A Collaboration with Gisele George Beads and SheNative Goods
My Grandma Said is the newest collaboration between SheNative Goods and Gisele George, honouring Gisele’s grandmother, the late Christine George, a matriarch whose own beadwork inspired Gisele’s need to continue carrying stories through beadwork. Working with traditionally tanned and smoked moose hide and designing Dene florals – with swirling leaves and accent dots within, and vibrant colours such as garnet, sky blues, and moss greens – Gisele had carried her grandmother’s teachings with her as she learned beadwork, remembering patience, to take her time, to use up every bit, to never make waste.
The My Grandma Said collaboration features many unique items. We have the Christine Crossbody with two different floral beadwork accents, and The Tiny Coin Purse, also featuring two styles of floral beadwork. We have a medicine bag with two beadwork styles. We have also included a classic black t-shirt with printed beadwork by Gisele George, featuring the phrase My Grandma Said.
The project was an act of remembrance – through beadwork, through the act of sewing, of designing, of cultivating pieces that reflected her memory of what it means to be a Dene woman. The idea of sharing this type of beadwork with a larger audience and what that means for Gisele had her laughing, sipping coffee – “to see it out there, to show people this part of me… wow, just wow.” She sips her coffee again, shaking her head.
For the shoot itself, we travelled to her traditional homelands of English River First Nation, crowding her family’s cabin with makeup and hairspray, clothes spilling everywhere. Gisele had chosen to work with her cousin Katrina Maurice and nieces Brianna Yew, Brooklyn Maurice-Eaglechild and Lila Maurice-Eaglechild for the shoot, as family is everything. By coming home for a project that reflected home in her beadwork, in her chosen design styles, Gisele knew that the land she had such great memories of would be the perfect backdrop in telling her story.
The day itself was slightly overcast as we wondered down to the beach, making sure to capture the perfect shots of not just the purses but the joy that this session was bringing. The gentle teasing and slight awe they had in seeing each other dressed up, the giggles as they encouraged each other’s posing, and the gentle care in which they handled their purses.
As we were finishing off the last of the session, the wind picked up and we watched a body of rain start towards us, coming across the lake. We laughed louder as we ran around picking up the purses, earrings, clothes, cameras and running to our cars, the drizzle turning into a downpour as we watched behind foggy glass. We sat there, waiting out the storm, knowing that the rain never stays for long and the sun is always waiting.
Gisele George is a Dene woman from English River First Nation, located in Treaty Ten in Northern Saskatchewan. Currently, she resides in Saskatoon, working as a teacher. She is a self-taught beadwork artist, known for clean lines and traditional motifs in her artwork.
This collection is partially funded by Creative Saskatchewan. Thank you for believing in our vision and supporting made in Saskatchewan Traditional Leather Goods.