Thanks for inviting me to blog on your website. I started making ribbon shirts for Aboriginal drummers and dancers about 4 years ago now.
After teaching sewing, quilting and many other applications of sewing for decades (including designing lingerie), I found a new love and appreciation for my skills: custom-made shirts with applique & beading have become my passion. These are worn by Aboriginal drummers and dancers during ceremony and at cultural events.
It started with one shirt for a friend who is a two-spirit fire keeper. I listened to her story with my heart as well as my mind. I was fascinated with learning what the different colours meant to her as well as what animals and birds represented to Aboriginal people. There were also shapes and other symbols important to her personal empowerment.
Now that I am familiar with the basic symbols of local Aboriginal people, I can focus more on listening to the life stories of my clients, and create a visual representation of their life.
Sometimes this process can take several sessions as they tell me about their culture, their spirit names, and their role in the Aboriginal community.
The exciting part to me is to hear their personal stories and interpret the meanig onto a very special garment they can wear with pride.
Strictly by word of mouth, I have women call me to make an appointment to start the process. I have been told by a grandmother that I am very gifted in this area and am starting a second shirt for her. Many of my clients are repeat customers.
I am proud to know that my shirts are worn by some amazing women, and that my work is appreciated by so many people. One of my early shirts was worn by Beverly who drummed the Governor General into Parliament.
It is a pleasure to share my skill with such a great group of women, and I am proud to know they are treasured by those who wear them.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Please note: Lois is not accepting new clients for ribbon shirts.