Canadian Art - - Reviews -

The two women were strangers, both on their way home from work on a chilly Mon­treal evening. One looked at the other from across the metro and no­ticed a flash of gold and turquoise. The other looked up and caught her eye, then her eyes fell down, drawn to a beau­ti­fully beaded col­lar hug­ging her neck with leather ties. “Cedar-eve.” The name flashed through both of the women’s minds at the same time. The colours, the de­sign and the craft were a dead give­away. Like a se­cret hand­shake or wink, those wear­ing Cedar-eve Cre­ations can rec­og­nize the work im­me­di­ately.

Cedar-eve Peters is a mul­tidis­ci­plinary Ojib­way artist. “I’m Ojib­way na­tion and I’m an artist,” Cedar ex­plained dur­ing an in­ter­view, as I helped her pack up her jew­ellery af­ter a day of tabling at Con­cor­dia Univer­sity. “But I wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily say I’m an Ob­ji­way artist. I make art be­cause I make art, not be­cause it’s what’s ex­pected of me.” Cedar has al­ways known that she is an artist, as the tal­ent was passed on through gen­er­a­tions. “My dad’s a pain­ter,” she ex­plained. “Some of my fam­ily mem­bers are ce­ram­i­cists and painters, and my grandma used to do quill work.” At Rosedale Heights School of the Arts, in Toronto, Cedar fo­cused more on pho­tog­ra­phy and draw­ing. Later, she be­came in­ter­ested in bead­work, and taught her­self how to bead by watch­ing on­line videos. “The In­ter­net taught me, in a way. From there, I started play­ing,” she said. To­day, Cedar’s work can be pur­chased at Mon­treal’s Mc­cord Mu­seum, as well as var­i­ous pow­wows, fes­ti­vals and events. But recog­ni­tion didn’t hap­pen overnight. “It has been a strug­gle,” Cedar ad­mit­ted, af­ter dis­cussing an ac­ci­dent—she slipped on ice and frac­tured her writ­ing hand—that held her back for a while and pushed her deeper into the re­al­iza­tion that her soul “needed to be pro­duc­ing all the time.”

These days, Cedar is ex­ceed­ing even her own ex­pec­ta­tions, as her work— which also in­cludes self-por­traits, acrylic-on-can­vas paint­ings and a line of silkscreened T-shirts—gar­ners steadily grow­ing at­ten­tion. Some of the hype comes from her ac­tive pres­ence on Face­book and In­sta­gram (@cedareve), where she posts images of newly beaded shoul­der dusters or care­fully crafted chok­ers.

For some, high class means wear­ing ex­pen­sive brand names. For oth­ers, es­pe­cially any­one with a foot in­side the world of In­dige­nous art, cul­ture and de­sign, it means sup­port­ing an in­de­pen­dent In­dige­nous woman who keeps tra­di­tion alive with ev­ery re­claimed bead, and pur­sues her pas­sion with ev­ery stroke. —EMILEE GILPIN

Beaded ear­rings by Cedareve Cre­ations

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