It’s All About the Frame

Jennine Krauchi- The Frame

This stunning beaded picture frame is the first thing that catches your eye when you enter A Hard Birth an exhibit currently on view at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

The photograph it showcases is by Joseph Langevin and was taken in June of 1870. It depicts Metis leader Louis Riel and the members of his provisional government. Their efforts ensured that Manitoba would have representation in Canada’s Parliament and be an official province.

Jennine Krauchi

Although the photo is a significant one it is the frame surrounding it that takes your breath away. It was created by Jennine Krauchi a master Metis beader who learned the art from her mother who in turn had learned it from Jennine’s grandmother.

Jennine worked on the frame for two years, first drawing out a pattern on paper, a pattern she had designed after carefully studying Metis beadwork dating to 1870. The beads are some of the smallest made and come from Venice.

Fleur de leis and shamrocks in the beading reference the Irish and French roots of many Metis families. The survey chain in the corner is a reminder of how Canadian soldiers were sent to Manitoba to survey Metis land that had been in some families for generations.

Jennine says beading is like praying for her. If she is sad or angry she stops beading because she thinks her troubled spirit will impact the quality of her work.

An example of porcupine quill beading by an unknown Metis artist dating to 1840. It is also part of the Hard Birth exhibit which tells the story of how our province joined Canada in 1870.

Metis beadwork was originally done with bones, shells, seeds or porcupine quills on hides. When the Grey Nuns came to the Red River Settlement they taught the young Metis women embroidery and the women adapted the embroidery patterns for beading Indigenous motifs.

Metis beaders are well-known for their colourful and intricate work and Jeanine Krauchi’s The Frame is such a fine example of the art.

Also included in the A Hard Birth exhibit is this special chair Jeanine Krauchi designed for Louis Riel who was prevented on the threat of death from claiming a seat in Canada’s Parliament, even though he was elected to it multiple times. The chair features Jeanine’s marvellous beading.

Other posts about the A Hard Birth exhibit……..

15 Ways To Use a Metis Sash

Stepping on the Chain

What in the World is a Wool Sack?

1 Comment

Filed under winnipeg art gallery

One response to “It’s All About the Frame

  1. Pingback: Where Does the Name Manitoba Come From? | What Next?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.