- Nation: Inuit
Born in 1963, in Sachs Harbour in Canada’s Northwest Territories, Lucy Nigiyok is known for her exceptional hand sewn creations. Lucy has lived in Ulukhaktok all of her life and has also been involved in printmaking for over 20 years.
Lucy celebrates quality in all she does. A purist, she does not own a sewing machine, favouring hand sewing, as her ancestors before her did. She enjoys seeing the final result and takes pride in each one of her stitches. Her wall hangings and prints warmly depict traditional ways of life, and always, people.
Taught by her mother, printmaker and sewer Mabel Nigiyok, Lucy has also been influenced by her peers and other family members. She continuously looks for ways to create new products that reflect her culture and her sewing skills.
Lucy has attended the Great Northern Arts Festival as well as Inuvik’s Annual Christmas Craft Fair, where her beautifully made seal skin gloves, fur mitts, Inuit dolls, tea cosies, Christmas tree toppers, wall hangings and prints can be purchased. She recently represented her region at Canada’s Northern House for NWT Arts Marketing week, where she completed this beautiful piece, titled: Weir fishing in the Summer. “In the Summer time my ancestors would fish for their Winter food supply. They never stopped hunting or gathering food. It was the only way to survive the winter”
When I was one, my family moved to Ulukhaktok, where my mother was from. I have lived here ever since.
I learned to sew when I was really small, five or six years old. I learned by watching my mother, she taught me how to sew duffle liners for kamiks. Just a little at a time, she didn’t ever rush me. As my ancestors before me, I don’t own a sewing machine. I sew all my creations by hand and waste very little material. If I can make something from it, I will. I usually make my own patterns and work mostly with sealskin, making things like wall hangings, mitts, and other crafts such as angel treetops and sealskin ookpiks (owls). I can usually get four pairs of mitts out of a sealskin pelt, and then use the left over pieces for other crafts. I also like to sew using Melton wool but sometimes it’s hard to buy locally so I order it online from Winnipeg. I like sewing for the sake of sewing and because it’s relaxing.
I’d love to see my work in a gallery one day, and I have one of my wall hangings in the Prince of Wales Heritage Center in Yellowknife. One piece I have made it all the way to Rome, Italy! I am really happy about that. It was so exciting. I never imagined anything I made would get that far.