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Bead Making Workshop

Location: Neechie Commons

Rebecca Belmore Bead Making Workshop

March 8, 2014

A dozen members of the Cultural Studies Research Group (CSRG) joined artist Rebecca Belmore to help in the creation of her latest installation, TRACE, commissioned by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR). Using Red River gumbo (clay) unearthed by municipally contracted sewer and utility workers and donated to the artist, Belmore along with hundreds of volunteers hand-crafted 14,000 plus individual clay beads as the basis for a forty-foot high installation that she intended to resemble a "blanket on a hook or a towel on a doorknob." 

Rebecca Belmore Bead Making Workshop

At our bead making workshop held in Belmore's temporary studio at Neechi Commons, CSRG members were given pieces of clay which they pressed into beads the size of the negative space of a fist, bearing impressions or "traces" of their hand and finger prints. Belmore’s use of the blanket motif and local clay speaks to both the colonial legacy of the HBC blanket and the extensive archeological process undertaken in preparation for the museum's constuction. It is a nod to the particular significance of place, in this case, Treaty 1 Territory, ancestral land of the Anishinaabe and Metis people. 

Rebecca Belmore Bead Making Workshop

By utilizing these specific materials and forms, and involving the community in the creation of her work, Belmore hopes that TRACE will help to “acknolwedge the land the museum sits upon and the city itself” (Canadian Art). TRACE now hangs in the Indigenous Perspectives Gallery at the CMHR. 

[photo credits: Angela Failler]