Over the course of four months, two jewellers in separate countries worked together to create something beautiful.
Levi Mequ, a Kalaaleq artist from Ilulissat, Greenland, who now lives in the United Kingdom, and Sakkataaq Zawadski, who is based out of Kangiqliniq (Rankin Inlet), NU, were paired to collaborate remotely on several beaded earrings, working first through emails and phone calls before exchanging their creations by mail. Each artist was tasked with creating the beginning of a beaded pair of earrings, which was then mailed out to the other artist for completion, bringing together the work of both artists in each pair.
Here we trace the journey of the Unnukkut pair—Unnukkut meaning “during the night”—from inception to completion as it passed between these two talented artists across the sea.
“Starting my initial designs, I wanted to offer something elegant, so I chose a blue and gold palette that I knew would work well.”
“As with most of my earrings I drew out the idea digitally, but in this case drawing out a few different variations that could complement each other when used together.”
“I followed this pattern only loosely in beading, adjusting to create a contrast and balance of colour that I was more happy with.”
“I wanted to make a pair of earrings that look like sisters, not twins. To add to Levi’s beaded pieces, I embroidered beads around a small acrylic gold centre. As Levi had brick stitched small pieces and had made small fringe pieces, I felt the embroidery would be a nice little contrast.”
“For the other side of the pair I beaded around a small lapis lazuli gem with delica beads and paired them with a small white brick stitch and half double and single brick stitch pieces that Levi created, to make an asymmetrical pair.”
“I really enjoyed working with Levi, it was a fun, new experience for me. At times this project felt like it was just a regular day-to-day creation, but most of the time it was fun and more exciting than normal because both myself and Levi have different ideas and I was excited to see what two completely different creations these would turn out to be in the end.”
See the Tuilik/Avittat Earrings
Levi Mequ is a multidisciplinary artist born in Ilulissat, Kalaallit Nunaat who now resides in the United Kingdom. They work principally with beads to create jewellery that references both traditional Kalaaleq designs and the queer community.
Sakkataaq Zawadski is a jeweller based in Kangiqliniq (Rankin Inlet), NU. She works with beads as well as natural elements like antler and fish-skin leather to create jewellery that speaks to both contemporary Inuit fashion and historical beadwork designs.
This project was made possible with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts.