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Mildred Edwards

Region: 
Inuvik Beaufort Delta
Community: 
Aklavik
Phone: 
(867) 978-2372
Address: 
P.O. Box 131
Aklavik, NT X0E 0A0

Artist Story

I’ve always loved traditional sewing, but my love for this craft grew while I attended a sewing course in Inuvik. We were there for 10 months, first spending time in and out of the bush to learn how to tan a moosehide properly. It was one of the main reasons why I had decided to take that course. We kept learning while working on other projects, and I realized that there was so much I didn’t know. It was exciting to be able to still learn so much.

I started sewing when I was young. There wasn’t much to do, so I would stay home and sew. I learned gradually, by watching my mother and replicating her work. I started with embroidery and I picked up beading as I went along. I used to live in Tuktoyaktuk a long time ago, and I would sit around at night beading for my little brothers and sisters. I used to make shoes and other items for them – and I just kept learning and practicing over the years because I love it so much.

Now, a lot of people are calling me for dresses, which I love to make. I try to create my own drawings and designs, which means I put a lot of thoughts and effort into it. I made my sister’s wedding dress and the flowers I sewed on represent her family. I wanted to make sure there was a special meaning in there for her. In my designs, I usually like to use bright colours, such as pink and green or purples and blues.

Thinking about the person I am sewing for often inspires me. I like to satisfy my customers, which is why I think about them when I design a pattern. Beading and sewing makes me happy, especially when I witness the look on people’s faces once they see what I created. If I make a mistake, I just do it over. That’s how I learned, and that is still how I work now.

Passing the information that I learn to the next generation of sewers is important to me because I don’t want this tradition to be lost. I want younger generations to keep learning how to sew so they can continue to practice this art. I’m pleased that my daughter is starting to sew. I draw uppers for her and I sew for my son, so he can go to drum dances. Hopefully one day, their family will sew as well.

Artist Bio: 

Mildred Edwards was born and raised in Aklavik, NWT.  She loves to sew for her whole family, especially for her daughter, son, sister-in-law, and grandchild. Her number one priority when creating commissioned work is to ensure that her customers are happy and satisfied with the final product. Mildred takes pride in making sure her work is done well. Mildred hopes to keep practicing her delta braid. In the meantime, she aims to keep working on her projects, big and small – such as dresses, key chains, purses, potholders and similar items.

Last Updated: June 6, 2019

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