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A ribbon skirt, hand-made by Alexa Lizotte, hangs from a clothesline in her backyard in Burnaby, B.C. in early February.Marissa Tiel/The Globe and Mail

Alexa Lizotte is on a mission to reconnect with her culture.

A Métis woman whose father is from North Vermilion Settlement, Alta., she has taken up beadwork and sewing as a way of feeling closer to her family and culture. Ms. Lizotte, 26, specializes in beading ribbon skirt earrings as well as sewing the garment itself. Recently, she’s taken on a new challenge: creating a ribbon skirt using only natural materials.

She starts with a piece of raw organic cotton, treating it in a boiling bath of vinegar solution to help the colour last longer. She uses natural materials such as cedar bark and turmeric to create vibrant colours on the fabric and cotton twill ribbons. The cedar bark is expected to make a shade of light red, while the turmeric creates a bright mustard-like shade.

The learning curve has been steep.

“I’m still trying to figure everything out,” she says. “It’s hard without having all that ancestral knowledge that I wish I had, like I wish I knew more stories and I wish I knew how they helped the dye stay and what they used. But I don’t have that and so I’m just kind of trying to reclaim it all on my own.

“It is tough, but it makes me happy trying to reclaim that.”

Lizotte, who specializes in beading ribbon skirt earrings as well, sews one of the ribbons onto the main fabric.Marissa Tiel/The Globe and Mail

The skirt and ribbons are cotton and were dyed using spices and produce. Ms. Lizotte estimates it takes “about a week between gathering the dyeing materials, prepping the cotton, letting the cotton soak, drying the cotton, and sewing it together.”

Here, in the third step of the process, Lizotte dips fabric into a container filled with water and cedar bark. She expects the fabric will be dyed a shade of light red.Marissa Tiel/The Globe and Mail

Lizotte dips the fabric into a pot containing solution used to treat the fabric so that the dye can take to it better.Marissa Tiel/The Globe and Mail

Lizotte prepares a ribbon dyed yellow with turmeric for sewing to a piece of fabric dyed pink with purple cauliflower and beet.Marissa Tiel/The Glboe and Mail

Lizotte holds up a piece of her hand-made ribbon skirt.Marissa Tiel/The Globe and Mail

Lizotte prepares the cedar bark solution.Marissa Tiel/The Globe and Mail