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Indigenous fabric artist encourages Victoria residents to shop local during the holidays

Deb Bell sews masks, healing scarves, change purses and more using locally purchased materials
Victoria-based fabric artist Deb Bell is dedicated to creating pieces with love and encouraging people to shop local during the holidays. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

Deb Bell puts love into every artful piece she creates – just in time for the holidays, she said.

The Victoria-based fabric artist creates intricate works year-round, but said it is especially important to shop local during times when consumption is at an all-time high.

“I like to make useful artwork,” said Bell, a member of the Kwakiutl peoples who sews her own masks, creates change purses with traditional Indigenous designs, phone cases, dolls, hats and healing scarves, among many other items requested of her.

Not only are her products sustainable, she said, they generate other local purchases.

One customer’s order of about 10 masks, for example, required Bell to shop at a local fabric store, which kept the local purchase and production cycle close to home.

She pointed to the face masks she produces using high-quality, locally bought materials.

“There are two layers of cotton, and in between the cotton is a layer of chiffon silk, which helps prevent microbial germs from spreading,” she said.

Bell said her work is inspired by her late uncle, an Indigenous painter, and by her beloved children – she also gleans inspiration from connecting spiritually to her work.

“I have to feel connected spiritually to my creations, because people can feel when something is made with love,” she said. “I have a lot of health challenges, but when I’m creating that all goes away.”

To connect with Bell call her directly at 250-385-1200 or email her at

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