1080 Keewatin St,
Thunder Bay, ON, P7B 6T7


Baggage Building Arts Centre:

2200 Sleeping Giant Pkwy Thunder Bay, ON P7A 0E7

Thunder Bay Art Gallery:

1080 Keewatin Street, Thunder Bay, ON P7B6T7

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The Thunder Bay Art Gallery presents the first-ever beading symposium in northern Ontario. Join us for a vibrant 3-day gathering of beadwork experts and enthusiasts, from February 8 – 10 2024 in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Aanikoobijiganag: Thunder Bay Beading Symposium is a public event that coincides with Radical Stitch, one of the largest beadwork exhibitions ever, celebrating contemporary works by Indigenous bead artists of North America, on view until March 3.

This 3-day event celebrates the joy of beading. The word Aanikoobijiganag speaks of creating new links and connections. This gathering is designed for you to have fun, learn new skills, level up knowledge and techniques, and relax while connecting with professional beaders, artists, curators, as well as other makers. This event highlights the rich talent of beading and craft practices in our region. All workshops are Indigenous-led and everyone is welcome to register. All skill levels are welcome.

What’s included with your ticket:

  • All-inclusive access to the 3-day symposium.
  • Exclusive organic tote/swag bag including local goods and a custom beading kit.
  • Three exclusive workshops. Select your preferred workshops for each day. Each workshop is 3-hours long with capped size to focus on hands-on learning. Workshop leaders are experienced and renowned beaders, artists, and crafters from our region and beyond.
  • All workshop materials are included. Workshop leaders supply beads, caribou tufting, birch bark, home-tanned hide, and more. You’re encouraged to bring your beading and crafting supplies for sewing socials, but it is not required.
  • Lunch is provided (fixed menu with veggie/meat/gluten-free options)
  • Bus shuttle to main events.
  • Hotel discount code at The Delta Hotel by Marriot on Thunder Bay’s waterfront.
  • Access to exclusive artist panels, curator conversations, artist talks, beading circles, hide tanning drop-in and demo, trading posts and more.
The symposium is an opportunity to make genuine connections with fellow beaders and grow your community.  

Tickets are sold separately. One person per ticket.

*Limited registration. Register early.

Tickets: $250.00

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View Full Schedule


Public Programming

6:00 PM
Public Reception | Radical Stitch
Thunder Bay Art Gallery, 1080 Keewatin St.

7:30 – 9:00 PM
Curators in Conversation Panel Discussion w/ Sherry Farrell Racette, Michelle LaVallee and Cathy Mattes
Confederation College, Live Streamed on Youtube

FRIDAY FEB 09 | Day 2
3:00 – 5:00 PM
Drop-in and Demo Hide Tanning w/ Kanina Terry & Shelby Gagnon
Baggage Building, Gallery

Sewing Circle, Hosted by Shannon Gustafson & Justine Gustafson
Baggage Building, Mezzaine

Free Skate at the Waterfront
Sleeping Giant Pkwy

5:00 – 8:00 PM
Indigenous Artisan’s Market
Goods & Co. Marketplace, 251 Red River Rd

7:00 – 9:00 PM
Art Opening Reception | Aanikoobidoon: Stringing Together Past, Present, and Future.
Co. Lab | Goods & Co. Marketplace, 251 Red River Rd

12:00 – 5:00 PM
Radical Stitch Exhibition
Thunder Bay Art Gallery, 1080 Keewatin St.

12:00 – 5:00 PM
Radical Stitch Exhibition
Thunder Bay Art Gallery, 1080 Keewatin St.

Radical Stitch Co-curator Live Stream

On February 8, 2024, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm [EST] there will be a live stream of a panel discussion with the curators of Radical Stitch, including co-curators Sherry Farrell Racette and Michelle LaVallee and more, hosted on Youtube.

Watch Livestream

Beading is Belonging.

Thunder Bay is a regional hub for beading. You might call this region the heart of Anishinaabe or Ojibwe floral. A gathering of beaders, crafters, artists, curators, and leaders in contemporary craft-based practices in Thunder Bay acknowledges and celebrates our flourishing beading community. The history of beadwork prominent to this region includes many accomplished Anishinaabe and Métis bead artists from surrounding First Nation communities, including Fort William First Nation and fly-in reserves. This is an exciting time for contemporary Indigenous beadwork, and we are here for it.

This event brings people together through beadwork. Our 3-day programming includes hand-on workshops, artist panels, talks, curatorial conversations, opening receptions, drop-ins, demos, and beading circles to grow public interest and understanding of northern Ontario artists, traditional craft practices, and Indigenous lifeways.

This event focuses on skill-sharing, honouring traditional knowledge and having fun!

