soapbox, making them personable and real. It never occurred to me to tell my own story, with its roots so intertwined with this land now called Canada. All of my portrait carvings reflect this journey, with most of them only having the suggestion of a mouth. My hands do the speaking as they create the pieces I make. Using everything I am given, like my kohkoms before me. Appreciating the materials, and the memories they bring. Each piece is like a reflection, capturing a moment in my life. Beading my anxiety away, each bead a breathe. Each stitch sewing me back into my culture, bringing with it remembering, intertwining me with my roots, making me stronger and more whole. Several elements come from family stories, the arrow sash – to remember how my family stood alongside One Arrow and his Nation before the territories became Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Buffalo hide to remember the bull taken at Pink Mountain where my father was Captain of the Hunt. Abalone buttons passed down through the family from mother to daughter, traded from the coast to the prairies, and now returned. Horsehair and flower beadwork to honor my nehiyaw mother and my Métis father. Ocean Jasper and the blue palette – as air and water walk hand in hand and we cannot live without either. Everything has a place in this world, like beads – we do best when we are put where we can shine. It’s all part of a larger picture, this is how something small can impact something larger than ourselves. We all need to tell our stories because someone out there needs to hear them.

Submitted as part of Breathe, curated by Nathalie Bertin and Lisa Shepherd.

Adele maskwasowiskwew Arseneau, is an emerging nehiyaw (Cree) – Métis visual artist. Creating traditional and contemporary beadwork, along with carving red and yellow cedar – she tells stories to engage audiences around social and environmental issues. This is her language and these are her stories.

This mask was created for the Breathe community Facebook group – A collection of traditionally crafted masks demonstrating resiliency through 21st century pandemic.

Categories
Canada

Tree root mask

Submitted by: Amanda

Materials: Faux suede, beads, shoe strings

Researchers and psychologists have said for years that humans are social creatures, and we have an innate need to be around other people. Studies show that people who are more connected with others are healthier and happier overall. Psysical distancing is not a natural or pleasant behavior. I asked my children what they’ll remember most about this pandemic, and to my surprise they all answered the same thing- just being alone. We talked about why we’re apart from our friends and community, but how we’re also together. The conversation ultimately made me think of trees. Trees appear to stand alone and apart, but their roots run deep and the truth is that they cooperate and communicate all the time. No matter how it may appear we’re never truly alone, because deep down we’re a community that cares about each other. We’re all in this together.

This mask was created for the Breathe community Facebook group – A collection of traditionally crafted masks demonstrating resiliency through 21st century pandemic.

Categories
Canada

For Annick

Submitted by: Margaret

Materials: Melton cloth, seed beads, wool

This mask was created for the Breathe community Facebook group – A collection of traditionally crafted masks demonstrating resiliency through 21st century pandemic.

Categories
Unknown

Initiation Armor 2020

Submitted by: Heidi Kummli

Materials: Leather, fur, metal, beads, love.

My beadwork is usually inspired by an emotion, or a component of some sort. For this project the whole idea resonated with me. And then there was the silver dragonfly bracelet, that has been in my bathroom for 2 decades. I spotted it the other day while I was pondering my mask. It spoke to me about transformation, it was asking me to incorporate it in my piece.

The year of 2020, has been like an initiation for humankind. We are all really experiencing a shift in how we live and honor the Earth. If we follow our normal ways of life, not honoring the other beings we live with, polluting, in a rush for everything and everyone, greed and material things. One can go on and on, as to what the change we need to make is, and perhaps different for everyone. If we don’t meet the challenge or the initiation, then we didn’t learn or suffer enough.

I feel that these mask, all of them so beautiful and different, can remind humankind that there is still beauty in the world. Despite all that is happening, nature and art are still all around us. We can step back from the rush of life, and once again use our hands, smell the flowers, be thankful for what we have, appreciate all life on the planet, love, share, give. Let’s embrace this initiation, and make the changes we need individually to make the world a better place for all our descendants, and being upon her.

