In today’s interview, I had the pleasure to learn more about Roni and her business, Metis Caravan, nature fashioned for your soul. Her stuff is amazing and it was great to learn about how she came to be the fabulous artist that she is.
Hi Roni! Can you tell me a little bit about Metis Caravan?
Let me just start by saying I’m French-Ojibway and Irish-Gypsy plus maybe 11 other herbs and spices so my craft work is handed down to me by family. I was also introduced to craft shows and festivals in a family business as amid so that’s how I knew where to start when I needed to start over.
I am previous qualified as a counselor in general psych, fitness and nutrition and natural medicine but in 2009 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The ‘cure’ wreaks havoc on your body and brain so life never gets quite normal again.
As a chemo survivor I needed something to help me feel healthier and some dignity and some income.
My faith and traditions, mainly Ojibwa, gave me back some health so I pursued dignity and income the same way.
How did you come up with the concept of the Metis Caravan?
The Metis Caravan idea is to share cultural traditions, the lifestyle practices, the wonderful outcomes and my artwork which comes from those traditions.
I guess that answers question 2 as well though, nature inspires me. Nature based spiritual practices inspire me. My cultures and the fact that they are many and they are harmonious together inspires me as a person and as an artist.
What inspires you, personally and as an artist?
My media were taught to me by family tradition. My take on the craft is a bit different though. My inspiration is nature based but I like to toss in something that is just me as well- that’s the medicine of it.
First, I’ll only use leather or other parts from salvage or an animal which has been fairly hunted for food. I won’t just go to a hide house for boxes of farmed pelts! No new animal is ever harmed for the making of my product.
Secondly, I’ll have to illustrate an example:
If I make a dreamcatcher from natural willow wood, natural sinew for the web, natural stones for the dreams, just to be Metis Caravan, I’ll add a bright orange nylon butterfly or deep blue plastic beads to hold the feathers on.
Its just the Gypsy in me needing to come out and make medicine.
My mom is an artist, a watercolor painter. She chooses to work with watercolor because it makes her feel good. Why did you choose to work with the media you work with: wood, leather and beads?
Making medicine is what I do. That’s how it feels when I make something new. I create with my hands but also my heart. I do pray over my pieces, for the recipient.
I pray for dream catchers to take away nightmares and to help people manifest their good dreams into their reality.
Can you describe the feelings you get when you are creating something new?
On one level I feel pride and “wow that’s really pretty” when I complete a new piece, especially my clan-dream catchers.
A clan dreamcatcher is an animal carrying a dreamcatcher for your family.
I dreamed up clan dream catchers all- by- myself. They are my original design. So proud.
Speaking of pride, my heart fully sank when I was building a bridal crown from leather and dove feathers and realized, ” someone will wear this on their most special day, then cherish it for the whole rest of her life. And I made it!” I could have gone into wedding planning after that big feeling.
I just love making medicine that I can see, that is tangible.
Of course crafting is not the only tradition I learned from my cultures. I love to share all of it; herbal medicine, ceremonial practice, hearing from animal guides through cards my auntie Twylah designed.
Often I’m able to share medicine by first reading the cards which lead to a counselling session or four, discovering what foods, herbs, exercise or ceremony may be most beneficial.
Where can my readers find you?
I have a website showing my zany, medicine-filled designs, and they’re for sale, at Metis Caravan
Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers?
Since proceeds often go toward protecting animals and to help cancer survivors, Metis Caravan is also on this fabulous little site: At The Keep Chari-tees
It shows more of who I really am, how we can help each other and how we help these charities when we work together.
In the meantime to get in touch with me for business,spiritual, friendly, whatever! Just email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tobi, you’ve asked me questions about my business but they’ve turned out to be pretty personal for me. I see that my business is all built on personal beliefs and cares, after all. Thank you for reminding me of that.