Beading and Babies: Julie Landry Nurtures Family and Her Community’s Artistic Practices
“I started beading, taking care of the babies, and it went from there,” Julie Landry explains, reflecting on her journey to becoming more creative after becoming a mother. While she was nurturing her growing family, she was also nurturing her own artistic practice, raising kids and her skills as a craftsperson. Landry is from Deh Gáh Got'ı̨ę First Nation and grew up in Fort Providence. While Fort Providence will always be her home, she has been living in Fort Simpson for the past four years.
She has been crafting since she was very young. Landry got her start because would watch her family sewing when she visited them during her early childhood. That’s also how she learned to bead, from her family. Landry started off with making cardholders, and then moved onto purses and continued onto earrings.
Her artistic ability is one that she’s sharing with others. She’s passing on those skills outside of her family and into the broader community, offering hair clip and earring workshops at the Friendship Center. Organizations have recognized her talents as an artist and have invited her to share those gifts with others through their programming. Landry teaches people who want to learn one on one sometimes too, helping a local community member make handmade Christmas gifts this past year.
Landry’s daughter has picked up on her beadwork too and makes beautiful earrings herself, wanting to learn the art of tufting. “I’m proud, just like you!” she exclaimed, sharing photos of earrings she has made. As a mom, Landry is proud of her daughter’s progress in her beadwork and crafting. “She’s doing amazing. She’s picked it up really quick,” she beams. In a recent social media post, her daughter said, “this beading is getting addictive!”
In the same way she encourages people in their beading, she wants to encourage youth who want to leave their home community to pursue work or school. She says, “Just go out there and you may face lots of obstacles, but your home will always be there. There’s so much more than just being in Fort Providence or your home community. Just face your fears and just go and live out there.” Her daughter is graduating soon and is trying to stay home but Landry is urging her to reconsider, reminding her, “You can’t live with mom forever.”
In terms of her own educational path, Landry pursued nursing initially but realized it wasn’t for her. Overwhelmed in the hospital, she just couldn’t do it anymore. “I knew I wanted to be in the health field, but it wasn't for me,” she recalls. She’s changed fields and is taking courses after applying for her previous job as a casual CHR (Community Health Representative).
To balance her mental health, she’s started taking long walks in the evenings to clear her mind from her troubles and everything going on at home and in the world around her. She finds her sewing is calming and practicing her beading is an uninterrupted time to make art. “Nobody bothers me when I'm beading. They know I'm beading,” she smiles.
Working towards having a healthy lifestyle has really inspired her artistically. She and her husband recently became sober from drinking and since then she’s found she’s able to be more creative. Landry has held back in sharing the things she’s made in the last year, setting them aside for the right moment to share them with the world.
She started beading, taking care of the babies, and it went from there and now Julie Landry is exploring her creativity and sharing it with the world through workshops and new artistic expressions. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but for Landry it took a child to help her raise her village’s artistic skills and her own. As her kids grew, so did the talents she shares in her community, and now that they are starting to leave the nest, her profile as an artist is beginning to soar.
Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.
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