From Stitches to Stage: The Art of Beatrice Deer

8 November 2023
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“Inuit women sew—my mom, my aunts, my cousins—all the women in my village,” Beatrice Deer says. “I started using a sewing machine at age thirteen and never stopped. I like making outdoor clothing, like parkas and crochet hats. When I became a performer, I began making traditional garments for myself.”

Deer is an award-winning singer-songwriter, composer, simultaneous interpreter, educator, healer, activist, and textile artist, based in Montréal. Known globally for her music, she has released six studio albums that blend narrative lyrics with traditional Inuit stories, throat singing indie rock and modern folk. Half Mohawk, half Inuk, Deer sings in three languages: Inuktitut, English, and French. In 2021, she released her sixth album, SHIFTING, an album focused on the theme of transitioning—emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  

Deer first learned how to sew during her childhood in the small village of Quaqtaq in Nunavik, Québec. Her elementary school’s Culture Class introduced her to basic sewing stitches and simple projects like mitts and pincushions. She later graduated to making clothes, sewing two small pullovers for her twin nieces. Sewing and textile work is an integral part of Deer’s life, whether it is creating clothing for performance, artistic commissions, or practical clothing for family life.

Featured photo credit: Christyna Pelletier

Copyright © Leanne Prain except as indicated.

About Leanne Prain

Leanne Prain is the author of Strange Material: Storytelling Through Textiles; Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti co-authored with Mandy Moore; and Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery. Her fourth book, on the theme of creative troublemaking, will be published by Arsenal Pulp Press in Spring 2022.

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