Private: Alice Williams

Alice Olsen Williams is renowned for her unique quilted textile works that blend expressions of Anishinaabe beliefs and ideology with reflections on contemporary social issues. Her distinctive style is grounded in the traditional skills of beadwork and sewing of the Anishinaabe people, and the unique symbols and themes of her culture. Williams’ creative vision in quilt design focuses on the central placement of animals and birds, which figure prominently in the lives of the Anishinaabeg. She also uses the beautiful floral motifs that Anishinaabe-Kwewag continue to use in their beadwork, quillwork, embroidery and other creative media. Surrounding her central designs are the conventional North American quilting blocks which were introduced by the first European Settlers and continue to be developed by contemporary quilt artisans. Williams combines the knowledge and appreciation of both her European and Anishinaabe ancestry with new materials, to syncretize wonderful expressions in cultural meaning, the healing arts and Indigenous activism.

Alice Williams was born in Trout Lake, 150 miles north of Kenora Ontario, Canada, in the traditional Anishinaabe territory of her mother’s people for millennia, long before Euro-colonization. Even as a child Alice had a delight for fabrics, creating small sewing projects that would later become her passion. She received her teaching certificate from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and taught there and at Pic Mobert First Nation before moving to Curve Lake First Nation. Alice completed her B.A. at Trent University in Peterborough, and with her discovery of the quilting process in 1980, went on to formulate the concepts which would be the basis for her distinctive style, and to master the beadwork and sewing techniques which allow her to create her meticulous hand-quilted designs. She also keeps extremely busy with her beautiful family of four children, five grandchildren and two great-grandsons.


Resource Room

Resource Room

Resource Room

May 6, 2022 to May 15, 2022

Regular Hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. Admission is by Donation.

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