Indigenous creator highlight: Ocean McLeod

“I love working with other people and seeing them finish their projects,” says Ocean McLeod.

Beaded earrings made by Ocean McLeod. (Submitted by Ocean McLeod)

Ocean McLeod, 24, is a crafter from Aklavik. She grew up surrounded by family members who sewed, and learned how to bead two years ago.

She takes inspiration from the land, “I’ve been taking a lot of photos of flowers this past summer. And I like to incorporate those into what I’m working on.”

McLeod learned how to make parka covers from her sister in-law, Tanya McLeod.

“We started making it and she just kind of showed me the steps of sewing it together. Making mistakes and starting over and then learning that way, it’s been a process.”

McLeod has taught others, approached by event organizers to lead workshops on parka cover making. 

“I love working with other people and seeing them finish their projects.”

McLeod works on parka covers to beaded earrings, she really does it all. Many people have come to her for parka covers or her granny hanky neck-warmers that kicked it off for her, “those ones are my biggest seller and I do either custom orders or I make a bunch, I stock up on the neck-warmers and I sell those.”

Parka made by Ocean McLeod. (Submitted by Ocean McLeod)

“I made two parkas in my life, actual full outdoor parkas…those ones I’ve taken a lot of pride in, because those take tons of patience and learning and undoing and redoing and then learning to work with the fur for the hood.”

McLeod has been thinking about taking her expertise further, “I guess my little neck-warmer business definitely sparks that thought into what I’ve been wanting to do for a while.”

McLeod hopes to start her own business someday with her crafts or even her baking. She learned from her mother and went to the Yukon University for culinary arts a few years ago. 

“Sewing is definitely a passion of mine. To all the young people who want to learn to sew, you know, just reach out. More than likely they’ll say yes.”

To view McLeods work, you can visit her Instagram or her Facebook group.