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Fabric art murals part of travelling promotional tour

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Max-Wear’s Ed Wesley highlights his partner Maxine Wesley’s fabric art murals at their Wolf Tracks store in Thunder Bay.

By Rick Garrick

NIPISSING FIRST NATION — Max-Wear owners Ed and Maxine Wesley recently highlighted their fabric art murals at the Anishinabek Nation office in Nipissing during their promotional tour to Timmins, Témiscaming, Quebec, Sault Ste. Marie, Orillia, and other locations.

“I told them I was promoting my wife’s art, they were very friendly so they let me set up for about 40 minutes,” says Ed, who does sales and marketing for Max-Wear and Wolf Tracks in Thunder Bay. “The staff had a good chance to look at them and took pictures. I left business cards, if they wanted to purchase they could just e-mail me, call me, or text me.”

Ed says he and Maxine, who are both Ginoogaming citizens, were doing an artist tour with the murals that she creates.

“Each design is different,” Ed says. “We do family themes, some of them are animal clans, and sometimes we do corporate orders with logos.”

Ed says they initially started up the Max-Wear business in the late 1980s with a line of wedding gowns, blankets, hoodies, and t-shirts before adding a line of polar fleece hoodies in the mid-1990s.

“[Maxine] started by doing wedding gowns and doing blankets,” Ed says. “And then it evolved into making polar fleece hoodies. My daughter had gone to college in London, Ontario, and I asked her what’s the fashion trend there and she said they’re selling a lot of polar fleece hoodies. So we decided we were going to start our own polar fleece designs and that’s where it started.”

Ed says he also started marketing his own line of t-shirts and hoodies with his designs in the 1980s.

“We branded our designs for people to start to really know who we are,” Ed says, noting that they opened the Wolf Tracks store in the late 1990s. “We specialize in making pillows or cushions with our own designs. My son mostly takes care of the sales of the hoodies and t-shirts in the store and he’s coming up with his own designs, too.”

Ed says their murals have been bought for use in offices and health centres.

“We get a lot of orders from First Nations up north, the Sioux Lookout area, and also we’ve expanded to Quebec,” Ed says, adding that they have also sold their murals in the Maritime provinces as well as in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. “They’ve added to their decor with our murals, it gives them that feeling that they’re proud of their heritage. One school up north bought about four or six pieces last year for their new school, it makes a difference in their building.”

Ed says they have also used social media to reach out to potential customers over the past few years.

“During COVID, that was the only way we survived was through social media,” Ed says. “We had to e-mail pictures, a lot of it [was] on Facebook, so we get a lot of good response from there, too.”

Ed says his son and his son’s partner, Peter and Candace Wesley, and his daughter Joan Esquega are getting more involved with the Wolf Tracks store, which allows him and Maxine to focus more on the promotional tours for the murals.

“It gives us more time to take our time travelling, meeting new customers, doing business, a little bit of resting, travelling a bit,” Ed says.

Ed says they moved the Wolf Tracks store from Bay Street to the current location on Simpson Street about 10 years ago.

“We like it, there’s lots of room,” Ed says.

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Anishinabek News

Lead Facilitator – Circle Process

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ANISHINABEK NATION “To give a voice to the vision of the Anishinabek Nation and to preserve  Anishinaabe Bimaadziwin while advancing our goal of Nationhood.” Employment Opportunity LEAD FACILITATOR – CIRCLE […]

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Rice will serve as a mentor for program featuring budding Indigenous writers

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By Sam Laskaris SUDBURY – When Anishinabek writer Waubgeshig Rice found out he had a chance to serve as a mentor for young Indigenous writers he jumped at the opportunity. […]

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Inherent rights highlighted at the 8th annual Anishinabek Nation Lands and Resources Forum

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By Kelly Anne Smith NORTH BAY— Concerns of climate change, extreme mining claims, and the health of the Great Lakes were heard over three days at the 8th annual Anishinabek […]

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