Francine Chevrier, from the Timiskaming First Nation community, is an energetic woman who is very involved in her art, a stimulating and nourishing passion for her.  

Francine communicates her culture through sewing and beading. Several years ago, she took in the teachings and rituals of elders who gave her the message to make ribbon skirts. Starting with her own, she let herself be inspired intuitively and instinctively to compose and make this first skirt: the result was surprising, but the whole creative process thrilled her. After that, orders naturally poured in, and women asked her to make their skirt for their regalia.  

“I’m inspired by what the women tell me, why they want a skirt and what’s important to them, the clan, the spiritual name, why they dance in the Pow Wow, a color or animal totem, etc.” 

Francine was inspired by her mother, who has a long tradition of embroidery and beading, as well as making leather mittens and moccasins. Her mother is, for her, a reference and she never fails to ask her advice, as well as the artist Tala Toutousis for personalized confection and the symbolism of ribbon skirts.  

Francine’s inspiring studio is filled with the colors of fabric for ribbons and beading. She also makes bell skirts, belts, hat beadwork and much more.  

“I let my inspiration guide me and listen to what’s there. With fabric it’s easy to express what’s in my head!” 

She has an entrepreneurial spirit. She hopes one day to have a boutique-workshop in her community, so that they can have all the tools they need to make regalias on hand, as well as a space just for making them.  

“I dream of having my own boutique where I’ll have all the necessary materials on site, so that we don’t have to go far to buy them. Fabric, beading, fur, leather and more…. And to see people from my community come in, walk around and be able to sit in a space created just for them, so they can do everything on the spot and hear the elders tell their stories.” 

It’s always with enthusiasm that she presents her work. You can also discover her creations on our website and on her Facebook page Mikanak Créations.  

Making and wearing a ribbon skirt is a symbol of self-love and protection, a way of bearing witness to ceremonial practices, of honoring and respecting those who participate, and of praying. There’s always a spiritual aspect to both making and wearing the skirt. 

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