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery acknowledges that we are located on the territory of the Anishinaabe peoples of Northwestern Ontario. We work and live on the lands of the Fort William First Nation who are signatory to the Robinson-Superior Treaty of 1850.

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery understands fees can be a barrier for some individuals to participate in major events. The Gallery has funds to award an honourarium for financial support. The small honouarium will be awarded on a case-by case-basis at the discretion of the gallery.

Please email info@theag.ca for more information.

Workshop Leaders

Delaney Keshena

Delaney Keshena (Menomini) is a moccasin maker and fine artist currently based in Minneapolis, MN. With the body as site, Keshena uses hair, skin and glass in their practice of crafting objects that relate stories of family, nation and contemporary Indigenous experience. Delaney’s work has been shown in Italy, Belgium and throughout the United States. They are a poet and have been named as a finalist for the James Welch Prize. Delaney is completing a two-year residency with the North House Folk School, in Grand Marais, MN, and is an Incubator Artist-in-Resident with Public Functionary.  


Jean Marshall

Jean Marshall is of Ahnishnaabe/English descent, born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She is a band member of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, also known as Big Trout Lake, Treaty 9. She currently lives along the shore of Lake Superior. Jean Marshall has been practicing professionally as a visual artist for the past 20 years. She is known for her work with beads & quills. As a child, she was surrounded by beadwork. The value of craftsmanship, quality and the importance of using her hands was instilled at a young age. Unknowingly, she absorbed skill, colour, design, pattern and techniques to be used later in life. This lasting admiration grew into her present-day practice, becoming a beadworker & leatherworker. She does this full-time for herself & community. Experiential learnings from the land and relations are important to her. Jean attended the Dene Nahjo Urban Hide Tanning Residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Fall of 2018. She was mentored by the Dene Nahjo Collective members, Mandee McDonald, Melaw Nakehk’o and Tania Larsson. She observed and learned from master hide tanners Lucy Ann Yakalela & the late Judy Lafferty. After this life changing experience, she returned home to practice working on her own hides. She now is dedicated to leading, organizing, and supporting hide tanning projects in her community. She is still a learner and aspiring hide tanner with goals of becoming a master hide tanner someday. 


Kanina Terry

Kanina Terry is an Anishnaabe-kwe with an Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) mother and a white father. She was born and lives on her mother’s traditional lands of Obishikokang (Lac Seul First Nation) in Sioux Lookout, Ontario. She is passionate about her son and family, food, hide tanning and creating things with her hands. Kanina finds inspiration from her teachers, ancestors, bush life, Indigenous artists and knowledge holders and is determined to reclaim knowledge and skills denied to her as a result of assimilation, colonialism and residential schools.  


Katie Longboat

Katie Longboat is a Cree and Haudenosaunee beadwork artist from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Southern Ontario, with family connections in Thunder Bay and Northern Ontario. Her beadwork incorporates intricate designs, florals, contemporary materials and bold colours to create unique jewelry pieces and beaded artwork. Katie is inspired to create work that is reflective of her family and background, the natural world, and draws inspiration from both Cree and Haudenosaunee patterns and styles of beadwork. Katie currently resides in Toronto.


Leanna Marshall

Leanna Marshall MSW, RSW, PCAT has been a social worker for 20 + years. She has specialized in working with Indigenous communities, particularly around healing from intergenerational trauma, loss, and self-esteem. Leanna is proud to be a graduate from the inaugural 2023 Indigenized Art Therapy Program from the WHEAT Institute in Winnipeg. She is a band member of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation located in Treaty 9 in Northern Ontario. Leanna was born and raised in Thunder Bay, ON where she continues to reside. Leanna uses a combination of art therapy, EMDR therapy, and land-based relationship building to strengthen connections with all of our ancestral relations. Leanna has a small private on-line and in-person practice where she offers individual sessions and facilitation services. Leanna is also a self-taught artist, poet, and performance artist. She explores colonial injustices through kind-heartedness. Leanna’s centre are her two daughters who provide much humour and vibrancy to the world.


