February 23rd, 2015 Last Updated on: February 23rd, 2015
Interview by Dawn Karima, Native American Culture Editor
“Through Facebook I have also been able to sell my beadwork as far away as Florida and London , England,” Chazlyn Brown explains excitedly. This talented artist is making a worldwide name for herself due to her careful attention to detail, skillful stitching and intricate beading. ” Even Kwantlen First Nation asked me to bead their logo,” this Plains Cree beader recalls, “which one was given to Evan Adams and another to John Travolta while he was filming on the Reserve.” Enjoying popularity and prosperity as a result of her talent, Chazlyn Brown discusses her Native art with Powwows.com!
DK : Your beading is charming! Very bold and original! How did you begin to bead?
CB:Beading was handed down from my grandmother's side, who learned it from her grandmother Annie Saulteaux. We are more known for our flat beadwork. Beading has been in our generations and it's always been a part of Plains Cree culture.
DK: Since it is such a strong source of creativity for your culture and a powerful legacy for your own family, what are some of the lessons that beading has taught you?
CB: Patience for one. As a child, I was impatient, so beading has taught me to be patient and take my time. I have daughters, so this has really helped me. Confidence, too. I was never confident in myself as a child to a teen. I always brought myself down thinking that I would never be good at anything. Beading helped raise my confidence. I got praised for my work, which was a good boost for me. I am a very shy person and beading has helped me come out of my comfort zone. I'm more comfortable in social situations, now.
DK: As your work shows! Collectors across Canada, Sales throughout Europe and a brisk business in the USA! What are some of your favorite creations?
CB: Most of my work can be seen on Facebook at [email protected] My favorite pieces are Native style artwork, particularly Salish artwork. It allows me to bring new life to the designs. It also helps me promote not only my beadwork, but also the artist that drew the picture that I'm beading.
DK: Now that you have learned so many lesson from beading and are building your business, what are some of your fondest memories of beading?
CB: My Auntie Wendy Brown who was the one who showed me how to bead. I would watch my auntie and grandmother Rachel Brown work on regalia for the family. I one day hoped I could be as good as them. I started beading for the fun of it and then people wanted to start buying my beadwork and from there I grew into it.
DK: I think it's a blessing to have our Native culture and traditions shared from one generation to the next! How would you encourage someone else to begin to bead?
CB: Before I became a beader, I was a admirer and buyer of beadwork. I was fascinated at how they could create something so beautiful. I was proud to own and wear an artist's creation. I would say all the power to you if you want to bead. I'd say find a beader that is willing to teach you, preferably one that you can meet face to face to show you step by step. Your first beadwork you make may not turn out the way you hoped it would be. Don't get discouraged… keep practicing. Have fun with it and don't be afraid to be creative!
DK: Good advice! Why do you think beading matters so much to us as Native People?
CB:It keeps our traditions alive and it promotes creativity. We are losing so many traditions, it's important to hold on to as many as we can. I will pass on what I learned to my kids as well as those who want to learn.
DK: Thanks for sharing your talent with us!
CB: No problem!
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