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People & Culture

Beading a Métis icon

Artist Krista Leddy offers a peek into her studio as she creates a portrait of Louis Riel out of thousands of glass beads

  • Jul 03, 2019
  • 1,283 words
  • 6 minutes
a beadwork of portrait of Louis Riel in the July/August 2019 issue Expand Image

When Canadian Geographic‘s editorial team decided to publish a feature story on Métis icon Louis Riel in the July/August 2019 issue, creative director Javier Frutos felt that a story as important as this one, which commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Red River Resistance and the 175th of Riel’s birth, required special artistic treatment.

On the recommendation of Shaun Vincent, the creative director of Winnipeg-based Vincent Design, who helped create the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, Frutos commissioned Krista Leddy (on Twitter as @beadedchickadee), a Métis artist based out of amiskwaciywâskahikan (Edmonton), to create a beadwork portrait of the leader. 

Leddy’s beadwork is influenced by the teachings and patterns of her Métis ancestors (from the historical communities of St. Albert and Lac St. Anne, Man.), particularly her grandmothers, whose spirits she brings into each piece she creates. Through traditional arts, including beading, sewing, storytelling and dance, Leddy works to reconnect Métis people back to the community.

Scroll down to see how Leddy created her beadwork portrait of Louis Riel.  

Louis Riel beaded by Krista Leddy Expand Image

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