I initially moved to Dawson in 1978, planning to find some work in a gold mine. However, when that fell through I soon got another opportunity to move to Inuvik and that was the beginning of my life in the North. Throughout the following years, I got to see nature first hand – whether from the seat of a snowmobile or from a boat – and all those experiences gave me tremendous inspiration. I am also very thankful to have been surrounded by art throughout my life and to have been encouraged by amazing northern artists and mentors.
Making art is exhilarating to me, it gives me a sense of purpose and it makes me feel like I have something to offer. When I was a child, going through school was challenging and I always thought I wasn’t good enough, but now I know that art is something that I can shine at. I have always wanted to keep pushing the envelop: my first ring was square, and my first sculpture of a bird looked like an airplane: it’s been a progression ever since! Now, I can do most everything from rings, to pendants, to earrings, to sculptures and carvings. I also free draw everything, so each piece I create is unique.
When I eventually decided to focus my energy on jewelry making, I enrolled in a two-year Jewelry Metal Work course at Arctic College, where I learned how to work with metals and organics. That experience helped me develop my own style. Nature is central to my art and my inspiration mainly comes from the materials that I use. There is so much to play with in nature! I look at metals, I look at organics, and they all speak in their own way. That is how I create.
In my artwork, I love to be different and I like to think outside the box. I love the fact that I can take something from nature and modify it so it becomes something that people want to wear. I really care about what I do and I always hope people can see where my inspiration came from. I also truly appreciate learning from the people I encounter along the way. It’s always nice to collaborate and share.