lisa.beading creates beautiful, handmade beadwork pieces that are considerate and crafted with good energy and heart. Each piece is created with thoughtfulness and dedication and is inspired by a x̄á’islak̓ala word, making them even more special and important. Lisa Walker, owner and sole proprietor of lisa.beading is a mixed Indigenous x̄á’isla/British artist. She was born in the small northern town of Kitimat BC and works from her home on unceded kʷikʷəƛ̓əm territories in BC. We spoke with her to learn more about her business and inspirations.
What is your business called and what does it do?
My business is called lisa.beading and I sell my handmade beadwork which I make in small batches. I make one-of-a-kind pieces that are inspired by my culture, pop culture, emotions, music, memories, outer space, nature, and my experiences.
What made you want to do this work?
As an Indigenous person, beading is medicine for me, and a real attempt at healing and decolonizing my life. I use my beadwork process as a way to learn my language, Haislakala. I name each collection or piece using a word from my language and spend time thinking about it while I am beading each piece. It is a very meditative art practice that takes extreme focus and many, many hours for each piece I make. I find it really relaxing and recharging.
What problem did you want to solve with the business?
I want to live my life more authentically and in line with my beliefs and wishes. I worked in really stressful, racist environments for so long trying to do decolonial work for the municipal government. It was so harmful to my mental and physical health after a decade of it that I could no longer return, and instead went back to my beading practice for healing and comfort. It ended up naturally turning into a business for me and is now my sole source of income.
Who are your clientele/demographics?
My customers range from so many different backgrounds, across Canada and the world, many Indigenous and many non-Indigenous. I try to create a range of pricing in my work so that it can be accessible to many, and I also do giveaways on my social media from time to time as a thank-you for supporting me.
How does your business make money? How does it work?
I make money by selling my beadwork, paying myself for my time, skill, energy and materials.
Where in Vancouver can we find your profession?
I sell my work online through my website, and also in two stores. One is called Good Omen in New Westminster, and the other is called Raven’s Veil in East Vancouver.
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.
I’m not sure if this applies to my business. If you’re deciding between work by different beaders, I would just suggest deciding on the one that resonates most with you and fits your budget. Some of us charge more than others, we all have different styles and techniques and all our work is beautiful!
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
The best part of being a working artist is being able to live my life at a pace that works for me. I can be my own boss, decide what to do each day, and spend a lot of time creating things from inspirational places. The worst part is finance, trying to price things, paying taxes, not having a stable income each month, and keeping track of bookkeeping. It is also very hard dealing with insensitive comments and questions from the general public about Indigenous issues, or folks who want to tell me I am charging too much for my time.
What is your favourite joke about your own profession?
As a beader, I have really strong forearms and hands now… I no longer need to ask my husband to help me open jars. There are also lots of jokes in the beading community about how we can never stop buying beads.. we have giant collections of all sorts of colours and different types!
What are your social media channels?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Vancouver business that you love?
I love Massy Books! A wonderful Indigenous-owned bookstore.