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Jennifer Lam

Region: 
Inuvik Beaufort Delta
Community: 
Inuvik
Phone: 
(867) 678-5886
Address: 
24 Tuma Drive
P.O Box 2208
Inuvik, NT X0E 0T0

Artist Story

I learned how to knit when I was a child. My mom taught me how to knit as an effort to keep me out of trouble, and it kind of worked! So I knitted from a very young age.  I still do a lot of knitting for my family. My husband goes off hunting when it’s -45. He’d better have a good toque on his head!

I also do other fibre arts. I do a little felting, and spin my own fibres – people call it ‘art yarn.’ I mainly spin alpaca, qiviut, and silk. I do a lot of my own dying, and have been playing around with natural dyes, and lichen.

A large part of my inspiration is from my environment. How can you drive down the Dempster Highway during the changing of the colours and not want to create something? How can you step onto the Mackenzie River in the beginning of spring, when the sun first comes out and everything’s all crisp and clear, and not want to make something to express the wonder of all that?

I’m overwhelmed by the amount of talent up here. Everybody is an artist up here, and they don’t even call themselves artists! I’d love to sit down with people like Lena Wolki and Edith Haogak and do a collaborative piece together. I would like to replicate one of Edith’s mukluks in knitted form, but still incorporate some of her embroidery skills, or to figure out how to replicate beading in knitted form. That to me is a dream: to be able to work with those ladies and be able to create something that is still traditional, but new. 

Artist Bio: 

Jennifer Lam is an established knitter and spinner originally from the Vancouver/Vancouver Island area. Over the decades, she has researched and studied a range of textile traditions from the Coast Salish Cowichan sweaters to various European knitting cultures and Andean textile cultures. Through the years, she’s been an active member of textile guilds and artist groups in BC. Currently, she is living in Inuvik where she sits on the board of directors for the Great Northern Arts Society and is a member of the Inuvik Quilting Guild. She is also a founding member and director of the Inuvik Qayaq Club. Her work ranges from traditional knitted pieces to more unconventional and experimental textile installations. Her approach brings together urban and organic elements and is inspired from a range of styles from Japanese anime to the Steampunk movement to her own Asian roots. She is a proud advocate of using local resources and is currently exploring the uses for qiviut and other Northern fibres in her pieces. Most recently, her work has been displayed at the Great Northern Arts Festival and in a trio-artist show at Inuvik’s Aurora College.

Last Updated: October 6, 2015

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