My dad, Bobby Taylor Pokiak, was a bone carver, so I grew up around carving in Tuktoyaktuk. I started carving small things like dolphins and rings, and just kept learning. I come from a family of eight children – five of us carve. We grew up watching our parents work hard to take care of us – my mother sewed our outdoor clothes such as mukluks and parkas and my dad did the fishing, hunting and carving.
I am mainly a carver of soapstone, muskox antlers and caribou antlers but also make jewelry from muskox and caribou horn. For years, bears used to be my favourite thing to carve. I love polar bears – they’re so unique-looking and so beautiful. Now I love to carve drum-dancing ladies. The ladies I see gathered at the community dances inspire these happy and joyful scenes.
Another one of my favourite pieces to make is a lady sitting down and sewing. She’ll be holding needle and thread, with one little mukluk done and another half-done. It reminds me of my mother, staying up late into the morning sewing. I call the series of these “endless nights.” For my dad, I have a series of fishermen. These are the stories I am inspired to tell in my artwork.