Destiny Seymour is an Anishinaabe interior designer from Peguis First Nation in Manitoba and currently resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After graduating with her master’s degree in Interior Design from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba, she worked at an architecture firm in Winnipeg for 10 years. In 2016, she started her own business designing artisan textiles that were inspired by local Manitoban Indigenous Peoples and their history. Destiny is passionate about using her talent to respectfully reflect local Indigenous cultures & identity within interior design.
In 2021, SchoolBOX reached out to Destiny to design drum stools for a library project at the Gaagagekiizhik & Bimose school in Kenora, Ontario. The drum stools were an important piece of the project, as the designs reflected the Anishinaabe culture of the students at the school while partnering with a local Anishinaabe artist.
We interviewed Destiny about her roots, her art, and the importance of her culture being represented through interior design.
How and when did you begin creating art?
I have always loved creating art from an early age. Art kept me company. I grew up playing in my mom’s hair salon and to keep me busy she had a room in the back full of art supplies. She also made star blankets and would let me play around with all the remnants to make something new out of them. She gave me freedom to make new recipes in the kitchen and didn’t care if things didn’t turn out perfect. I love the encouragement she gave. When I started wanting to create my own designs I remembered that you don’t want to strive for perfection when learning new crafts. You need to get messy and try to enjoy the process. That is how I came to love textile design.
Your artwork and designs beautifully reflect Anishinaabe culture, why is it important to you that this younger generation of Indigenous youth/children see their culture reflected in art and interior design?
I believe that seeing other Indigenous designers and designs in magazines, in school, and in homes has a huge impact on Indigenous youth. We are celebrating our culture as it is evolving. Our culture is no longer just sitting in museums. It is alive and all around us. I remember searching for Indigenous interior designers and Indigenous designed home decor products when I was working on my Master’s degree. I couldn’t find any. It was very challenging. Becoming a mother had a big impact on me. I wanted my children to feel proud of where they came from and their history. I am also very proud of my parents for surviving all the hardships and racism they faced. They inspire a lot of my work that I do today.
Do you have any words of insight into the message of the drum stools you’ve created? What is significant about the drum stool in Anishinaabe culture?
The first drum stool that I ever designed was for a large lobby in a new elementary school. I wanted a stool that could be pushed easily by children. I wanted it to be durable so I added the wood top. I also wanted the fabric to be a recognizable wool blanket. I loved that it referenced our hand drums which gives us the heartbeat of Mother Earth. For the first few years I was sourcing wool blankets from Pendelton and Eighth Generation. Even though the designs were beautiful, they did not represent the Indigenous people from the Manitoba/Ontario regions. I started making my own fabrics to wrap my stools. I can’t wait to grow this collection.
Is there any advice you would give to this younger generation of Indigenous youth as they pursue their educational goals and dreams?
My key advice is to celebrate being different. Our story and our connection to our communities is what makes us special. We all have unique gifts. Yes, it also takes hard work but it’s so exciting creating the life that you love.
Thank you to Destiny for sitting down with us and sharing your heart behind your craft! SchoolBOX is grateful to have collaborated with Destiny and have her beautiful drum stools in the Gaagagekiizhik and Bimose School Library. We are inspired by leaders like Destiny who encourage Indigenous youth to embrace their culture and pursue their creative passions and dreams!