What to Buy at Moonstone Creation Native Gallery

The gallery and gift shop in Inglewood is run by Cree First Nations mother-daughter duo, Yvonne Jobin and Amy Willier and is full of hand-made items.



Photo by Vanessa Nim

 

The first thing you notice about Moonstone Creation is the building's pale pink exterior with blue trim and the six foot long banner proudly announcing, "Real Native Art Made Right Here, Eh!"

The art gallery and gift shop in Inglewood is owned by Cree First Nations artist Yvonne Jobin and her daughter, Amy Willier. Inside the pink building, you'll find a range of artwork by Native artists. Many of the pieces available at the gallery are crafted in the store by Jobin and Willier. Others are made by Jobin’s niece, Kim, and First Nations people from across the province. 

Through the gallery and classes that teach Native decorative art, the pair work to share First Nations culture, "break down barriers between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people," and to reclaim success where First Nations people and art have historically been devalued and exploited.

Before opening the gallery in Inglewood (its original location opened in 2009 on 9th Avenue), Jobin operated a home business selling her artwork. Often, Jobin would bring her work to trade shows and conferences, but she was always conscious and deliberate in defining her work as art. 

"I never went to craft shows. That's not my work, you know. Mine is an art. It's wearable art," Jobin says. "So I aligned myself with artists. I do shows with artists rather than a crafts show. And part of it is to bring all of our work to the level that it needs to be." 

While the difference between art and crafts may seem menial to some, defining and showcasing Native artwork as art is a subtle but significant move in emphasizing the artistry and value of work like Jobin's. Historically and continually today, Native artists and their work face devaluation, appropriation and exploitation. 

"I have a little bone to pick around all the things that were stolen from my ancestors. People didn't value it. My mother-in-law used to sell moccasins for $1.50 to the Hudson Bay Company, and she couldn't even take cash. She had to take an uncredited trade. She sold the whole moose hide for three dollars," says Jobin. "But, I've been to collectors, to Sotheby's in Santefe, and a baby pair of moccasins is $2,000. When a collector owns it, then it's up to hundreds of thousands of dollars."

"When I sold my first jacket for $10,000, I thought, 'Yay, celebration,' not only for myself, but for all those artists that come behind me," says Jobin. "Because, if I can do it, they can do it."

 

Wearable Art

 

Moonstone Creation features a number of wearable art pieces by Jobin and other Native artists, including jewelry and clothing like beaded necklaces, moccasins and ribbon shirts.

 

photo by vanessa nim

In the centre of the gallery, Jobin sits in the studio working on a pair of moccasins made from authentic, Native tanned hide. "[The hide] is very hard to get," says Jobin as she works. "It's high-end. So anything made with this hide versus commercial hide is going to be considerably different price."

 

photo by vanessa nim

Dozens of different necklaces, like the buffalo necklace (left, $30) and the beaded wire necklace (right, $60), are displayed in the front of the gallery. 

 

photo by vanessa nim

Moccasins are hand-made using Native tan hide with beadwork by various Native artists ($150). 

 

photo by vanessa nim

These beaded barrettes come in pairs for $30. 

 

photo by vanessa nim

Ribbon Shirts are designed by Jobin and are $125. 

 

Journals, Bags, Pouches and More Authentic Native Art

 

Alongside the wearable art pieces, Moonstone Creation also features other pieces of Native art made from authentic materials, like tanned moose hide, and embelished with decorative art like beadwork, quill work and animal hair tufting. 

 

PHOTO BY VANESSA NIM

Business card holders are available in both moose hide ($65) and leather ($25).

 

PHOTO BY VANESSA NIM

Strike-A-Light pouches are crafted by Jobin from tanned moose hide and are either beaded with glass beads or decorated with porcupine quills ($250). On the bottom, fringes are used to represent the sun and cone danglers "invite the 'Good Spirits' to walk with us." 

 

PHOTO BY VANESSA NIM

Woven baskets decorated with caribou fur floral designs are $125. 

 

PHOTO BY VANESSA NIM

Details of caribou fur thistle designs on a woven basket.

 

PHOTO BY VANESSA NIM

Journals with split cow hide covers with beaded artwork are $65.

 

PHOTO BY VANESSA NIM

Bentwood Boxes originate from British Columbia First Nations, who would use the traditional containers to store precious and valuable possessions. A small Bentwood box is $49 while a larger one is $95.

 

Fine Art

 

In the back room of the gallery, stunning pieces of fine art by Native artists are displayed across the walls. All the pieces are available for purchase, but you can also stop by just to view the art.

 

photo by vanessa nim

Painted by Ron Disbrowe, a Metis artist from Red Sucker Lake First Nation in Manitoba, this acrylic Raven piece is $975. 

 

photo by vanessa nim

Another acrylic on canvas by Disbrowe, this Inukshuk painting is $250.

 

photo by vanessa nim

These paintings by Jerry Tony are $175 each.

 

Other Items to Buy at Moonstone Creation

 

 photo by vanessa nim

Essential oils are available from $12 and up. 

 

photo by vanessa nim

Recently, Moonstone Creation has even started selling traditionally smoked dried bison meat. Dry meat is available in three sizes: 35 grams ($12), 70 grams ($22) and 140 grams ($44).

 

Art Classes Offered by Moonstone Creation 

 

Along with running the gallery and gift store, Jobin and Willier also teach classes for people who want to learn the techniques, methods and artistry of Native decorative art, which includes beadwork, quill work, moose hair tufting and more. 

"Part of my willingness to teach is because I'm fortunate. I've had lots of teachers who are all gone now. Knowledge is worthless if you don't share it, so we hold classes. I'm very willing to share," says Jobin. 

Classes are open to Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people alike Jobin says. "I have a lot of Non-Aboriginal people that do take my classes. They're very interested because of appreciation, not appropriation where they want to learn and go sell it. Those are the kind of people that are attracted to what I offer."

Moonstone Creation, 1219 10 Ave. S.E., 403-261-2650, moonstonecreation.ca

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Inside Jesse Gleeson’s Apartment That is Full of Plants

This plant-obsessed apartment dweller embodies the true #jungalow ethos with more than 100 plants in his 600-square-foot home.

Rodney Diverlus' Style Statement

Diverlus, a dancer with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, is inspired by Rihanna's style.

Inside RE/MAX House of Real Estate's Plant-Filled Office in Altadore

The office has its own door that leads directly into NHBR, a local coffee shop owned by the team behind Our Daily Brett.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags