I create traditional art with a contemporary twist. I like to explore what my Ancestors used to do and how they used to make things, while incorporating small modern aspects to my designs. I especially love to work with porcupine quills, beaver skin, moosehide or traditional wolf willow beads.
I’ve learned how to make art any way I could throughout my life: in school, while watching other people work, on television shows and through various books. I observe everything, and if something catches my eye, I will want to study it in order to learn how to make it. I am constantly learning, but most of all I love to look at things and let my imagination go wild!
I gather regularly in my community with a group of people interested in making art. We help each other create. We dabble in all sorts of artistic outlets, including fashion design, jewelry making, traditional cooking, and so on. We’ve been in fashion shows and we have done videos together. Some of us, called the “Leaf Hunters”, will go out in the bush and collect leaves and press them in booklets to be used in art projects later on.
Selling my art is not my main goal: I am first and foremost making art to help others unleash their creativity. I encourage the kids in our group to always have an open mind. I want them to close their eyes and to imagine what they could make from the material they are holding in their hands. I want them to notice shapes and visualize what they could become. I also love to go through magazines with them and create scrapbooks filled with ideas for new projects. When I mix both the traditional and modern worlds in my art, youth are drawn to the modern aspects and then I get the chance to explain the traditional parts to them, which usually revolve around the techniques and materials used.
I love to create anything and share my passion for art with others. Our little group helps me incorporate traditional arts into other people’s lives, which means that I get to share an essential part of who I am. Anything that the kids want to try, I will try it myself so I can teach them. If I can’t teach it myself, I will find someone that can. I am an artist, but my main purpose is to be able to share my love for creativity with the youth while keeping them interested in their culture.
Ruth was born in Aklavik, Northwest Territories. She grew up in a variety of towns in the NWT, following her father as he travelled through many northern communities for work. Inuvik was and remains her true home, having spent most of her life there. Ruth loves to use her imagination to create anything her heart desires. Through her relentless thirst for art and her teachings, she hopes to pass her passion on to anyone interested in living a more creative life.