Meet a maker of moccasins

Sooke artist brings creativity to First Nation moccasin creations

Artist Jamie Gentry weaves elements of her culture and creativity into the traditional moccasins she makes by hand. While her family gravitated to sports while she was growing up in Victoria, Gentry, a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation, was drawn toward creative pursuits like art and dance.

“My aunt and uncle were both artists,” she explained regarding her relatives, carver Kevin Cranmer and jewelry maker Lou-Ann Neel. “Their artwork was always around and that greatly influenced me.”

Although she always wanted to make moccasins, Gentry could never find someone to teach her until she moved to Sooke in 2010.

When the T’Sou-ke Nation offered a workshop four years ago, Gentry jumped at the opportunity.

“I didn’t intend to start a business once I got started, I just wanted to learn how,” she explained. “But once I got started and couldn’t stop making moccasins, it seemed to make sense.”

She put them online with the cards and children’s clothing she makes from recycled materials and was pleasantly surprised by the response. “It was shocking how quickly it took off from there,” she noted.

Gentry originally started selling her moccasins at Beyond Buckskin, a North Dakota online boutique for native artists. Her work is also available through Manitobah Mukluks, a company that prominently features the work of First Nations artists.

“It’s one of the fastest growing companies in the world and has provided a lot of exposure,” she said. “This month has been my busiest so far.”

Although Gentry usually averages two to 10 pairs a month, she is working on completing 30 orders by the end of December. All her moccasins are woven or stitched in Different in what way?different styles, some featuring beading and some leather stamped by her husband, Robert.

“It’s become a full-time passion, they’re all custom designed and I love what I do,” she said. “It’s important to preserve our culture by adding elements of yourself and your culture to what you design.”

Although she didn’t initially have a sense of what to charge for a pair that can easily take a couple of days to complete, depending on the bead work, Gentry is grateful that Manitobah Mukluks assisted her.

“They put an emphasis on raising awareness that it’s an art form, not just a craft,” she said. “It’s a very time consuming process made by hand with love.”

She charges between $150 to $325 a pair, depending on the amount of work and beading.

Although Gentry was “completely shocked” to be selected as First Nation Entrepreneur of the Year in a recent Black Press Best of West Shore feature, it helped reinforce her belief in what she’s doing.

“Even though I don’t like being in the spotlight, it felt really good to be acknowledged,” she said. “I want this to be sustainable and that underlined for me that I’m on the right path.”

Check out Gentry’s work on Facebook.com/Love in Everything.

 

Just Posted

Saanich wants bunkers to be off limits for cannabis growing

Saanich looks to block cement bunkers on ALR farmland

Heat and smoke raises health risks

Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror Health risks arising from heat and… Continue reading

Victoria police seize over one kilo of fentanyl, guns and cars

Andrew Ritch is facing charges of drug trafficking and firearm offences

UPDATE: Missing Langford teen found safe

The 13-year-old Langford boy reported missing Wednesday has been found

Sooke Harbour Taxi set to return

Rick Stiebel – Sooke News Mirror The absence of Sooke Harbour Taxi… Continue reading

Updated: ‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin has died

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn reports Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit

B.C. golfer, just 23, scores the rare albatross

Six-million-to-one shot a first for the Terrace club

Fredericton widow swears at Trudeau during condolence call

Widow of man killed in Fredericton shooting says she swore at Trudeau during condolence call.

Tim Hortons promises leaky lids on coffee cups to be phased out

Tim Hortons looks to rebuild its brand with better lid, new marketing campaign

‘There’s been a lot of devastation:’ man whose family lost homes in B.C. fire

The provincial government declared a state of emergency Wednesday as more than 550 wildfires burn in every corner of B.C.

Capsized tug now out of the water at the mouth of B.C.’s Fraser River

The 19-metre-long George H. Ledcor capsized late Monday.

Aheadbyacentury looking for Triple Crown breakthrough in the Breeders’ Stakes

The consistent Aheadbyacentury has $513,800 in career earnings, including $311,250 this year thanks in large part to his Triple Crown performances.

Search for mudslide victim becomes recovery mission

Valerie Morris was swept away by a mudslide on Highway 99 near Cache Creek on August 11.

Behind the fire line: B.C. firefighters stalked by cougars

A Keremeos volunteer firefighter talks about what it was like to patrol the Snowy Mountain fire

Most Read