MEET THE MAKER
My name is Maddie (They/Them)! I'm a twenty-something, Two-Spirit, mixed-Algonquin artist whose maternal family comes from Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation (Bernard) and Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation (Beaudoin); based in Kitchener, Ontario.
Growing up in Southern Ontario (Haldimand Tract Treaty Land) as a culturally disconnected, mixed, and urban Indigenous youth, I would visit my families' communities for pow-wows and brief summer visits, but didn't possess a true understanding of what it meant to be Anishinaabe until I was a teenager. Like many Indigenous youth living off reserve, I didn't grow up practicing the culture, hearing the language, or understanding my identity.
In 2018, I taught myself to bead as a means of fostering a deeper connection to my Anishinaabe culture, but didn't start creating on a regular basis until March of 2019, when I created my business, 'Little Wolf + The Willow'. I started my business shortly after my Father was diagnosed with cancer, and was creating as an outlet for my restlessness, anxiety, sadness, frustration, and everything in between. The work became healing for me, as it continues to be to this day.
In December of 2021, I lost my Mom after a very brief battle with cancer, and my world was turned upside down. After her passing, I decided to rebrand 'Little Wolf + The Willow' as Western Sky Designs to honour my transition into the Western doorway of my life - into adulthood, into emotional growth, and reflection. Despite these changes being accompanied by fear and intimidation, I was looking to the horizon with a sort of optimism and open-mindedness - an ambition of faith that I hope honours the spirit of my Mom every day of my life.
In addition to owning and operating Western Sky Designs, I'm also an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo, a proud community advocate, and defender of the land and water (this means I am most often spotted with an iced coffee in one hand, and a megaphone in the other 😉)
I take great pride in the pieces I craft, and feel exceptional gratitude for the history, the land, the stories, and the people which inspire their creation.
I look forward to seeing where else this journey will take me, and I thank you for coming along too.