The Construction Foundation of BC’s Welcome Exchange initiative kicked off with a virtual beading workshop that saw participants creating their own traditional bead medallion. Supported by partner Here in Canada, the workshop incorporated discussion surrounding the history of First Nations culture.
Led by local First Nations artist Sarah Underdown, participants were introduced to traditional beading techniques, stories and inspiration that Underwood inherited through her Great Grandmother. Underdown draws inspiration from the Lkwungen territory on Vancouver Island, home to the Esquimalt and Songhees people, for her creation of earrings, belts, medallions and loom work. She has lived in this area for the majority of her life.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and all who participated were so wonderful,” said Underwood. “I was taught that we carry and learn gifts to teach others. It was an honour to share in this workshop. I was able to learn from those who participated and I thank everyone for their openness and sharing, too.”
The Welcome Exchange program provides newcomers on Vancouver Island with resources, tools, and events to help them establish themselves in their new community through education, employment and community connections.
Last week’s beading workshop was the first opportunity to hold a Welcome Exchange Workshop, utilizing Zoom to provide both a safe environment as well as an opportunity to reach participants across the province of BC. The two-hour beading session featured engaging conversation and a couple laughs as participants and Underdown went back and forth throughout the evening as they put together their medallion with beading materials provided through the Construction Foundation.