In the heart of our vibrant café community, we are proud to introduce you to a remarkable artist whose work not only adorns our spaces but also carries a profound cultural significance. Mavis Ahenakew-Skyrpan, hailing from the Treaty six territory and the Ahtahkakoop Cree First Nation in Saskatchewan, is a multi-talented artist and social worker whose journey into the world of art has been nothing short of inspiring.
Early Influences and Passion for Quilting
Mavis's artistic journey can be traced back to her early childhood when her grandmother imparted the art of hand-sewing patch blankets. She vividly remembers the patience and dedication her kokum exhibited as she meticulously crafted blankets using only a needle and a pair of scissors. These blankets were not merely pieces of fabric; they were created out of necessity and embodied the spirit of resourcefulness.
Learning the art of quilting from her kokum, Mavis carried this cherished skill with her throughout her life. For her, Indigenous art, in any form, has always held a profound healing power, and this ignited her passion to create art pieces that resonate with her heritage.
Overcoming Adversity and Finding Purpose
In 2020, Mavis faced a significant challenge when a debilitating back injury left her arm and leg nearly unusable. Simultaneously, the world was grappling with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which changed the course of her life. These circumstances presented her with a choice: to surrender to her circumstances or to channel her energy into something meaningful.
As the eldest daughter and now the matriarch of her family, Mavis felt a heightened sense of responsibility. To honor this role, she decided to gift all the females in her family with ribbon skirts she made herself. Ribbon skirts, for Mavis, symbolize a celebration of women, a tribute to the givers of life, and a testament to Indigenous resilience.
Adding Elegance with Beaded Wire Wrapped Hoop Earrings
While crafting ribbon skirts brought immense joy and meaning to Mavis's life, she sensed that there was still more to express. It was then that she embarked on the journey of creating beaded wire wrapped hoop earrings. Mavis's beading skills evolved with guidance from an experienced friend, allowing her to experiment with different beads, colors, patterns, and intricate details.
Mavis particularly enjoys working with delica beads, which enable her to create patterns with angular lines and dimensional elegance. Each piece she creates tells a unique story, and she uses high-quality materials like sterling silver, plated gold, and hypoallergenic hooks to ensure both beauty and comfort for the wearer.
Turning Pain into Purpose
In a world where adversity often tests our mettle, Mavis Ahenakew-Skyrpan's journey is a testament to resilience, creativity, and the power of art to heal and transform. Her commitment to her heritage and her artistry serves as an inspiration to us all. As she aptly puts it, "Turn pain into purpose."
We are delighted to feature Mavis's exquisite beaded wire wrapped hoop earrings at our 109, 124, Savona, and Terwillegar locations. Each piece embodies not only Indigenous artistry but also the
strength and spirit of an artist who has overcome challenges to bring beauty and meaning to the world. Visit our cafes to experience the rich tapestry of Indigenous culture through Mavis's stunning creations.