Felting hands-on - Artist Melanie Monique Rose (standing) facilitated a needle-felting workshop at the Grand Theatre in Indian Head on April 24.

Flowers and felting combine in the artwork of Melanie Monique Rose, creating vibrant depictions of her Métis and Ukrainian heritage. A display of her artwork called “The Flower People” is touring the province through the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC). The pieces were on display at the Grand Theatre in Indian Head for the month of April.
A group of youth from Indian Head, called the Changemakers, organized several programs to coordinate with the art show. These included painting, beading, and felting workshops that were open to the public. The final program, held on April 24, included a presentation by Rose and a needle-felting workshop.
Although the Regina-based artist initially intended to pursue a career in the sciences, she found that working with textiles was her passion and transitioned to a program at Kootenay School of the Arts in British Columbia.
A personal search for authenticity, combined with inspiration from the 1960s and artistic styles in her own heritage, led her to begin creating pieces now collected under the title, “The Flower People.” She found the process of needle-felting was the most effective for the theme although her pieces reflect the beadwork of the Métis, as well as the flow of Ukrainian dances.
Each piece represents part of her family’s story. Some represent life as one of the “road allowance people,” while another depicts medicines gathered from beside a river. The artwork is filled with vibrant colors and flowing lines that are reminiscent of Ukrainian dance movements.
Rose explained that the bright color choices included on a capote and other pieces were intentional. “I just want to be myself; I’m not going to hide, I want to be bright and bold,” she said.
Her work caught the attention of Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) which commissioned her to make a cape for Louise Simard’s retirement from MN-S. Simard wore the cape when she joined the Metis delegation visiting the Pope last month. Rose said it made her emotional to see photos of Simard wearing the cape during the visit to Rome.
“I was really proud that she was wearing it. I put intention into my work and it was as if I made something that was holding her when she stood in front of the Pope,” Rose told the group gathered at the Grand Theatre last Sunday.
Following a discussion of her artwork, Rose explained the process of needle-felting and demonstrated various techniques. Those attending the program spent the rest of the evening creating their own unique artwork to take home.

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