WEEK THREE Eabametoong Sewing Circle Project
Travelling to Eabametoong from Toronto Pearson Airport takes a full day. Unfortunately, this trip took an extra day with an unexpected night in a Thunder Bay hotel and a tense next morning to see if I could hitch a ride on one of the small regional airlines. These planes only have 8 seats and a weight limitation, so it was only after all the other passenger's baggage was weighed that I was told they could squeeze me in. Whew!
I was excited to arrive there and get to work at KASKii, the name chosen by the community for the Sewing Circle Project.
This is John, who is practising using one of the industrial machines to appliqué a motif on a 'Spirit Blanket' he envisioned. It's not finished yet but he is doing a great job on it. We are planning to use the same techniques to make more of these blankets.
I asked Helen and her daughter Emera to model the 'Fred's Onesie' in the cozy camouflage print. This is one of the items manufactured at KASKii that is available for sale.
These young women each designed a dress they want to make when I come up next time.
The week flew by and there was so much going on, I forgot to take photos. Work continued on the 18 ft diameter teepee, pack sacks were sewn and patterns were made for new styles.
People learned by doing. This is the fundamental approach of the training process, to let the experience form the knowledge.
This 'hands on' method allows for tangible results to be achieved as each person participates in all the steps in the making of a product.
The days are long up north at this time of year and the gentle colours in the sky were so beautiful. This is looking out onto Eabamet Lake at about 10 pm.
Another full week in Eabametoong First Nation has ended and I am heading home. This is the 8 seat aircraft that takes me to Thunder Bay. It's a one hour flight over vast wilderness, with pristine lakes and rivers. I keep thinking of all the amazing people who have visited the KASKii Sewing Circle and how they have taught me so much. It's not easy living in this place, but it is the home, and ancestral land of the Anishnaabe.
I am blessed and honoured by the trust they have placed in me to help build the capability for the community to make their own clothing and other things. Teepees, Spirit Blankets, leggings, tank tops, hoodies, back packs and next...denim jeans and curtains!