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.