This mask was created for the Breathe community Facebook group – A collection of traditionally crafted masks demonstrating resiliency through 21st century pandemic.

Categories
United States

Breath of Life

Submitted by: Shayai Lucero

Materials: Medical face mask covered with dried juniper leaves and accented with genuine turquoise stones, lily grass ties accented with abalone shells

In my Pueblos, juniper (Keres: k’aani) is an important medicinal plant and one of my favorites. I have been studying medicinal plants since I was 13 years old. I wanted to create a piece that integrates my skills as a floral designer and medicinal plant healer.

The medicinal properties of juniper are identified as an antimicrobial and antiviral medicine for respiratory illnesses. The scent of the juniper leaves can be smelled through the mask like the cleansing smell of a smudge. Juniper is very special to the Pueblo people in that the tree is an evergreen and never goes to sleep in the winter. They are a plant medicine available year round.

The mask is accented with turquoise stones worn often by the Pueblo people and represent health. Abalone shells are from the ocean and symbolize rain. Pueblo people always pray for rain and moisture in every aspect of our lives and ceremonies. Rain is important because it contributes to the growth of plants which help provide oxygen for breath needed by all living creatures.

This mask was created for the Breathe community Facebook group – A collection of traditionally crafted masks demonstrating resiliency through 21st century pandemic.

Categories
United States

Word of Wisdom

Submitted by: Mary

Materials: Red wool cloth, glass beads, cotton calico, and bias tape

During this time of isolation I have remained on the job as an essential worker- nurse. I have advised my patients family friends and community members to “Stay Home”. My contacts are with members of my community-well patients and sick-possible Covid exposures. To help me ease the restricted contact I am allowed, I created a mask with the words “Stay Home” beaded on the mask. The top blue line represents the blue sky as I hope everyone can see another day. The bottom green line for the grass- mother earth so we may all walk the path of life for another day. Lastly the small flower buds so we may all grow big, strong, and healthy so we may survive this pandemic.

This mask was created for the Breathe community Facebook group – A collection of traditionally crafted masks demonstrating resiliency through 21st century pandemic.

Categories
Canada

Corona Covid

Submitted by: Mrs. Towanna Miller-Johnson

Materials: This mask was created during the 2020 Corona Virus Pandemic. Beaded using flat style, peyote stitch and Iroquois raised bead work. The inside is made of pleather, it has holes underneath to breath and the beak is open to place medicinal herbs inside. The middle layer is a thick felt. The outside is made of velveteen adorned with Iroquois beaded vines and purple flowers outlined in turquoise blue. The muse of inspiration was a Crow which was beaded flat style in the center of the hat. The brim of the hat is peyote beaded. A pair of sunglasses were used for the tinted round eyes. The mask has three straps to secure to the head with buckles on the side for adjustment. The tip of the beak is a jingle cone.

I have to admit that I have a dark side, only to the point that I enjoy horror movies and the paranormal. I wanted my mask to reflect the time we are all in now. For me, I have always incorporated the past into my work. Long ago they had plague masks with medicinal herbs put inside. To me they always look like birds. I’ve recently been beading many different birds. For this project I decided the Crow was now my muse. It like the fact that my mask has a darkness to it sprinkled with beauty, just like the time we are now in. Surrounded by so much darkness like death and sickness yet if you look around we do have beauty in our lives such as kindness and generosity. Some tears went into this while listening to the news and missing visiting family members. My moods change from sadness and then to being grateful for all that I do have. We will get through this together! Be safe.

Towanna Miller-Johnson is a Mohawk fine artist, originally born in Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario, raised in New York and then went to pursue her education at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, N.M. She returned home to the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake, Quebec where her mother is from and she continues to do her art. Her media is oil, acrylic, wood burning, carving, and beading. She loves to paint in bright vibrant colors to tell Traditional Iroquois stories. When she’s not painting you can find her beading in one of many styles: flat plains style, peyote stitch and Iroquois raised bead work. She has been beading for forty years now. She is very diverse as an artist and some of her art is functional such as the carved beaded cradle boards and now her beaded Corona Covid mask.

