Sara, smiling at the camera with her hand behind an earring - a beaded UFO with a beam that is multi-coloured a la designer Pucci. Sara is a fat white-skinned woman with shaved sides of her head, and messy wavy brown hair with lots of greys peeking through

Kwe’! Teluisi Sara Spilchen. 

Hello! My name is Sara Spilchen. My pronouns are she/her/hers. 

I am a queer mixed Mi’kmaq and settler Newfoundlander multidisciplinary artist and maker living in the unceded shared territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen peoples in what is known as Surrey, BC, Canada. I am a proud parent to 4 children and the lucky partner of Trevana (they/them/theirs). 

Photo of Sara with her family

My home is Ktaqamkuk- Newfoundland and Labrador. My Mi’kmaq family name is Paul- we are Splet’k from Pa'qamikekewey Sipu. My dad’s family is from Twillingate, on the coast. These places are as important to me as where I spent my early childhood, nistawâyâw, also known as Fort McMurray, Alberta.
I was slow to come to beadwork as an artistic expression. In April 2019, my mother Diane was diagnosed with stage IV primary lung cancer and was given 3-4 months to live. Due to community care, my daughter and I were fortunate to be able to spend a lot of this time with her. When she passed on the last day of August, I inherited her vast bead collection. 

The loss of my mother was devastating. In early 2021, I began to use the beads she left me to start processing this loss. Each pass of the needle through the beads, I’d think of her. She was a disabled nurse and had spent most of her time sitting at her desk crafting intricate bead and precious metal wire creations. I cried so much after the first pair of fringe earrings I made that I had a headache for two days. 

I now love sketching out concepts and then seeing those ideas become tangible pieces of wearable art. This has led to offering some pieces on Instagram starting in June 2021 and now challenging myself to continue creating. I’ve struggled with complex PTSD and chronic pain for more than half my life and this practice has not only helped increase my self-confidence but has also helped our family make ends meet in the very soul-suckingly expensive greater Vancouver area. 

Wela’lin for reading about me and for the support. 

You can find me on Instagram at @bead.sook for beading or @wenchlette for everyday life and lots of pictures of our littlest one, Penelope.