Heidi Houle | Metis Leatherwork Artisan | War.Moccs (instagram)
Heidi Houle is a self taught moccasin maker and Metis Artisan from the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement in Alberta. The Metis people are known as the Flower Beadwork People, combining french embroidered flower beadwork with Cree and Ojibwi moccasin making. She has spent the last 12 years honing her skills as a Metis Artisan.
Coming from a long tradition of Metis entrepreneurs; she combined her sewing skills with beadwork to become known as Moccasins and Stuff. Working part-time at a bead store she spent a year doing custom orders and moving full-time into her business in the second year. After working out of a studio apartment in Edmonton for four years she moved home to rebrand, improve her product and add to her inventory which now includes jewellery, hats, clothing etc.
During her rebrand she became War Moccs following the tradition of embellishing moccasins during war time. By adding beading to moccasin the indigenous tribe of the northwest plains believed; new moccasins helped bring warriors home or guide his spirit into the next life.
Beadwork is a 30,000 year history that influenced her artwork immensley. Having travelled to Mexico and thirteen European Nations on a 7 week spiritual journey she has allowed her experiences to influence her art and outlook on what modern traditional Metis artistry can be. With over 350 custom orders dictating her journey she caters to indigenous and non indigenous cliental all year round.
After her 12 years in business meeting the needs of her clients providing handmade items with custom art she is moving into workshops. Being self taught she looks to fill the gaps in what it means to share traditions and history and make these skills available to anyone and everyone she can.