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Judy Lafferty

Fort Good Hope
Primary Art Type: 

Artist Story

My grandmother, Elizabeth Barnaby, taught me to sew. She started me off with chain stitching. I had to help her make myself a pair of mukluks for Christmas so she started me off in October doing chain stitching. I don’t remember the colour, I just remember it was really ugly! When I got older, I sewed for my family because I had to. There were no snowmobile boots or mitts or anything like that when my kids were small. I had to make everything for them to wear outside.

Sewing is everything to me. I do my own drawings and always know what colours I want to use. I usually make five or six petals on flowers, depending on the size of flower – I don’t want it too squishy. I have been beading for many years so I know what works and what doesn’t. I draw really rough and when I bead I straighten it out or change it around. I never really stick to what I drawing but let it evolve as I go along. I know sometimes I am a bit too fussy but that is what makes my artwork unique. I can’t sew like another person and they can’t sew like me. I also have been tanning hides for a little over 40 years. It takes a lot of time to clean a hide but once that’s done I can just dry it and store and tan it whenever I have time.

Artist Bio: 

Judy Lafferty was born and resides in Fort Good Hope, NT where she masters Traditional Art. She has been an artist for over 50 years and excels in traditional hide tanning. Everyone else in her family is an artist, which is how she acquired her skills ; by watching and learning from elders. Her personal accomplishment came from the Great Northern Arts Festival where she won the People's Choice Award. She is also very experienced in Dene Cultural knowledge and Traditional life.


We regret to advise readers that Judy has passed away. Her profile remains in her memory.

Last Updated: May 4, 2021

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