Makivik adds basket-making to artists’ workshop

“First one, it’s hard — the second one, no problem”


Take about 30 artists from around Nunavik and bring them together in one place to share from each other and learn new skills: that’s the recipe for the popular artists’ workshop, which Makivik Corporation has organized for three years.

“They like to work together, to create together,” said Charles Dorais, who heads Makivik Corporation’s economic development department in Kuujjuaq.

Last month, artists met once again, this time in Kanqiqsujuaq, for sessions in carving and printmaking — and, for the first time, in basket-making.

“We wanted to do something different this year,” Dorais said. “So we decided to re-introduce basket-making, because it’s a dying art.”

Elisapie Inukpuk, an elder from Inukjuak, taught basket-making to one group while Inuk Charlie, one of Nunavut’s well-known artists, showed carvers some new techniques, and graphic artist Elizabeth Dupont worked with printmakers.

Kangiqsujuaq resident Mary Adams was one of 12 women and men who took the basket-making workshop — and she says two weeks was way two short to learn everything she wanted to about basket making from Inukpuk.

“She’s a great teacher,” Adams said.

Adams, who had tried to make baskets once before, learned how to make a basket with a design during the workshop.

“First one, it’s hard — the second one, no problem,” Adams said.

Now, she’s making more baskets and teaching her eight-year old daughter the craft at the same time.

The hardest thing? “All of it! Going outside to find the grass in winter when it’s -30.”

Funding for the annual Nunavik Artists Workshop comes from Canadian Heritage, along with help from Makivik, the Kativik Regional Government and the Kativik School Board.

At the end of this year’s workshop, participants had a feast and sale for some of the works they had produced during the workshop.

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