Mini Blog Vendor Feature June 2022

Vendor Feature – Celebrating National Indigenous History Month

Meet James Fox of Fox Cree-ations

We’re proud to carry work by many Indigenous artisans. In celebration of National Indigenous History Month, our Museum Shop Coordinator, Orissa, shares her conversation with artisan James Fox.

I first met James in 2021 and knew right away that we would be friends. James is a gentle person and an incredibly talented beader from the Tataskweyak Cree Nation in northern Manitoba, now living in Edmonton.

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yellow tufted studs

James has lived in all the western provinces and has been influenced by the art and culture of the western tribes and clans.

He makes dreamcatchers, rawhide rattles, turtle rattles, cell phone cases, business card cases, medicine pouches, lanyards, keychains, framed beaded artwork, bookmarks, chokers and jewellery. He primarily does beadwork but is currently learning tufting and quillwork. James is also an avid chef, birdwatcher and curler

Why is beadwork important in your culture?

Beadwork ties back to traditions and ceremonies. It’s such a big part of who we are as people. It’s engrained in everything we do from regalia to ceremony. It’s part of our sacred objects.

Who taught you to bead?

I learned at the friendship center in Edmonton in 2017 and have been learning ever since from other artisans. I love it, I bead every day – I like trying new stitches, experimenting with new patterns. I like to modernize traditional patterns.

What do you like about beading?

I find it therapeutic. It’s like a form of meditation. I feel calm when I’m beading. It grounds me. When you start beading, you can turn off the rest of the world and it’s just you thinking about what you’re making.

You once told me it was unusual for men to do beadwork in your culture – can you please tell me more?

It’s just much more common for women, it’s really rare for men to bead as a job. Many men know how to bead out of necessity – they often bead their own regalia. It’s more common for Two-Spirit males to do it as artisans in the community.

What kind of beadwork do you like to shop for when you want something awesome for yourself?

I love traditional type medicine pouches, pipe bags. I prefer old style beading – matte beads for myself. Nowadays everything is blingy and shiny!

Talk to me about non-Indigenous folks wearing your beadwork.

I don’t have any issue with it. It’s all about appreciation versus appropriation. I am part of the I.A.M. Collective and we use our platform as an opportunity to educate. Supporting Indigenous artists is important, if you wear our beadwork that’s how you show appreciation for our culture, but be careful not to take advantage of it

Check out James’ Pieces in our shop Here

rainbow beaded heart earrings
large pow wow dancer earrings

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Interested in seeing other curated collections? Click here to check out our last blog post.

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