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BYOBeads Indigenous ONLINE Beading Circle
Online Using Zoom & Registration via EventBrite
Every Thursday evening, February 17 – May 12, 2022
7-9pm – tune in any time!

BYOBeads, our unique online beading circle, is an intimate opportunity for traditional bead artists, hobby-beaders just learning their craft, experts, elders, and enthusiasts to gather and work together on current project(s), share skills, and show off the beautiful things they’ve been working on! This season’s BYOBeads features a new exciting host, 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 stars as part of BYOBeads! Throughout the season, we invite a special Indigenous guest artist from a multi-disciplinary art form to share their work at one of our beading circles, making it a true celebration of Indigenous artistry & talent! In addition to this new, exciting season of BYOBeads, we will also be creating a documentary series about all our talented guest artists, which will be created and directed by artist Theresa Stevenson. Stay tuned for more details on this piece of the project as the videos come together!

We hope to see you online! Come and bring a cup of your favourite tea, share your bead work, share your tips, enjoy a discussion, and gather socially (from a distance!) with people who share your love of this traditional craft.

NOTE: Participants are not required to call in with video – We all know how zoomed out things can get these days, so please, feel free to join us however you feel comfortable (though we would LOVE to see your work!)

ALSO 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, 2 Spirit, 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 with paint & mixed-media on wood cradled panels. She studied art at Claude Watson School for the Arts in Toronto and at OCAD briefly.

Mel grew up on the Manitoba prairies in a Mennonite family. When she learned she’d been given up for adoption by a single Ojibway mom from Lac Seul First Nation, she began exploring her Nishinaabe roots. She continues that journey to this day and knows it will be a life-long journey of discovery. Mel met her birth-mother in her 20’s and keeps in touch with her. Recently, she connected with her half brother and cousins. In 2019, Mel received her Nishinaabe Name, Nendowaamjiget ~ which translates to “Seeker” in English. Mel is Wolf Clan.

Website | Instagram (Beadwork) | Instagram (Abstract work)


THERESA STEVENSON: Theresa Stevenson is a Plains and Swampy Cree registered with Fisher River Cree Nation in Manitoba, who is currently based in Toronto. Iskwew (Woman) Rising is run by Theresa Stevenson. Named in homage to the resilience of Indigenous women. Iskwew Risings’s focus is on original and authentically made works. You can’t appropriate if you originate.

Website | Instagram | Facebook





  • Thursday February 17th, 7-9 pm
    Reunited and it feels so good!
  • Thursday February 24th, 7-9pm
    Beading with Mel Bartel
  • Thursday March 3rd, 7-9pm
    Beading with Mel Bartel
  • Thursday March 10th, 7-9pm
    Guest Stars: Adam Jones and Jonathan Adams
  • Thursday March 17th, 7-9pm
    Beading with Mel Bartel
  • Thursday March 24th, 7-9pm
    Guest Stars: Shannon Gustafson & Katie Longboat
  • Thursday March 31st, 7-9pm

    Guest Stars: Kanina Terry & Katrina Brown Akootchook 
  • Thursday April 7th, 7-9pm

    Guest Stars: Amber Sandy & Falen Johnson
  • Thursday April 14th, 7-9pm
    Beading with Mel Bartel
  • Thursday April 21st, 7-9pm
    Beading with Mel Bartel
  • Thursday April 28th, 7-9pm
    Guest Stars: Skye Paul & Born in the North (Chris & Greg Mitchell)
  • Thursday May 5th, 7-9pm
    Beading with Mel Bartel
  • Thursday May 12th, 7-9pm

    Guest Stars: Brit Ellis & Kristi Lane Sinclaire


Be sure to register for the upcoming BYOBeads night you want to attend by visiting 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:

7:00-7:15 – Welcome, Introductions
7:15 – Show and tell/update on Beadwork Projects
7:30-7:45 – Presentation by Guest Artist
7:45-8:00 – Discussion
8:00-8:45 – BEADS, BEADS, BEADS!
8:45-9:00 – Final Presentation by Guest Artist & Closing Thoughts

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.


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


Thanks to Native Women in the Arts for continuing to fund this program!

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