How to Bead on a Loom by Amber Quail

Top image and above: Kapapamahchakwew Wandering Spirit School, 2018

The looms were not originally planned as a part of the project – it was going to be Great Lakes bead embroidery.  Some of the students were not enjoying or having challenges with bead embroidery.  I added looms as an accommodation even before I took my BEd and knew what an accommodation is lol. Indigenous ways of knowing and being right??  The experience of learning beadwork is a traditional art form and we were in the process of reclaiming that skill.  It wouldn’t be right if the students felt forced or had a sense of unease with the work – because as you and I know, that goes into the work.  The looms were introduced as an alternative.  I hadn’t developed a powerpoint at that stage in my practice – I taught them in the traditional way – one on one, the way that I was taught.  Luckily the group was small which made this possible.


For my practicum at Riverdale I created a powerpoint.  There were 7 NAC-10 classes being taught over two days (working on the 120 looms we constructed).  I needed the powerpoint so the students would have access to information (via google classroom) – plus the teachers also had to be taught as I needed their support.   While it was all unfolding I was really intimidated and wondered what I had got myself into, but it was amazingly successful.  Eventually each classroom transformed from chaos to tranquility as the students picked up the skill.  By the end of my practicum I created a brand new unit for their NAC-10 program.  It was more successful than I could have even  hoped.

How to bead on a loom            Mazinaabidoo’an  (Grade 8 Loom Beading Unit)



The loomed pieces were done with the blended grade 5/6 class at Fairglen JPS (during my practicum) 2019.