Sunday, June 23, 2013

Beaded Moccasin Vamps : Walking with Our Sisters Exhibition Tour

By on Sunday, June 23, 2013 10 Comments

Earlier this year I missed a wonderful opportunity to join a group of beaders lead by First Nations artisan and educator, Naomi Smith, on a special day of beading.  I can't begin to express my disappointment with the conflict in my schedule.


This workshop was organized by the Jake Thomas Learning Center at Six Nations. Naomi was the main instructor but she said, "I always have my Seneca Elder, Yvonne Thomas there to talk and share stories. So while Yvonne wasn't teaching the beading she was in fact sharing her knowledge and stories with the group. I supplied the pattern, fabric and the beads for the project and the instruction."

Naomi and the women who did attend made a number of beautiful beaded moccasin vamps (tops). The group consisted of members of the Grand River Bead Society, native ladies from Six Nations and from other parts of Ontario who are not part of bead groups.

The vamps were for a very special art installation project called Walking With Our Sisters.  The project honors the lives of missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada and the United States.  In Canada, over 600 First Nations women have gone missing with scant attention from the media and the public.  Just imagine, these women go missing and nobody raised any hue and cry over them! They should be remembered not forgotten.

Naomi showing how to attach the fabric backing
Naomi's completed vamp
The project is run entirely by volunteers with no government funding.  All the vamps are made and donated by various beading groups and volunteers like the group Naomi taught. The due date for completed vamps is July 15.  There is still time for people to make vamps and send to Christie Belcourt if you can manage it.  Naomi has shared the basic shape pattern in a pdf - what you bead is entirely up to you. Please contact me if you are interested.

The organizers are also looking for donations to help with the cost of shipping etc.

Roxann Blazetch-Ozols' completed vamp
The art installation features deliberately unfinished moccasins - just the beautiful vamps to signify precious lives cut short. Visitors will be encouraged to walk alongside the vamps to remember each and every one of these women who will never walk again.

Completed vamps by Kim, Robin, Yvonne and Terry
The art installation is set to start touring Canada and the US later this summer.  Check their website for the dates and locations.

Check out the Walking with Our Sisters Facebook group page to see more beaded vamp designs and read about the ongoing contributions by both Canadians and Americans to this laudable project. Some of the contributors were first time beaders!

PS Thanks Naomi and Roxann for the pictures!
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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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10 comments:

  1. This is an amazing post. The beauty of the workmanship is evident but the reason for it is heartbreaking. We constantly see on the news stories about the crimes committed against women in foreign countries and we should be giving the same coverage to what is going on here at home.

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  2. This story moved me to action. Have joined their facebook page and will send a small donation to help with the touring. And I will include this post in a feature on my blog called "Lovely Links for the Midlife Journey" which I am compiling now.

    Thanks, Pearl.

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  3. What a cool, meaningful project, and such beautiful vamps! What detail. And yep, I learned a new word. Vamps!

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  4. Oh, this post touched my soul! The idea of commemorating these women with an item of "unfinished beauty" is one of a kind and strongly emotional!

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  5. Harry & Judy SmithJune 24, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    Naomi is our loving adopted daughter and we are so proud of everything she has done in her life to promote her indigenous heritage through her art. This latest venture honouring these ladies (Sisters) is so inspiring and we are honoured that Naomi is such an important part of it. Good luck with the Walking With My Sisters project.

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  6. It was a great experience to be part of this workshop! To learn new skills and to share in honouring these women is such a small way was truly something I will not forget.

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  7. Thanks so much for all the comments for this moving project. And special thanks to Naomi for galvanizing and conducting the workshop! Her family should be very proud of her!

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  8. As with all good things, nothing
    happens without the support and contributions of many.

    My warmest thanks to all my friends who participated in the workshop and who worked beyond this time together to finished their pieces. We had such a great weekend and it gave us all time to reflect on the true Spirit of the Walking with Our Sisters commemorative exhibit. Also a virtual hug to Pearl for highlighting the workshop in her wonderful blog. :)

    I would like others to know about the Walking with Our Sisters project please post the link to Pearls blog on your Facebook or where ever you deem appropriate!

    Chi miigwetch, Nia wen, thank you!

    Naomi

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  9. What a wonderful project for a truly important cause.
    Thank you Pearl for passing this message on to us - I will be visiting their website and their facebook page.

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  10. This is a beautiful concept. Wish I could have particated. I will join the Facebook page.

    My heart goes out to the family and friends of these women.

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