Thunder Matted Art Card
Melissa is a Mi’kmaw woman from Abegweit First Nation, located on Epekwitk (PEI.) Growing up, Melissa was immersed in cultural teachings and was surrounded by a family of basket makers. She began her artistic expression at a young age, making regalia and beadwork, and is skilled in both traditional and contemporary styles. Melissa’s exposure to other Mi’kmaq art forms led her to quillwork, a traditional skill in which the ancestors of her maternal grandfather excelled. Melissa was accepted into an apprenticeship with Mi’kmaq Quill Art in 2015. Her training was grounded in the traditional insertion technique and utilized the study of both cultural teachings and formal material culture resources available through historic publications and museums.
Quillwork is created by inserting porcupine quills, either dyed or kept natural, into birch bark. The pieces are then edged with quills, sweet grass or spruce root. Over the course of her apprenticeship, Melissa learned techniques and protocols related to harvesting raw materials, as well as the complex geometry of traditional design work. Upon completion of her apprenticeship, Melissa has been integral in establishing a community of skilled quill workers. This community of quillers seeks to expand awareness of the art form and recently began working on collaborative projects. Melissa launched her professional career as a Mi’kmaq quill artist with her first solo exhibit at Receiver Coffee presented by This Town is Small in Charlottetown in 2019. She is heavily influenced by 20th century Mi’kmaw quillwork and she is supported in her harvesting efforts by her family. Melissa is proud to be passing the art on to her two sons and the broader community.
AUTHENTIC INDIGENOUS ARTWORK: The artist has been paid a royalty for the sale of this product. Made and printed in Canada.