The inspiration was the buttons given to her for her button blanket by her cousin. “They were elk bone, and that was a big, memorable gift,” says Native artist Tanis Kwakseestahla.
When she started making cedar earrings the thought came to her, “Oh! I should make earrings out of elk bone!” That’s when it all started. Also, “The first currency was beads and bone. I like that,” she says.
She makes them by hand, one at a time. “It’s interesting how each piece is different,” she notes. “Even the colour of the bone is different. Or there’s wear or age that make every piece unique.” Whenever she wears them she gets stopped by women. “They want to know where I got them,” and smiles as most order a pair.
Tribal Trade Hand Made Earrings are available at the Wei Wai Kum House of Treasures in Campbell River. Check the artist on Instagram at email@example.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org