Tuktoyaktuk beader won't stop until she sees J.Lo in her earrings

·2 min read
Erica Donovan is an artist from Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. Her business She Was A Free Spirit has seen a lot of success but Donovan says she won't stop until she sees Jennifer Lopez wearing her earrings.  (She Was A Free Spirit Facebook - image credit)
Erica Donovan is an artist from Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. Her business She Was A Free Spirit has seen a lot of success but Donovan says she won't stop until she sees Jennifer Lopez wearing her earrings. (She Was A Free Spirit Facebook - image credit)

Erica Donovan is a finalist in a $10,000 jewlery contest, her earrings appeared on the cover of Elle Canada magazine and she continuously welcomes demand for her work across international borders.

But Donovan has one goal in mind and she won't stop until she achieves it.

She wants to see J.Lo wear her earrings.

"Until I see Jennifer Lopez wearing my earrings that is when I'll pass it on to my daughter," she told host Wanda McLeod on Northwind.

She Was A Free Spirit Facebook
She Was A Free Spirit Facebook

The Tuktoyaktuk beader credits the 2018 Indigenous Fashion Arts festival as a launching pad for her jewlery business called She Was a Free Spirit – a brand named for Donovan's mother, Tootsie Lugt.

The festival helped her connect with other artists and tap into a network of Indigenous artists, she said.

"That whole experience just changed my creative world," said Donovan.

Since then, Donovan has been featured on multiple websites, worked with influencers and has become a vendor with Simons.

One of her pieces is currently competing against 22 other finalists to win $10,000 in a contest on Simon's website.

Donovan's piece is a pair of earrings she calls Tuktoyaktuk sky, based on a photo from an RCMP officer formerly stationed in the northern hamlet.

She Was A Free Spirit Facebook
She Was A Free Spirit Facebook

Through an affiliation with Proudly Indigenous Crafts and Design, Donovan has been able to connect with influencers, one of whom was photographed wearing her jewlery on the cover of Elle Canada magazine.

"I grew up reading Elle and looking at all the models and all the pretty clothes, so to see my own earrings in there, it was like 'wow'," Donovan said.

She continues to work her 9 to 5 day job, but fills all her free time with crafting.

She learnt her skills from a workshop with the Great Northern Arts Festival and realized she had a gift.

For anyone new to crafting, Donovan says to stick with it and enjoy the good feeling of making others feel good.

If you're passionate, work hard and put "good vibes into those pieces," people are going to see that, she said.

"To create is a beautiful thing, it's healing, it's a positive, it's like putting a piece of yourself out there in the world," she said.

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