Meet the Designer
My name is Destiny Warashen:tha Thomas. I am a turtle clan, Mohawk woman from Akwesasne, ON.
Akwesasne is a Mohawk territory that has the American and Canadian border dividing it into Quebec, Ontario, and Upstate New York.
I came to Montréal, QC to begin my studies in art education with Concordia University in 2016. During my first year, I became very homesick and would visit Akwesasne often. As a way to keep myself in the city, I started beading to curve the feeling of being away from home. In my third or fourth year, I sold at my first market during Concordia's First People's week. And I never looked back.
I first learned how to bead by watching my Ista (mother) bead a hair brooch. She saw how fascinated I was watching her weave her needle and thread through her shiny red bugle beads. She told me to pick up a needle, choose some colors and follow her lead. From there, I learned other basic beading techniques making bracelets and necklaces. At some point, I settled on earrings. They're a simple accessory that tells so much about a person. Their culture, their favorite colors, and how bold they enjoy being with their style. My dream was to have my beadwork be showcased in the same fashion magazines that I was reading.
During my studies, I immersed myself into beadwork. Using the medium as a way to occupy space in the classroom for..myself really. I noticed that a couple students didn't even know that Indigenous peoples still existed. This blew my mind and I made the effort to create pieces to discuss Indigenous stories using drawings in ink. I made a beaded belt to showcase the timeline process of healing trauma. I used sculptures to Indigenize the classic child's toy of a twirling ballerina in a music box to discuss the adoption of different dances like the jingle dress danced at pow-wows. I used painting to discuss the Mohawk creation story. All of this is to say that I have spent many hours in the Visual Arts building at Concordia.
With all of my efforts being put into becoming a more well-rounded artist. I thought that it was time to question how one makes a career out of becoming one. So, using my elective courses, I began enrolling in business classes. I wanted to learn how to brand, market, and advertise my craft. And that's what I'm doing today. I never knew that beading could bring me to where I am now. I am excited to see where it will take me in the future. I'm glad to have you here with me on this marvelous journey of becoming an Indigenous entrepreneur!