How I Caught the Beading Fever…

Posted by Mariah Battiste on

How I Caught the Beading Fever…and Created Sundaylace Creations!

The story of how I started beading begins out of my own boredom of deciding to be a stay at home auntie-mom by helping raise my nephew. In 2014, my days were filled with treehouse cartoons and hanging out with my nephew, a strong willed four-year-old- now it consists of fortnite gaming and an even more strong willed 9-year-old. My sister suggested that I find adult things to do like a class to get out of the house and talk to other adults in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. With this in mind, I joined a beading class being offered on Thursdays nights in 2014.  The beading teacher, Agnes “Aggie Baby” Gould was an experienced artist whose medium was beading, a craft she had done since childhood with her mother. She routinely sold beadwork across Nova Scotia and was a well-known artist.

Thursday night classes were a pure joy, partly because I could laugh with friends, learn a new craft, and get out of my mommy mode. I began to quickly learn new beading skill with Aggie smiling at my finished homework. I learned the different stitches from brick, peyote, and raised beading, all sparking a passion and joy inside me that gave me purpose.

Classes finally came to an end but my passion for my new hobby of beading was ignited, as I was hungry for more beading knowledge. I started to enjoy making earrings, finding new knowledge on YouTube or social media, trying out new types of beading, all while collecting beads for my various projects. Lucky for me, Aggie Baby had a vast supply of beads which she sold at her classes to keep my desire for new beads alive. There was no other access to beading supplies in my area, except for online shopping.

Bead collecting became as fun as the process of putting different color combos together. There could be no limit to my desire to grow my collection in beads and beadwork styles. Once I recall getting to a point where I would be giggly happy to open bead mail, and I knew I was hooked. 

I started hunting out bead stores, I would shop online filling my cart up to $500 worth of items, in hopes that one day I could pay for it all. I enjoyed waiting on bead mail and creating ideas from my shopping cart.  It became a part of my creative process. If I lacked in a color, then I would seek it out in my free time to find beads that I didn’t have. The pride of saying I have every color was like the little mermaid singing “I want more...”.

Only one person could relate to my wild passion for beading and she was Aggie Baby.  Sending pictures of our bead hauls with big heart eyes emoji’s and asking where they got it from. We enjoyed talking beads and the more we discussed the more I learnt from her talents/knowledge base. She helped me grow as a business woman teaching me to value my beadwork and to encourage me to create an online bead supply store to cater to Indigenous bead workers.  Aggie Baby and I bonded over our craft for years, over tea/coffee to discuss beadwork, experiences while vending, and finding new bead stores or bead hacks to share with each other. She supported my dreams and my small business.

When she got sick and was hospitalized, she had asked me to finish the bead projects on her table that were pressing and overdue. I did it but feared that it might be her last project... which it was. It only took a month for the cancer to take her away from this world. I have been dealing with the grief of losing my mentor, my teacher, my friend and my best customer.

Since Aggie has passed on, I have seen changes to the way I understand beading. Before I felt I needed to guard my “style” or hide my sources of knowledge, so that I would have the freshest newest fashion trends. When I went to see her in the hospital she spoke of regrets of not sharing some beading tips with others.

 We all think we have time to spare but when it comes down to it, we all regret not sharing more. Now, I want to give back as much as I can to my beading community, so we can modernize Indigenous art and beadwork. I want to encourage women to be empowered by their traditional crafts.

Aggie Baby Gould will hold a dear place in my heart, as she started me on this path of beading and guided me with the art of vending. She taught me my worth, as my time, craft, and beadwork are the work of an artisan and should be priced as such. I want share many of these teachings to my customers now. I want to help mentor them in the art of beadwork, rather than having them undervalue the craft. She was a huge part in my creating Sundaylace Creations, and on her “heavenly” birthday, I want to honor her contributions to the beading community and to myself.


Share this post



← Older Post Newer Post →


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.