November 6, 2015

Artist Profile | Maggie Thompson

We are excited to announce the addition of a new artist to our Boutique roster; her name is Maggie Thompson and she is Fond du Lac Ojibwe. She is a textile artist, and she creates timeless, cozy wearable art for her business Makwa Studio. Makwa means 'bear' in the Ojibwe language, and we love how she brings subtle cultural and design references into her work. From her Heritage Cowl to her Feather Hoodie Scarf and Mountain Peak Beanie, her latest collection is a must-have for this winter and winters to come. Scroll down to read our interview with her now.

BB: Hi Maggie! Thank you for taking the time from filling your many knitwear orders to tell us more about yourself! First off, can you tell us when you started creating knitwear and why you gravitated towards textile arts?

MT: I started knitting when I was in 4th grade at the Minnesota Waldorf School, and started my business in 2014 making hats and scarves. I find it very meditative and relaxing, I also love texture and color and learning about structures and experimenting with pattern.

BB: And textile arts is the perfect medium for that! What is the general process that you go through to create your work?

MT: I usually create a series of samples using different materials and testing out patterns, colors, and other elements. I then create a gauge swatch so that I can calculate the size of a piece for making and measuring out garments. I also like reading and researching, and I am very VERY into Pinterest for inspiration and also taking my own photographs. Lastly, I am also captivated by quotes, phrases, or lyrics that inspire most of my fine art.

BB: Inspiration can be found in all sorts of places - what is your inspiration and what are your goals as an artist?

MT: I'm inspired by my Native American heritage, skateboarding and surf culture. My mom also plays a big role and is very supportive as well. As for goals, I want to create good, quality design and be transparent in my work - meaning that I want people to easily understand and relate to my pieces, specifically with my fine art work.

BB: What does Native American fashion mean to you?

MT: Native fashion should be created by Native artisans/designers themselves or should at least be heavily involved in the design/creative process. I think that Native fashion can mean several things, being that the design is inspired by the traditional art forms/patterns but also that if it is simply designed by a Native person that it is Native Fashion even when it may not “look Native”. Since I identify as Native I believe that anything I create really should fall under as being “Native” even if I am designing stuff that’s influenced by say... skateboarding or the outdoors.

BB: Who are your favorite Native designers?

MT: I really, really like B. Yellowtail and Jamie Okuma. I also still have yet to learn about all the other Native Designers out there. They have just always struck a cord with me since I was working on my degree project in school.

BB: Besides textile arts, what else are you passionate about?

MT: I enjoy skateboarding, biking, pole dancing, knitting (by hand), traveling, and hanging out in a hammock with my man - Casey. I am also very dedicated to my work right now and working on collaboration pieces with others. I am also the new Gallery Manager for Two Rivers Gallery located in the Minneapolis American Indian Center. Music is also a huge part of my life - I grew up playing the viola and piano, while dabbling with many other instruments. My Dad was a musician as well so it is something that runs in the family. I also feel very emotionally attached to songs and associate music to different experiences and parts of my life.

Click here to shop Maggie Thompson's collection on Beyond Buckskin now! You can also find her work on her own website, Instagram, and Twitter.