Inspired by the exhibition catalogue for Native Fashion Now produced by the Peabody Essex Museum, the initial idea for A Study of Cloth and Beads was born. With no background in fashion, I wondered how the artists featured in Native Fashion Now discovered which fabrics worked well with beadwork. I wanted to study it myself and see if there were any new materials I could work with in the future.
For many beadwork artists, melton (a felt-like fabric) is often the fabric of choice when doing a large beadwork project. I had learned to work with tires and hubcaps with beadwork, but I hadn’t used many fabrics. I sought out the opportunity to study something new as well as present my findings to the public. With a background in social science, I’ve been craving a good research project.
Initially I asked myself: Which fabrics would work well with beadwork? Which ones wouldn’t? and Which ones would I be surprised with? After completing the work, I’ve discovered that I do not enjoy working with fabrics that have static or become wrinkled easily. I also would have benefitted from using an embroidery hoop for cotton fabrics that preferred to stretch. Fabrics with loose fibres, such as burlap or lace, are in no way ideal for beadwork however I enjoy the effect they can provide to the artwork.
Discover for yourself how far beadwork can go.



A Study of Cloth and Beads
Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé

Nov 2 - Dec 3 | Yukon Arts Centre Community Gallery
Opening Reception: Nov 2, 5pm

About the Artist

Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé (b. 1992) is a proud member of the White River First Nation of Beaver Creek, Yukon, Canada and Alaska. Her beadwork is inspired by the strong women in her life, her mother, aunts, and grandmothers and the support of the caring men in her life, her partner, father, uncles, cousins, and grandfathers. Teresa is mostly a self-taught artist however her Grandma Marilyn, an Upper Tanana Elder and residential school Survivor, encouraged her to start by providing her with supplies, examples, and templates. The purpose of the residential schools was to strip Indigenous children of their culture and amalgamate them into “society.” Many Survivors of the schools had to relearn their languages and cultures, including Teresa’s Grandmother. Knowing the importance of cultural revitalization Teresa’s Grandmother encouraged her to bead and sew.

Teresa defines herself as an Upper Tanana contemporary visual artist. She primarily works with beads, hides, bones, quills, and antlers. Her collection includes beaded and quilled hubcaps, a beaded pylon and shoe, quilled deer skull, etc. Teresa incorporates her Upper Tanana culture in all the work she creates. She is not afraid of being different and ensures each piece she creates is unique and imaginative. 
In 2016, Teresa received a prestigious YVR Youth Scholarship award. The artwork created with the scholarship has now been accepted into the Yukon Permanent Art Collection. In the fall of 2017, Teresa began Project Hue, an online chronicle of light-hued Indigenous Peoples through photography and experiences, involving prejudice, their relationship with racism, and lateral violence. Most recently, Teresa collaborated with artist, Nicole Bauberger, in creating Raven-inspired sculptural works from tire remnants found on the side of the Alaska Highway. The two received a $50k Canada Council for the Arts Creating, Knowing, and Sharing grant which allowed them to begin the project earlier this year.

Teresa is a member of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and Yukon Arts Society.