I have lived in Ulukhaktok most of my life. I come from an artistic family – many of us carve, sew and make prints. I grew up watching both of my parents make art for extra money. My mom sewed for the Co-op and my dad would carve when he wasn’t out hunting on the land. Raising my own family, I kept the traditional activity of sewing alive by making things for my kids, my husband and myself.
When I retired from the school in 2001, I had a lot more time on my hands. So instead of just sitting there and twiddling my thumbs, I sewed more. It was mostly a past time for long winter evenings but people started asking me to make things for them, so now I create art for everyone who is interested.
The clothing that was made long ago has always fascinated me. You hardly ever see those styles and materials now. I love looking at the old clothing patterns – the way they used to sew with the limited tools they had. It is very impressive and inspirational.
My creative side is coming out more now that I have the time. I used to always stick to the same patterns and designs, but now I try to make things a bit different. Sometimes I even have two or three projects on the go. I like to crochet in the summer and then in the winter, I go back to sewing sealskin. We still live off the land quite a bit, but we do have to buy food from the northern store, which is very expensive. Income from my art definitely helps.