Artist Spotlight, Velvet Leaf Beadwork

PoCo Inspired: Tell us a bit about yourself

Laurie: My name is Laurie, I was born and raised here in the heart of the Métis homeland, and am from the Lamoureux, Desjarlais, and Chartrand families of Oak Point.
As with many Métis of my generation, I grew up disconnected from our culture, and reconnection has become an important part of my life.
When I'm not working or beading, I love to cook, read, and garden (or garden-plan!).
I live in Winnipeg, with my spouse and two sweet cats.

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

Laurie: I started beading early into the pandemic. I've tried many different art media over the years, but nothing has ever connected with me the way beads and thread have.
The first piece I ever made is the large pair of ombré rainbows I'm wearing in my photo; they aren't perfect, but they bring me such joy whenever I wear them.

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

Laurie: I’ve had palettes come to me from everywhere; textiles, my garden, a favourite sweater. The geometry of a tiled wall, the way light shifts through the sunset, even the way colours end up jumbled together on my workspace!

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

Laurie: Patience and kindness toward myself (and untying Nymo knots!) I'm someone who can sometimes be frustrated when a result is not the one I planned.
Beading has taught me that there is learning in these unintended results, whether it be technique, colour study, or even - maybe most importantly - how to speak gently to myself in those moments of frustration. I do believe that we weave ourselves in, as we weave the beads together; beading has taught me to be kinder to myself.

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

Laurie: I work full-time outside of beadwork, so my biggest challenge has honestly been managing my own expectations of myself. Beading can take time, and I don't always have the time I'd like. Plus, I'm relatively new to this, and so I have to bear both of these elements in mind when embarking on new projects, and can't compare myself to full-time, seasoned beaders.

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

Laurie: Finding my name. My dad's family are Red River Métis, while my mom's side are Newfoundlanders. The Velvetleaf is a variety of blueberry that grows both here in the Métis homeland, as well as in Newfoundland. Blueberries are favoured and essential foods in both cultures, so this name just felt right.

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

Dalnavert Museum gift shop
velvetleaf beadwork

velvetleaf beadwork

velvetleaf beadwork

velvetleaf beadwork

velvetleaf beadwork
velvetleaf beadwork
velvetleaf beadwork
velvetleaf beadwork