“I knew I wanted to be an artist; beading was something that always came easily to me, and that was my way of giving myself a voice,”
Caroline Blechert | Founder Creations for Continuity
Sitting down with Inuvialuit/Iñupiaq artist Caroline Blechert (she/her), you immediately feel the peace of someone who has found her way within her craft, using patience and persistence. Beading at the age of nine and selling her work at 16, Blechert learned traditional Native-style beadwork from an elder in her homeland of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, Canada.
She was living in Vancouver, BC, when she realized a longing to become more connected to her Inuvialuit/Iñupiat roots, family, and traditions. “I knew I wanted to be an artist; beading was something that always came really easily to me, and that was my way of giving myself a voice,” she says. Blechert decided to start a jewelry business and launched Creations for Continuity.
“I decided to create a business with the intent to rediscover my roots and combine that in a more contemporary way,” she says. Inspired by her northern Native culture and Alaskan ancestry, yet living in an urban setting, Blechert began working on something that could tell both stories.
Blechert refined her practice over the years, studying textile design, art, and Native jewelry making at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the Institute of American Indian Arts, but she always came back to her own vision of how she wanted to be an artist. “I’ve always wanted to carve my own path and do things that fit for me,” says Blechert.
Creations for Continuity, an online shop and digital portfolio for Blechert’s one-of-a-kind beadwork and jewelry collections, is also a growing collective she calls a “sisterhood” of other Native jewelry makers who Blechert wants to collaborate with and provide a platform for. Using dyed porcupine quills, caribou hair and hide, antlers, and delica beads, Blechert’s pieces are inspired by traditional methods, as well as her travels (she’s on the road quite a bit), and even her dreams (see the “Rainbow Spirit” series on her website).
The name of her business represents both her desire to continue the legacy of her ancestors and the cultivation of a new space where Native artists find community.
Blechert says, “Being in touch with my identity is so important for my livelihood. That’s what defines me.”
Author: Dez Ramirez
Photos: Kari Rowe
Published: December 2019