Artist Spotlight, Bronwyn Butterfield

PoCo Inspired: Tell us a bit about yourself

Bronwyn: My name is Bronwyn and I've lived in Winnipeg my entire life.
I'm Cree-Métis from Norway House and beading has been in my family for at least four generations.
I've always made art but I've taken up beading in the past 5 years.

PoCo Inspired: When did you first start making jewellery and what was the first piece you ever made?

Bronwyn: I started 5 years ago, and I made a 5 petal flower at a Métis beading group here in Winnipeg.
I just started by practicing beading and moved onto jewelry a couple years later.

PoCo Inspired: What inspires your creativity when making a new piece of jewellery?

Bronwyn: A lot, it really depends on the piece. Mostly, I'm very much inspired by my surroundings. I love being in nature and being on the land, and I try to spend as much time as possible outside. I take a lot of photos and videos of landscapes. Usually that's where I turn to find inspiration, not only in how it looks but how it feels, sounds, and smells. Sometimes, I draw inspiration from old family patterns/beadwork, or from grandmother beadwork that I've seen in museums. I'm inspired by the stories I hear from my family, about how lived on the land and what that was like.

PoCo Inspired: What is the single most important skill you have learned and why?

Bronwyn: Learning how to make moccasins (I'm still learning!) has been very moving for me, as it is very symbolic of my culture. It takes a lot of practice to get the stitches tight, and it feels so special to work with the hides alongside the beadwork. It's cool to be able to do this now, and think that my grandmothers would have been doing it as well at my age.

PoCo Inspired: What challenges do you face in your work?

Bronwyn: With today's fast-fashion, consumerism mindset, I think there's a really big expectation for artists and jewelry makers to always have exactly what people want, available whenever they want it. Communicating to those buying my work that I work slowly and intentionally is difficult because of this expectation, which isn't their fault, but people are always shocked that I don't have stock available all the time. I try my best to communicate to people that I'm not a factory, and that I can only take on so much!! I try my best to keep everything slow and intentional because that's what I've been taught with Métis beadwork.

PoCo Inspired: What is your biggest achievement so far in your business?

Bronwyn: I think the coolest thing was being a guest artist with an event run by Vans.
I've always worn Vans shoes so it was cool to be featured on their website!!

PoCo Inspired: Where can we find you to shop online or in-person?

I will also sometimes do pop-ups or markets as the opportunities arise.