Re-thinking traditional design for the modern world
The best part about being a multi-displinary artist is that I get to try different things that connect with my personal philosophies. So far in my career, I've had the pleasure of designing coins for the Royal Canadian Mint, illustrating children's books and creating paintings or sculptures using a variety of media. As a subsistence hunter, I'm fond of including animal hides into my body of work to complete the cycle of honouring life.
EVOLUTION OF THE SIMPLE TRAPPER HAT
In recent years, I've also discovered the pleasure of making traditional Trapper Hats. They are made of fur and leather or Melton Wool. They feel terrific – soft and supple and gorgeous. They smell awesome. I make a point of obtaining pelts from Canadian trappers or organizations that share my values in hunting LESS (legally, ethically, safely & sustainably). I love how pelts and hides are imperfect and can sometimes present challenges while working with them. In my opinion, they are still perfect though – perfectly rustic.I love the model of hat I’m working with. It’s practical, warm and luxurious yet unpretentious. It’s a testament to the old fur trade. I love that I can be creative with the same model while maintaining its basic, historical construction.
When beadwork is added to the hat, it evolves. It becomes a crown, a work of art. I also love that the beadwork style evolved from a truly Canadian tradition – one that blends the styles of First Nations and the settler Europeans. The beading style that is known as the Metis beadwork is, in fact, now recognized as Canada’s first art form*.
Another fun project I created turns a traditional moccasin into a luxurious home décor item. The Moccushion is a high end cushion that is based on the Northern Metis style moccasin. The Moccushion is made using the same hand-made construction techniques and materials as the traditional moccasin. The beadwork is also based on traditional patterns but, like the Trapper Hats, is updated in colours and composition to suit modern styling.
If you're interested in learning more about these projects, or to order your own custom made Trapper Hat or Moccushion, please visit www.nathaliebertin.com or call the studio at 905-868-8372.
PS: Visits to the studio are strictly by appointment. And I'm ALWAYS happy to discuss artwork commissions and sales. :)
*Source: "The New Peoples: Being and Becoming Métis in North America", edited by Jacqueline Peterson and Jennifer S. H. Brown, The University of Manitoba Press, 1985, ISBN: 0-88755-617-5.