Métis owner and creator shares her Métis culture and much more 

By Chadd Cawson Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Métis artist and business owner, Kate Hagstrom, has always prided herself on creating one-of-a-kind items. She owns and operates  Wild and Untamed Studio in Fairmont Hot Springs.  About the business that she has been running in one form or another since 1991, Hagstrom said, “I have changed names throughout the years to reflect my business as it has morphed a few times throughout the years. I`m a wild creature and being born in July, a Leo, I like to adventure travel and roam and meet so many artists all over the world that inspire my creativity.”

Chicago-born Hagstrom saw the sights throughout western Canada and  created her art in Vancouver, Penticton, Kelowna, and Calgary before calling Fairmont home in 2015. Like most true artists, Hagstrom admits she jumps from one creative idea to another. 

These unique Hudson Bay coloured mug coasters are just one many of Kate’s creations. Photo by Chadd Cawson

“Some of my projects are better suited for fall and winter, like weaving and felting, where sun painting and sublimation printing do better in the spring and summer months,” said Hagstrom. “Since moving to Fairmont, I have immersed myself in my Metis heritage and have woven some beautiful shawls and scarves. Creating unique ribbon skirts and leather crafting medicine bags.”

Hagstrom said alongside creating, genealogy is her other greatest passion. Her mother’s family dates back to the Filles du Marinier and Filles du Roi and is one of the founding families of Canada. Upon their migration into the Red River Valley, Duck Lake, and the Prince Albert area in the early 1800’s, Hagstom would read stories from her Métis great great grandmother. 

“I would look at old family photos of homesteads and read about the horrors and sorrows of my family, then being so ashamed for being Indigenous, for being Métis. I’m changing that,” said Hagstrom. “I’m making my ancestors proud. I will keep the knowledge going, I will keep the genealogy flowing.”

The creation of her art is also ever-flowing. Sublimation printing keeps her busy as she does a lot of local custom orders especially t-shirts and mugs. She has recently found new inspiration in designing ribbon skirts. 

“They are very unique and truly one of a kind,” said Hagstrom. “I’m inspired by old photographs. One skirt I am working on right now, I have sublimated old family photos of farm life, my Métis ancestors, and their homesteads onto material that I will add to a ribbon skirt. I am creating leather card wallets, laser engraving red river carts, Louis Riel, and with much more Indigenous artwork on them.”

Hagstrom loves what she does and has a few that are already supporting and selling her products. “My favorite part of running my business here, is repeat business,” said Hagstrom “Networking, people don’t hesitate to share my information with others. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising. It’s free and you know that people admire your work and want to spread the goodness. Creating and making artwork, what more could I ask for?”

“I would hope people appreciate my whimsical handmade products, one-of-a-kind, and truly unique, gifts,” said Hagstrom. “My Indigenous creations, I would hope that whoever purchases them takes pride in knowing that they are providing me with a way of sharing my Métis culture.”