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Julia Pokiak - Trennert

Region: 
South Slave
Community: 
Hay River
Associations: 
Phone: 
(867) 874-4230
Address: 
BOX 4411
Hay River, NT X0E1G3

Artist Story

While attending the Immaculate Conception Indian School in Aklavik, I learned the basics of moosehair tufting from Sister Beatrice Leduc. After my marriage, I left the delta region and moved to Fort Simpson, NT where I began to notice beautiful tuftings by a renowned tufter known as Grandma Lafferty. I received a bag of moosehair from Emily George so I could practice tufting. That was the beginning of a long learning curve for me.

After moving 25 miles south of Fort Providence, I would handle other women’s crafts, and when the demand for tuftings exceeded the products, I started tufting to fill the gap. It was at this time that I met Bella Bonnetrouge, another world renowned tufter. Mrs. Lafferty and Mrs. Bonnetrouge’s works of art inspired me to be creative and find my own unique style.

I had my first public show in Yellowknife in l980’s and since then I have taken part in numerous festivals to promote my work. In recent years, I have concentrated on creating miniature tuftings and I’m happy to say they are well received and hang in homes all over the world.

To keep my creativity flowing, I have branched out in beadwork and embroidery. I get my inspiration from traditional clothing and also from other artists. I love experimenting with different styles and I never start a project until I have a mental image of it. I love the challenge of bringing my mental image to reality.

Artist Bio: 

Julia Pokiak Trennert first learned the art of moose and caribou hair tufting as a little girl in Aklavik. A Metis woman, Mrs. Boniface Lafferty, who applied indigenous materials (moose hair) to a European technique (wool punchwork), is attributed with first developing the tufting art form at around the time of WWI. Mrs. Lafferty passed on the skill to her daughter-in-law Celine Lafferty who in turn showed the technique to Sister Beatrice Leduc, a Grey Nun. The Grey Nuns disseminated the technique throughout the western Arctic in the 20th century, including Aklavik where Julia Pokiak was an apt pupil. Julia spent most of her adult life in the South Slave region where she and her husband Max ran a busy gas station and restaurant just south of the Mackenzie River crossing and raised a family. Many Yellowknifers will remember Pineview as a favoured stop where Julia, and later her daughter Brendalynn "Inuk", sold their unique tuftings. Not content to produce the typical flower motifs, Julia was soon creating her own variations on the flower designs such as morning glories and cattails. Her original images such as drummers, turtles and mushrooms have become famous across the Territory. Julia was commissioned by the Nunavut government to tuft the Nunavut official crest that now hangs in the Nunavut Legislative Assembly. Julia gives free rein to her imagination and never lets the constraints of "tradition" stop her from creating her amazing and surprising images. Julia's latest inspiration is coming from nature. She is combining her designs with antler and wood to create an original frame for her miniature works

Last Updated: October 6, 2015

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