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Traditional needle cases from the shores of Lake Nipigon

Thursday December 20, 2012
Eastern Lake Nipigon’s Ange-Aimee Wawia enjoys creating older style needle cases and other forms of hide work.

Eastern Lake Nipigon’s Ange-Aimee Wawia enjoys creating older style needle cases and other forms of hide work.

“I try to promote the older styles,” Wawia said. “As you can see this is a traditional needle case made from hide, but there is also melton wool in it.”

Wawia also featured an older style scissors case made from hide and a tobacco pouch for sale during a recent gift show in Thunder Bay.

“I also have my candles for sale,” Wawia said, explaining her cedar, sage and sweetgrass candles are designed for people who are sensitive to regular cedar, sage and sweetgrass smudges or for buildings that do not allow smudges due to fire or smoke alarms. “They are designed to have a very gentle aroma in your house because they are cleansing. They are not overpowering.”

Wawia began experimenting with candles a few years ago and has now developed them for sale to the public.

“They are very well received,” Wawia said.

Wawia began making traditional crafts when she was 10 years old, after her mother, grandmother and other women taught her some of their skills and techniques. She still remembers learning how to sew using a needle and thread and a treadle sewing machine.

“I’ve always enjoyed making items so it has been a lifelong experience for me,” Wawia said. “You can have 10 different craftspeople, but if you give them the same materials you are going to get 10 different items out of the same materials. Each craftsperson has a unique item, unique style.”

Wawia’s display also included a number of hide picture frames with beads and feathers and a variety of handmade blankets.

“(The blankets) can be used either as a ceremonial blanket or as an everyday blanket,” Wawia said.

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