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Bloor-Annex BIA Parkettes - DTAH, Toronto, ON

Artifact: Beaded flowers

TEXT BY LORRAINE JOHNSON

Ring of Fire II (2018), by Jean Marshall, is made from tanned elk hide, beaver fur, wool stroud, threads, and beads. IMAGE/ Toni Hafkenscheid

“Beading is like language,” explains Lisa Myers, curator of the exhibition Beads, they’re sewn so tight, currently on view at the Textile Museum of Canada. “Everyone does it slightly differently.”

Myers is quoting the mother of Jean Marshall, who is one of the four contemporary artists in the show, and skills taught by mothers and grandmothers permeate the exhibition, just as the influence of ancestors, relatives, communities, and tradition permeates the works. Katie Longboat, for example, inspired by the beadwork worn by dancers at local pow wows and by her Cree grandmother’s bead design, has created luminous floral patterns that dance with colour and light—“pow wow bling,” Myers playfully calls it during an artists talk at the museum. Jean Marshall’s beaded mittens, which present vibrant patterns of berries, blossoms, and leaves on elk hide, “express how I feel about nature, water, and the land,” says Marshall.

BEADS, THEY’RE SEWN SO TIGHT, CURATED BY LISA MYERS, FEATURES WORK BY BEV KOSKI, KATIE LONGBOAT, JEAN MARSHALL, AND OLIVIA WHETUNG, AND IS ON VIEW AT THE TEXTILE MUSEUM OF CANADA, IN TORONTO, UNTIL MAY 26, 2019.

BIO/  LORRAINE JOHNSON IS THE EDITOR OF GROUND.

Detail of Ring of Fire II (2018), by Jean Marshall. IMAGE/ Toni Hafkenscheid
Detail of Kokum’s Flowers (2018), by Katie Longboat. IMAGE/ Toni Hafkenscheid
Installation view of Kokum’s Flowers (2018), by Katie Longboat. IMAGE/ Toni Hafkenscheid