Barbara Low

South Slave
Hay River

Artist Story

I am a Métis artist born and raised in the Northwest Territories. I create my artwork for an inner sense of satisfaction. Not only is it relaxing, but it gives me a great sense of accomplishment to see my projects come about. I’m inspired by nature, and try to spend as much time outdoors as possible year round. I find inspiration from the birds, trees, and animals where I live, and try to incorporate that into my crafts.

My mother and grandmother were my teachers. They sewed outerwear articles of clothing for all family members their whole lives. They were self-taught and did it without patterns. I picked up my craft from watching them and was inspired by their creations.

A lot of the things I create are traditional like northern parkas and mukluks. The style and designs I’m using are uniquely my own. I come up with new ideas that are not so traditional. They are northern, but they are used in different ways. A lot of times if I’m sewing for someone in particular, I will try to learn a bit about their lifestyle so that I can somehow incorporate that into what I’m making for them. The most satisfying thing for me is to see is the light in their eyes when they see what I’ve created.

I’d like to think that I’m carrying on a tradition in the family through my artwork, just like my mother and my grandmother. They might have sewn out of necessity, but they also sewed for the satisfaction of the craft and they were very creative in what they did. I’d like to think I’m following in their footsteps.

Artist Bio: 

Barbara Low is a retired schoolteacher who creates traditional northern garments infused with her own patterns and designs. She specializes in sewing and beading outerwear such as parkas, mukluks, and mitts.  She creates both unique and commissioned pieces for clients from her home studio in Hay River, Northwest Territories. The farthest one of her creations has been sold is England. Barbara learned to sew from her mother and grandmother, who were self-taught and created without patterns. She is inspired to create by the northern flora and fauna that surrounds her, as well as her large family of artists. Her husband, George Low, is an etched glass and stained glass artist, her son, Mike Low, is a photographer, her daughter, Sonia Campbell, is a painter, and her young grandson is a budding drawer. Barbara’s creations help her find balance in her busy life and carry on a family tradition. She aspires to create more pieces that are part of a collection and develop her skills in embroidery.

Last Updated: May 24, 2023

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