Raised by her grandparents, Suzanne Boucher-Hanna gained her beading skills from her grandmother as well as traditional knowledge. K’estuwé Pieces is run by Boucher-Hanna and her daughter Skye, currently going to school for social work.
Beading can mean different things for different people; for K’estuwé Pieces, based in Hay River, it’s a stepping stone in reclaiming their culture.
“This also helped me connect with Skye to show her the culture and the skills and the knowledge that I was passed down to me from my grandparents,” says Suzanne. “Next, we’re going to learn our language, our goal is to learn our Chipewyan language. This beading is just one small step towards getting our culture back.
Suzanne gets inspiration from thinking about what her grandmother would have in front of her, such as moosehide and stroud which she uses in her beadwork.
“So it’s just kind of everything that she would have in front of her is what I try to use in most of my pieces.”
K’estuwé Pieces will be at the NWT Handmade Holiday Market this weekend at the Explorer Hotel, and having an online sale in December. They have been at markets in past years in all seasons such as pop-up shops and the Fishermans Wharf in Hay River, where they sell Indigenous-based food under the name Cooking Cousins.
The name K’estuwé Pieces holds a lot of meaning for Boucher-Hanna. Translating to English, it means “popular lake”.
“When I was pregnant with my daughter, my grandmother and I were looking for a name for a boy. And I wanted a Chipewyan traditional name. It took us a couple of days. I ended up having a girl so her name is Skye,” says Boucher-Hanna. “That (name) really stuck with me, because a year after my daughter was born, my grandmother passed away. Our logo has … three poplar trees with water underneath it, which actually looks like a crown. That represents my grandfather, because his last name was king. Our name and our logo represents my grandparents that raised me.”