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.