Current Beat: I started my own fashion company Dickson Designs in May 2015. My line includes native accessories, including the very popular granny hanky headbands. Currently, there are over 20 beaders across the North who are beading for my line.
Heritage: I am Tlingit from the Carcross Tagish First Nation in the Yukon and I also come from the Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola, BC. I am very proud to come from such powerful people that have, in one way or another, always supported me and my dream.
Current location: Whitehorse, Yukon
Describe yourself in one word or sentence: I am a proud Tlingit/Nuxalkmc woman who promotes cultural pride by encouraging careers in traditional practices.
What is your creative process when designing a headband?: Beadwork has always been a way for our people to tell their stories and identify where they are from. I like taking this traditional concept and creating something new from it - a hybrid of past and contemporary ideas. I believe that being an artist is a gift and a way to connect with my ancestors. Most of the time my beadwork just comes naturally. I also dream about patterns, something my Kikiya (grandma) used to do.
What is the significance of combining traditional and modern aesthetics?: I was lucky to be raised with a real connection to the land and my culture. When I went to college in Vancouver at 17, I really struggled leaving home. I missed my family, the traditional food, and the option to go for a walk off the concrete in the forest. I began incorporating cultural elements in my designs and I found that this helped with my loneliness. Now, everything that I sew has a cultural influence. I always try mixing traditional designs with modern fabrics or vice versa.
- Also check out...
- Dickson Designs
What is your idea of pure bliss?: I feel pure bliss almost every day by being able to practice my culture. I am so lucky that I get to do something I love and I want to inspire others to do the same. I get powerful messages from people, thanking me for promoting First Nations culture. Some say that I’ve encouraged them to start sewing; others say that I exemplify a positive lifestyle that blends both modern and traditional worlds.
How would you describe your personal sense of style?: A mix of casual and trendy with a Native influence. I always have a bright-hued lip - red, pink or burgundy - and I love to pair my lipstick with my outfits.
When and how did you first learn to bead?: I was about 11 years old when I first tried to bead, and at first I didn’t have the patience for it. When I went through my woman ceremony, I had an Elder visit me every morning for a week to share our traditional values and views on becoming a woman. She had me trace patterns all day and tried to get me to sew. Sewing was a way to teach young women patience, so that when they had their own family they would have patience for their babies. It wasn't until I came home from college in 2010 that I started to take beadwork seriously. My auntie from Old Crow taught me how to bead with two needles, and that is when I started to really enjoy it. Now I can sit all day and enjoy doing my work!
What is your most identifiable characteristic?: My positive attitude and kindness. These qualities, combined with creativity and persistence, are what allow me to succeed
‘The Good Life’ means: To continue being known as “the crazy headband lady” that sews every day! And hopefully, inspiring many others to get creative. In the future, I’d like to have a successful career that balances my need for a traditional and contemporary life. One day, I would like to have a few babies running around my family’s fish camp with little dirty faces, covered head to toe in my sewing!