I make seal skins products, such as mitts, mukluks, vests, iPad cases, and ookpik. I prefer to work with natural colours when it comes to seal skin. I love harp and ringed seals, I think they are both beautiful. I sometimes use other furs for my projects, such as beaver, muskrat, fox, or wolf. I typically use cow, deer or moosehide for the palms and soles of the mitts and mukluks. I can also add embroidery to my work.
I learned to make art by joining a sewing class that was sponsored by the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation division in Sachs Harbour in 2008. I feel lucky to have acquired patterns from sewing classes or from people that have taught me in the past years. That’s what I start all my projects with. Sometimes I will make alterations to the pattern or I will create my own if needed. For example, I created a specific design for the iPad cases that I have made.
I usually work by myself, but I also really love to work alongside my mom. She helps me out a lot. Being Inuvialuk is definitely my biggest inspiration. I feel that strong connection to my culture when I’m sewing. This is definitely a passion of mine and I have the constant urge to create something. I love that it’s a really grounding practice that brings me back to my roots as an Inuvialuk woman.
I think about my Grandmothers and how they used to make clothing for their families. I think that that knowledge and way of life are passed down. I now have children and my daughter is interested in sewing – she is twelve years old and has started beading. She’s also done some projects with fur and embroidery work. I love that what she learns from me is what I learned from the women that came before me.
I definitely feel like I have expanded my sewing and beading skills throughout the years, but I also feel like there is always so much that I want to learn! In 2020, I’ve done the most sewing I’ve ever done. I’ve also become more interested in sharing and selling my work. I have been so busy because of that. What I love the most about creating art now is sharing my products with people who appreciate it. It makes me feel accomplished and lucky to be able to carry this knowledge.