Like many people during the pandemic, Misty Antoine returned to a hobby she had put on hold for several years. Unlike many people, however, she did not just continue her hobby; she made it a paid business, and her work will be available at a craft fair for First Nations vendors that she is hosting on November 27.
Antoine – a member of the Bonaparte First Nation – says that during the pandemic she didn’t have much to do, so she took her paintings and started making art. “I’ve been an artist for a while – loved art in high school – but put it aside for several years. Coming back to it during COVID helped my sanity as there wasn’t much to do and I couldn’t go anywhere. “
She says that while working on it, she thought to herself, “It’s kinda fun. It’s a hobby, but something I love to do. She started posting some of her completed works on Facebook and a few friends bought some items.
“I got stuff off my walls which was good because it was starting to pile up,” she laughs. “I ended up selling a lot of my work to people as far away as Vancouver and Saskatchewan.”
Antoine works with acrylic paints, and his creations begin by pouring paint to create a marbled background. “I do the acrylic casting first, then I look at a room and think of ideas. Do I want to put a bear or a wolf in it?
She also makes custom pieces. “Sometimes people want a western theme, and I did a few Canucks logos. I do all kinds of things. I’m going to paint on drums, and people have asked me to. This year was my first time painting a deer skull, and it was very different.
Through his Facebook feed, Antoine began to notice other First Nations people doing beadwork and needlework, making moccasins and drums, and carving pieces of wood. “The idea for the craft fair came from my work and seeing other work. I know people have a lot to show and struggle with it, so I wanted to bring people together so they can show off what they have and maybe get some orders.
To Antoine’s knowledge, this is the first craft fair focused on First Nations in the region. “You don’t see a lot of First Nations vendors in the local markets. My people need an outlet, and they need to be known. I have had a lot of contact with non-First Nations people, but right now I’m focusing on people who belong to local First Nations around our area.
She says she has registered quite a few Bonaparte vendors. “There’s been a lot of word of mouth, and I’m reaching out and asking people to contact me. The more tables, the better. If we get a good answer I would like to keep more, so I am testing the water right now.
The Craft Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on November 27 at the Cache Creek Community Hall. The Bonaparte First Nation covers the cost of renting the room, and Antoine says vendors can get tables by donation. Anyone interested in becoming a supplier can contact them at (250) 682-3044 or [email protected]
Everyone is welcome to attend the fair, which, in addition to a wide variety of First Nations arts, crafts and artisans, will also include bannock, baked goods and a concession. All COVID protocols will be in place and proof of vaccination is required.
“I’m not doing this to make money with the tables; I want to help my people, ”says Antoine. “And I like to try different things; I don’t like to hold back, and I try to get out of my bubble. Painting is something that has become my favorite hobby.
Cache Creek First Nations