This mask was created for the Breathe community Facebook group – A collection of traditionally crafted masks demonstrating resiliency through 21st century pandemic.

Categories
Canada

Gentle Whispers

Submitted by: Marcy Friesen

Materials: Bead soup consists of a large variety of beads, pellon, beading thread, felt, 2 arctic fox tails.

As I created this mask I thought about family, we were all under one roof again as schools and colleges were closed. I beaded 5 flowers in red representing the 5 members of our family and red being my late Grandmothers favorite color. The vines represent life, change and unpredictability as we make our way through these ever changing unpredictable days. I decided to make a beautiful white bead soup with nutrient rich red berries to finish up the mask. The bead soup represents all the people in our lives that have helped us along the way, and even though they are not with us now they are not forgotten or less cared. The arctic fox tails add a gorgous softness that reminded me to be gentle to others and myself during these times. I also thought about grocery shopping and how quiet and stressful this time had become, we are not to visit so we whisper quietly as we quickly get what we need then head home. Back to safety.

I was born in 1974 in Nipawin Saskatchewan, Canada of Swampy Cree and Welsh ancestry. I was raised in Carrot River Saskatchewan, Canada.

As a child growing up I saw my cousin loom beading. I was fascinated and ended up making myself a bead loom with a 2×4 and some finishing nails. I threaded my loom and began to create.
Throughout my life I have been influence by the strong independent women in my family. My maternal Granny was a bead artist and my paternal Grandmother was a collector of bead art. So it seemed wherever I was I noticed and loved bead art.

I started my business Trapline Creations five years ago. Now I am operating it full time making moccasins, mitts, gauntlets, hats and jewelry using beads, leather and wild fur. I am currently selling my art through my Facebook page, Instagram, The Remai Modern Art and Design store in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, the Wanuskewin Gift store in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, On The Avenue Gallery in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada, the Fort McMurray Heritage Society, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, and in the Art on Main Gallery in Nipawin Saskatchewan, Canada.
I have always felt the need to create using my mind and my hands. I am now taking some time to explore another side of my work using materials I love. Thinking about ways I can convey my new ideas using beads, leather and fur in new ways is exciting and freeing.

marcyfriesen74@gmail.com

This mask was created for the Breathe community Facebook group – A collection of traditionally crafted masks demonstrating resiliency through 21st century pandemic.

Categories
Canada

Stability

Submitted by: Marcy Friesen

Materials: Otter fur, seed beads, bugle beads, rope, felt, pollen, thread.

I was born in 1974 in Nipawin Saskatchewan, Canada of Swampy Cree and Welsh ancestry. I was raised in Carrot River Saskatchewan, Canada.

As a child growing up I saw my cousin loom beading. I was fascinated and ended up making myself a bead loom with a 2×4 and some finishing nails. I threaded my loom and began to create.
Throughout my life I have been influence by the strong independent women in my family. My maternal Granny was a bead artist and my paternal Grandmother was a collector of bead art. So it seemed wherever I was I noticed and loved bead art.

I started my business Trapline Creations five years ago. Now I am operating it full time making moccasins, mitts, gauntlets, hats and jewelry using beads, leather and wild fur. I am currently selling my art through my Facebook page, Instagram, The Remai Modern Art and Design store in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, the Wanuskewin Gift store in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, On The Avenue Gallery in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada, the Fort McMurray Heritage Society, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, and in the Art on Main Gallery in Nipawin Saskatchewan, Canada.
I have always felt the need to create using my mind and my hands. I am now taking some time to explore another side of my work using materials I love. Thinking about ways I can convey my new ideas using beads, leather and fur in new ways is exciting and freeing.

marcyfriesen74@gmail.com

This mask was created for the Breathe community Facebook group – A collection of traditionally crafted masks demonstrating resiliency through 21st century pandemic.