Bernadette Whitbread

Beaufort Delta
P.O. Box 3
Aklavik, NT X0E 0A0

Artist Story

I make slippers, drum dance shoes and hairpins. I learned to bead with when I was sixteen. I taught myself by following my friends. I began to sew regularly when I had children. Rather than having to pay somebody to make stuff for my kids, I taught myself how to do it. That way, I could sew for them, and they’d be wearing my products.

Mostly I embroider drum dance shoes and slippers, using moosehide and fur trim – beaver, or rabbit. I’ve tried to make fur mitts, but those didn’t turn out. I like working with fur, but it’s hard for me, because I’m allergic.

I mainly embroider flowers. I look on the Internet and draw my inspiration from the different kind of flowers I can find there, from all over the world. I like to choose a design that suits the person I’m making it for. I usually make pieces with someone specific in mind. Mainly I was sewing for my family, but then someone saw my shoes and asked for a pair, and then it kept happening. I took that pricing workshop here, and we’re really ripping ourselves off, but people here think it’s too expensive! I think my work is worth it.

After being at school all day, with all the hectic and the paperwork, you come home and sew and it relaxes you. I’m so busy taking care of everybody, it’s hard to find time for myself. With sewing, you don’t have to think of things, you just think of your stitch.

Last Updated: June 6, 2019

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