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Coast Salish Cedar & wool weaver, designser of first Nation clothing and graphic art.
Weaving is so important to me because many of the aboriginal practices such as weaving were almost wiped out due to colonial practices. I believe that nothing is ever truly lost. All you need to do is pray to your ancestors for help and they will help. My prayers were answered and today I am part of the resurgence igniting the spirit of our aboriginal identities.
To me weaving is a spiritual journey. It helps me connect to our ancestors and carry on our traditions. I take weaving a piece a serious commitment because I am in prayer as I weave. I pray that the creator’s light goes into each piece I weave. I respect my connection to Mother Earth and I thank her for providing me the resources I need to weave. I walk in a good way so that only goodness goes into the pieces I weave. I pray to our ancestors to guide me and I truly feel the ancestors guiding my hands. To weave is like walking with our ancestors as weaving has always been a part of who we are as Squamish people. Weaving is a true way to express my pride in being Coast Salish.
Joy Joseph-McCullough or Siyaltenaat (her ancestral name) was born in Vancouver, BC Canada. Joy is of Coast Salish descent and a member of the Squamish Nation. Joy holds her First Nations Heritage close to heart. She contributes her strength to the pride of being First Nations. Her heritage is the foundation to who she is and how she lives her life.
Joy is an accomplished artist and educator. She grew up on the Stawamus Reserve in Squamish, BC. She comes from a legacy of chiefs, her eldest brother hereditary Chief Floyd Joseph carries that chieftainship today. She has always had a keen interest in her cultural practices. She learned to carve by watching her father and siblings. Her brother Chief Floyd Joseph was her inspiration to become a graphic designer. Joy learned to weave cedar from Tracy Williams and Salish wool weaving from Chief Janice George & Willard Joseph. She has been involved in the education field for over 30 years. She is the Associate Education Director for the Squamish Nation. Her goal is to build a strong cultural foundation that will empower the youth to succeed academically.
First Nation Designer clothing
Her family inspired Joy to get into Fashion & Design. Wanting to show & share her pride in her Native heritage Joy designs contemporary and traditional clothing.
Spirit keeper designs are a series of designer fashions in traditional and contemporary Coast Salish design. Using flowing and meticulous Coast Salish form lines Joy creates instant classics. Using mainly wools, velvets and First Nation prints, Joy designs vests, coats, dresses, skirts, hats & scarves for children and adults.
Joy hopes that her line of clothing will give First Nation people a way to express and show pride in their First Nation Heritage. Through her art, she hopes to build bridges of understanding between people of all Cultures. Her wearable art carries her First Nation Culture to whoever wears her clothing. Joy invites you to share in the Pride of First Nation People by wearing her designer clothing.
Coast Salish Weaving:
The art of traditional Coast Salish weaving dates back thousands of years. The Squamish Nation people come from a long great history of weaving. Joy is one of the weaver’s who weaves ceremonial blankets just as her ancestors have done before her. Most of her weavings are used for sacred ceremonies such as memorials and namings. Weaving these Salish blankets is so important to Joy because she wants to honor individuals and to distinguish them.
Joy weaves both cedar and wool. She weaves cedar baskets, cedar hats, cedar & wool capes, cedar & wool head bands, leggings, vests, cedar roses and other products made from local natural resources. inspired. She openly shares her knowledge wtih others by either mentoring or facilitating workshops with those who want to learn.
She has major weavings on display at Simon Fraser University and The Squamish/Lil’wat Cultural Center.
She is a recipient of the Aboriginal Arts Development Award. She was acknowledged as a remarkable wormen at Health Fair. She mentored youth and created the Chief Joseph Blanket that is on permanent display at the Squamish Nation Totem Hall building in Squamish, BC.