Frances Whitford is originally from Anzac, AB but has called Edmonton home for the past four years. She was raised by her grandparents and grew up surrounded by Metis culture and craft, spending much time on the family trapline. Frances learned most of her craft from her grandmother, a Metis artisan herself who made various pieces for the family and to sell in an effort to supplement the family’s income. Her grandfather was a trapper who would supply the furs and hides needed for her grandmother’s craft. Now, her brother has stepped into the role of trapper and supplies a large amount of the hides and furs that allow Frances to continue to learn and hone her skills.
Throughout the years in practicing and learning her craft, Frances has participated in various activities through her home community of Anzac, where she was elected Secretary for the Willow Lake Metis Nation. This role allowed her the opportunity to promote the transferring of traditional knowledge and craft through many workshops, cultural exchanges, harvesting camps, and on the land learning experiences with the community. Upon moving to Edmonton, she was happy to learn of the I.A.M. Collective and loved the array of indigenous artists that were represented in the city. Soon after moving she joined the group. At the time, I.A.M. Collective was a pilot project with the city and has just recently become its own not-for-profit, where Frances now sits as Treasurer. Frances looks forward to continuing to promote, support and participate in the advocacy and perseverance of indigenous art and culture that she sees thriving in this city.
Frances’ pieces such as moccasins, mukluks, gauntlet mitts and other Metis oriented items are made mainly of traditional and commercial tanned Moose hides, as well as beaver, fox, lynx, rabbit and various other types of furs. Some items also include her beadwork as well.