Shannon Gustafson

Shannon Gustafson (Kiiwednong Kwe) is a registered member of Whitesand First Nation, Ontario. She was raised on the Serpent River First Nation, Ontario but now resides in the city of Thunder Bay in which she calls home. Her artistic and creative nature stems from her childhood and inspired by powwow culture. Shannon honors her gifts everyday by working as a full-time artist with support from her family. She has raised a family of artists including her husband and children. The intergenerational transfer of traditional knowledge is important to her, and she continues to teach and share her gifts with her family. She has created a strong and beautiful family bond. Her accomplishments and hardships have shaped and guided her artistic practices. She uses her art to reconnect with ceremony and to support her healing journey. She believes that her gifts have meaning and purpose. Today, personal healing and Cultural preservation is her driving force. She loves exploring and learning old art forms specific to Ojibwe culture, including traditional Ojibwe floral beadwork, patterns, and designs. She has experience with various artistic mediums including beadwork, leatherwork and textiles. She has received numerous Ontario Arts Council grants and is forever grateful for the support and opportunities for continual learning. She was also a recipient of the Hnatyshyn Foundation Reveal Indigenous Artist awards in 2017. Shannon is grateful for the many blessings in her life. She is passionate and dedicated to indigenous arts practices and will continue to inspire her community, her people and her nation for many years to come.  


Shelby Gagnon

Shelby Gagnon is an Anishinaabe/Cree artist from Aroland First Nation of the wolf clan. She is an arts educator, hide tanner, muralist, curator, and advocate for the lands and waters. Through involvement with community-engaged organizations and projects, she uses multi-disciplinary mediums to express and share her holistic feelings focused on land, water and all the spirits that call it their home.  


Gail Bannon

Gail Bannon is a proud band member of Fort William First Nation. She has been using birchbark (wiigwaas) as an artistic medium for 15+ years, creating both traditional birch bark baskets and developing new designs. Gail uses raw materials from the land; each basket is made from natural resources collected around Gitchi Gami such as red willow, cedar, bark and spruce roots. Gail’s use of bark connects her to the traditions of the Anishinaabe people, learning from the land and the stories the bark tells. In addition to their function as beautiful decor, wiigwaas mukuk have many practical uses including carrying newborn babies, berry picking, garden harvesting, and storing medicines.  


Be a part of the first-ever beading symposium in Thunder Bay

Register Now


Day 1 – Thursday Feb 08

Workshop #1 | Gifts of the Porcupine: A Quillwork Intensive

Host: Jean Marshall

About: All about quills. Learn how to sew porcupine quills onto home-tanned hide. This workshop is not designed for a finished product. It is about having fun, visiting, honouring the porcupine and exploring its quill. Participants will learn about the zig-zag technique.


Workshop #2 | Applique Beadwork

Host: Katie Longboat

About: Join Katie to learn how to design and bead a mini floral medallion. Participants will be able to view examples of floral beadwork, and learn from Katie by watching her design process, level-up on beading materials, and learn new beading techniques.


Day 2 – Friday Feb 09

Workshop #3 | Fish Skin Tanning

Host: Leanna Marshall

About:A guided journey into fish skin leather. Participants will make leather out of fish skins. Each participant will leave with a fish skin leather, an instructional booklet on how to tan fish skin, and samples of items that they can make after the workshop. Leanna utilizes stories and poetry to deepen our connection with the waters and fish.


Workshop #4 | Birchbark Basketry

Host: Gail Bannon

About:Gail Bannon shares her knowledge and love for the birch tree. Working with wiigwaas (birch bark) she shares teaching of how to harvest birch bark respectfully. She will teach participants how to use cedar, spruce roots, and other raw materials to create their own wiigwas mukuk (birchbark basket).


Day 3 – Saturday Feb 10

Workshop #5 | Edge Beading  

Host: Shannon Gustafson

About: Participants will learn basic edge beading techniques by constructing an embroidered medicine pouch. They will also learn to braid a strap to complete their pouch.


Workshop #6 | Caribou Tufting 

Host: Delaney Keshena

About: Tufting caribou and moose hair is an embellishment craft practiced across many Indigenous communities and nations. Participants will be guided through the selection of natural materials to create stunning earrings or pendants that will last lifetimes.

Note: Hand strength and dexterity are required. We will be seated for much of the class. This work is quite small and meticulous, glasses or other visual aids may be helpful.


Hide Tanning Demo and Drop-in | Dry and Freeze, Scrape and Soften

Hosts: Shelby Gagnon and Kanina Terry

About: Shelby and Kanina are fellow hide tanners, and they will share their hide tanning stories with you. They will also show you their tool bundles and discuss various uses. An interactive experience teaching you how to freeze scrape moosehide.

Aanikoobijiganag logo features original beadwork by Cher Chapman.

Digital logo concept by Krista Forioso.

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery acknowledges the support of The Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Arts Council, The City of Thunder Bay, and the Jean E. Chalmers Fund for the Crafts. 

Proudly Supported by:

Preferred accommodations by:


With support from the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission through the CEDC Tourism Development Fund program

Thanks for helping to make Aanikoobijiganag awesome:

EverBead, Lovely Body, International House of Tea, Jangles, Lakehead Beer Co., Lakehead Alumni Bookstore and Sleeping Giant Brewery.