Meet Brenda Lee Asp:
The artist behind a Canadian brand who has inspired the modern woman to look and feel confident!
Born and raised in the Yukon; Brenda’s diverse ancestral background consists of Athabascan and Tlingit cultures. She is a Northern Tutchone First Nation from Northwest Yukon, Tahltan from Northern BC and is also a member of the Crow Clan.
Brenda began her calling as an artist at a very young age and was inspired by several women of strength from her family. Her mother, numerous aunts and grandmothers Thelma Norby (nee Edzerza), and Agnes Nieman (Nee Jack) has motivated her to be the woman that she is right now.
Growing up she was exposed to traditional sophisticated art of hand sewing leather work, various concepts of print design, precision & machine operation as well as traditional beading of her First Nation people. She has incorporated her cultural teachings into a viable and meaningful business platform and accessory line using her designs on men’s ties, ladies scarves, earrings, and “buffs”. Her clothing and accessories is also reflection of her passion for intricate flowers, symbols and mixing coloured beads.
All of these pieces has been showcased in the following events in across North America:
- Couture Fashion Week, Manhattan New York
- National Aboriginal Fashion Week, Saskatoon
- Western Canada Fashion Week, Edmonton
- Sea Alaska Heritage - Tinaa Art Auction, Juneau, AK
- Adaka Cultural Festival, Whitehorse.
Brenda’s advocacy is to encourage a cultural connection and awareness from the traditional skills of her ancestors and reconnect them with our hands. She continues to pass on her knowledge and skills in educational workshops across Yukon where she provides hands on learning experience through self creation and design.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about creating unique pieces that empowers people to express themselves positively and confidently!
How did you start your journey?
The artist in me has been cultivated at a very young age which was inspired by strong women in my life, my paternal and maternal grandmothers. One was a renowned beader and traditional artist; the other owned a successful business with sewing machines and small manufacturing of garments.
As I grew, so did my curiosity about the world. After I graduated from high school, I moved on to more classroom and textbook style education. This was really not for me and I came to a realization that I am not reaching my full potential, I NEED CHANGE! I felt there was something more the world has to offer and I had to do something about it. In 2009, I enrolled in Fashion design school, began an exciting journey of creating with my hands and never looked back since then.
Models wearing Brenda Lee Asp designs in the Western Canada Fashion Week
What inspires you?
There are a lot of things that inspire me- prints, colour, being around other artists and seeing how excited my customers get when they see my pieces. There is nothing more rewarding than helping people feel great and confident with what they are wearing! it's such an incredible feeling and to me, this is very important.
What is one thing that you cannot say NO to?
Learning the history of my people and family.
What are your goals in the next 5 years?
In the next five years, I am looking forward to create a healthier balance with work and family time. As well as expanding my business knowledge and continue developing skills with jewellery design.
If a young girl comes up to you and tells you she wants to be like you when she grows up, what is your response?
Never give up on your dreams and stay true to your uniqueness in this big world.
Having a humble beginning in life, Brenda has made her journey as an artist and a designer an inspiring one through determination and perseverance while learning and growing along the way. Continue following her journey by visiting www.brendaleeasp.ca or https://www.facebook.com/BrendaLeeAsp/ Her products are also available at the Daku Cultural Center in Haines Junction, the Native Arts & Craft Shop at the Caribou Friendship Centre, Williams Lake, British Columbia.
See you out there,