The jewellery we wear is often loaded with personal meaning. For Tania Larsson, designing and making fine jewellery is not only a connection to her Gwich’in identity, but also an opportunity to teach people around the world about Gwich’in cultural practices. Born and raised in France to a Swedish father and a Gwich’in mother, Larsson moved to Yellowknife at the age of 15. “The belief that all Indigenous persons know and practice their culture actively is a big misconception,” she says. “It took me 15 years to feel confident in practicing my culture.”
Following traditional practices she’s learned, Larsson’s creative process begins about a year before a piece is complete with the tanning of moose hide. “A lot of the materials that I use are by-products of subsistent hunting,” she says. All of her beadwork is done with vintage and antique beads that Larsson collects, along with materials such as caribou and moose hair.
Larsson says her adornments are meant to be worn by people of all backgrounds and that they offer an opportunity to support Indigenous creatives who are practicing their culture daily while passing down their knowledge. “My goal with my jewellery is to allow people to feel confident and hold their head up an inch taller because they feel the power of the jewellery pieces I create for them,” she says. “They feel that connection to the land, which, often times today in the fashion industry, is lost or sacrificed for profit.”
Tania Larsson, tanialarsson.com.
Denim Blue Studs, price on request.
Red Whiteheart Beaded Earrings, price on request.
Stripe Caribou Tufted Studs, price on request.
Sign up for The Globe’s arts and lifestyle newsletters for more news, columns and advice in your inbox.