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BYOBeads Indigenous ONLINE Beading Circle
Online Using Zoom. Register on Google HERE
Biweekly Thursday evenings, May 2 – July 11th, 2024
7-8:30pm – tune in any time!

BYOBeads is an Indigenous-led Beading Circle hosted by East End Arts with support from Native Women in the Arts. It’s a no-cost online space where creative people from across Turtle Island can sit together chatting, laughing and sharing our experiences while beading/creating together. Whether you are a full or part-time bead artist, or someone who is interested in beading, we welcome you to join us. This season’s BYOBeads is again led by Mel Bartel, a talented Toronto-based, 2 Spirit, Nishinaabe artist whose work lives at the intersection of colourful abstract art and traditional Anishinaabe beadwork.

We are thrilled to again be presenting an amazing selection of Indigenous Guest Artists as part of BYOBeads! Throughout the season, we will welcome talented Indigenous beading artists to share their work at one of our beading circles. Come and be inspired by the artistry, and bring questions that you’d like to ask. Scroll down to learn more about this season’s Guest Artists.

We hope to see you online!

NOTE: Sensitive and/or mature content may come up in BYOBeads programming. If at any time you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, or if you require support, please let the facilitator Mel Bartel or any of the East End Arts staff know and we will be more than happy to assist you.


MEL BARTEL: Toronto-based Nishinaabe artist Mel Bartel believes that all art is healing and therapeutic. It doesn’t matter if you are viewing it or creating it, the effects are the same.

She is known for her expressive and intuitive ability to capture emotion, personality and spirit. Her mediums are acrylic paint on wood cradled birch panels and bead work. She studied Art and Graphic Design at Claude Watson School of the Arts, George Brown College and briefly at Ontario College of Art & Design.

Mel grew up as a child in the Manitoba prairies and was raised by a Mennonite family. She is Sixties Scoop and her home community is Lac Seul First Nation.

Her Nishinaabe name is Nendowaaamjiget which means Seeker. This name is particularly fitting for Mel as it seems she has been seeking most of her life – for identity, her culture, her place in the world. She is a member of the Wolf Clan.

Following a successful period as Graphic Designer for Loblaw Brands Company designing President’s Choice product packaging, she has returned to expressive art as her primary focus.

Website | Instagram 


  • Thursday May 2nd, 2024    |    7-8:30pm – Welcome Back Session!
  • Thursday May 16th, 2024    |    7-8:30pm – Lizzy Hill joining as Guest Star!
  • Thursday May 30th, 2024    |    7-8:30pm –  Mickenzie Martin joining as Guest Star!
  • Thursday June 13th, 2024    |    7-8:30pm – Cher Chapman joining as Guest Star!
  • Thursday June 27th, 2024    |    7-8:30pm Elyse Indaig joining as Guest Star!
  • Thursday July 11th, 2024    |    7-8:30pm – End of Season Closing Session!


Be sure to register for BYOBeads by visiting our registration link HERE!


BYOBeads is a very casual vibe, but for those of you looking for a bit of structure this is the approximate schedule for the evening:

7:00-7:05 – Ease into Space
7:05-7:15 – Welcome, Introductions
7:15-7:30 – Show and tell/update on Beadwork Projects
7:30-7:45 – Conversation with Guest Artist
7:45-8:25 – Open Discussion and Beading Time
8:25-8:30 – Closing Thoughts & Goodbye

A note to settlers interested in attending BYOBeads:

1) This is primarily an Indigenous circle, which is open for non-Indigenous folks to attend. Please don’t ask questions about culture, history, or politics. Lots of folk come here to unwind, and your questions are likely loaded in ways you may not understand. Hang out, listen, laugh, and be mindful of not taking up too much space.

2) If you are a settler looking to learn about beading, we strongly encourage you to seek out artists who offer workshops and classes, or who have made videos teaching – or heck, you could just offer somebody whose work you admire money to share what they know with you. The worst that could happen is that they say no, and one of the easiest ways that we can be allies is with our dollars.

This is a space that strives to be inclusive of all identities, but we don’t always get it right.  Let us know if we can do anything to bring you in.


Lizzy Hill – Thursday May 16, 2024

Lizzy Hill is an Ojibwe beader from Bay Mills Indian Community, located in the upper peninsula of Michigan on the shores of Gitchi Gami (Lake Superior). She was called to teach herself to bead as a way to connect with her ancestors in 2016, but began to really develop her craft in 2019 with the help of her twin sister, who is also a self-taught beader (@ajijaak.creations on Instagram if you want to check out her incredible work!). Lizzy believes that beadwork is a powerful medicine, and a sacred act. She creates each piece with deep-rooted love for her community and a passion to share her culture with others. She loves to create traditional pieces, like florals and bone chokers, while also adding a modern flare and a touch of nostalgia.

Mickenzie Martin – Thursday May 30, 2024

Mickenzie Martin is the contemporary beadwork artist behind the designs of Bead and Bloom (@bead.and.bloom). She is a member of the Mohawk Nation and bear clan from Six Nations of the Grand River where she was born and raised. Mickenzie learned her love of beading and design from her mother. She also had the privilege of learning beading techniques from community elders that taught at the Red Barn, a community summer program focused on teaching youth traditional and contemporary crafts. Mickenzie earned her Bachelor’s of Science with an Honours Specialization in Biology from Western University. She is currently a full-time PhD student studying the underlying mechanisms in the development of pancreatic cancer. Art, creativity, and beadwork has helped Mickenzie through many obstacles over the journey of her education. Mickenzie loves that through beadwork she can honour her family, culture, and community while also being able to express and center herself.

Cher Chapman – Thursday June 13, 2024

Cher Chapman is a bead artist from Fort William First Nation and a proud mother of Chloe. She specializes in intricate beadwork using the two-needle method with tiny beads, reflecting her Anishinaabe culture through floral and geometric design.

Elyse Indaig – Thursday June 27, 2024

Headshot & bio coming soon!


Visit our 2021 BYOBeads page to check out the past guest stars we’ve welcomed to BYOBeads!


A big thanks to Native Women in the Arts for continuing to fund this program!

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