Nicole Travers is a Mi’kmaw woman, born and raised in the small hamlet of Little Port, Elmastukwek, Ktaqmkuk. She is a self-taught beader, tanner and artist creating functional objects and artworks that respond to her culture and heritage as a Mi’kmaw and First Nation woman from the Bay of Islands, Newfoundland and Labrador.
A process of remaining connected to nature, following my intuition, vision and dreams, allows me to find the natural flow in each piece of work I make.
Influenced by the traditional Mi’kmaq double curve, petroglyphs and hieroglyphs, Nicole marries historical styles of beadwork with modern day techniques to develop contemporary, functional wearable objects. More recently she has been developing her skills tanning animal pelts and fish skins into leather using traditional techniques.
My father’s family were all fishermen. Using fish skin as a sustainable material just feels right. Using all parts that an animal has offered during a harvest is honourable to the animal and having the ability to explore sustainable methods of tanning without using harmful environmental chemicals is an important aspect of my practice.
During her residency at Fogo Island Arts Nicole explored natural dye methods on fish skins. This lengthy process involves de-fleshing and descaling the skin before softening it by hand. The skins are then oiled using tannins from tea, then coloured using natural stains and dyes. These coloured and tanned skins are the raw materials of new ambitious artworks by Travers that incorporate found objects, such as her late father’s hand-turned lobster trap bow, and are often overlayed with traditional beading techniques imbuing meaning through symbolic motifs.
View/download Nicole’s Cross Currents poster here.