I recently became reacquainted with an old friend from college when I attended a beading class one chilly night in January. My instructor, Barb Morin, originally hails from Weyakwin and Prince Albert has been her home for over thirty years. If you recognize her name, it might be due to her job as a teacher/mentor at Carlton and Saskatchewan Rivers School Division. But soon, I think she will be best known for her traditional Indigenous art that is taking provincial, national and international attention.
My eyes lit up when I caught sight of the beautiful beaded sneakers sitting on the table. Barb tells me she’d entered a pair in the Winter Festival a few years back and they won third place. Since then the Mann Gallery has a pair in their permanent collection. A museum in. St. Albert also has a pair of beaded shoes and she is currently negotiating a contract with a prestigious university in the United States for a third pair. Barb designs her own patterns and inspiration for designs come from every day life. She also makes poppies for the veterans and red dress pins for missing and murdered women. She uses both of these projects as fund raisers, volunteering her time and supplies, sending the proceeds directly to the veterans and to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. “I have four daughters,” she says, “and I couldn’t imagine the pain of losing one of my girls.”
Barb’s most recent success has come from the sale of the dress she made upon graduating with a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan and SUNTEP Prince Albert. Fort Carlton has purchased the dress and a pair of shoes to display as pet of their collection. Despite these successes, Barb remains humbled by the attention her work receives. “I never thought this was art, to me it was just a hobby... and then when family and friends saw the work I was doing (especially my husband Jack Morin, he is the biggest fan of my work, he said it’s art) they all said I have to show it off and that’s why I entered the Winter Festival competition.” Barb notes beading is therapeutic, helps people be calm, to relax and learn patience. And the beautiful results pay off in fantastic works or art people can be proud to display or gift to anyone.
If you would like to contact Barb regarding lessons or to commission her to create a piece for you, she is available through her Facebook page called Morin More Bead-works.