Shirlee is from the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and is a member of the Wolf Clan. Originally from Old Crow, Yukon, she has lived in Whitehorse, Yukon most of her life.
When she was six, Shirlee’s maternal grandmother taught her the art of beadwork. Then, beading was a way of life for Gwitchin women and girls, and was almost like a competition to see who could make the most colourful, beautiful work. The women in Frost’s family were among the best and were well known for their exquisite beadwork.
During summer months Shirlee studied nature, and in the long and cold winter, she would bring the flowers back to life with her art. The traditional techniques and floral patterns that her grandmother and mother passed on to her became the foundation for Frost’s colourful, 3-dimensional contemporary beadwork. It was many years before Frost gained the confidence to share her beadwork with others.
Today, her work is very well received by her community and beyond. Her beading is included in the Canada Council Art Bank collection in Ottawa, Ontario; was featured in ‘Arts and Crafts Canada’ magazine; and was chosen for the cover of the NorthwesTel 2005 phonebook, for Yukon and Northern British Columbia. By teaching beading and the traditional ways of work, Shirlee intends to pass her art and culture on. She feels her art reflects who she is and hopes that it will honour and respect the teachings of her grandmothers.
Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association
1-1109 Front Street (White Pass Building)
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A-5G4