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Gina Neyelle

Region: 
Sahtu
Community: 
Deline
Phone: 
(867) 589-3416
Address: 
PO Box 53
Deline, NT X0E 0G0

Artist Story

When I was 16 I got married and started sewing. It was hard but I kept practicing to make it better and I just learned by myself. Now I make my own patterns and designs. It has been so long that I have been doing this and now, I can do anything.

Sometimes I just get a vision of the ideas of what to draw and I can already see the colours and design. It just comes out for me. It is very exciting for me because I don’t get bored at all and I am really just enjoying my life with my sewing. I just love my sewing.

In 2012, I decided that I would stay home and sew full time. I already have a moose hide and caribou hide so I am going to work on them, do my own scraping and work on the flesh and do my own tanning, too. I have tanned about 10 hides, which is how I get the raw materials for my sewing. Each fall, I go in bush and get rotten wood to lie on the tarp and if the hide is ready to smoke then I use it to start tanning.

Everything I do is handmade and all my threading is with sinew, which lasts longer. Whatever I do is creative and when I finish it up it always works out so nice. The best thing is seeing the finished product. It is so nice when people like it and they want to buy it right away. Even if I am still working on it, they already want to buy it. It feels good.

Artist Bio: 

“I was born in Deline, Northwest Territories, and have lived all my life here along with my husband, and two children and five grand-children. My goal is to gain more skills and work toward traditional knowledge. I am currently working for Kingland Ford as a Camp Cook. Kingland has a camp five minutes outside of Deline, and where my kitchen is setup, and cook a full day meal schedule. At a very young age, my dad gave me his strong words that neither my mom nor anyone else would help me how to sew or cut-up patterns, it was very difficult for me. I really thought about it that he was right so I started to teach myself how to sew, nobody taught me so I learned as I went. I made a beaded moose-hide jacket, slippers, mukluks, a parka, mitts, gloves, and I even fixed and tanned a moose-hide, which I heard was a tough hide to work on. After work I try to rush home just to sew. Sewing makes me relaxed and calm. I sew with my thoughts for creativity; new ideas come up for me every day. I really thank my dad for his words of wisdom, which is what I learned by and have accomplished many things in life for. I even help my friends and ladies who are willing to learn sewing.”

Last Updated: October 6, 2015

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