Gerri Sharpe

Region: 
North Slave
Community: 
Yellowknife
Phone: 
Address: 
303 – 1200 Gitzel street
Yellowknife, NT X1A 2C6

Artist Story

I grew up in Yellowknife, Gjoa Haven, Cambridge Bay – a variety of areas in the North and some in Nova Scotia. I learned to sew from friends and community elders in Gjoa Haven. I moved to Inuvik in 1991, lived there until 2012 and now I have come full circle back to reside in Yellowknife.

I wanted my kids to have kamiks like the ones I had back home, and I couldn’t buy them here, so I made my own, and it just carried on from there. The designs, particularly the diamonds or strips on the backs of mittens, are indicative of designs from Gjoa Haven. With kamiks, the more decorative your kamiks were, the richer you were seen to be… so I aways make my kamiks with the highest quality and very elaborate!

I like to sew with sealskin. I don’t know what it is about sealskin, but I love working with it. I love the way it looks and feels. It can accommodate incredible amounts of detail – you can just keep working and working on it. I also make sheared beaver mitts, longer mitts, and beaded moosehide slippers.

In 2010, I started working with qiviut, which is the underlying firbe of the muskox. I've always admired these majestic and fierce animals that survive the harsh arctic winters. I became fascinated with qiviut and found myself buying hides from local harvesters so I could comb out the fibre, wash and spin it myself, and then crochet the warmest, most luxurious items with it. It is one of the most expensive fibres to purchase, and being able to work with it means so much to me. I love the sense of pride I get from seeing someone else wear my work, or knowing where it ended up. It’s a real compliment.

Last Updated: October 6, 2015

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