Candace Bristow is a Copper Inuit seamstress with family roots in the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut, in the communities of Iqaluktuuttiaq (Cambridge Bay) and Kugluktuk. She is currently located in the North Slave Region (Yellowknife, NT), and specializes in moccasins, mukluks, kamiks and vests. She sells her work online under her own label, Nauttiaq Apparel.
Bristow was introduced to sewing in high school around the age of 16, when she took a liking to working with furs and hides. Much of her learning process was self-led, and in 2022 she began expanding her knowledge to include vests, purses, clutch bags, and beading. Bristow’s mother-in-law and coworkers have been mentors for her, advising her on sewing and piecing different items together and supporting her throughout her artistic journey.
Bristow was inspired to make a set of mother-daughter mukluks after seeing a similar idea on social media. “I wanted to do something for myself and especially for my daughter… she actually helped me pick the colours for the flowers,” the artist shares.  This project encouraged Bristow to learn patterns for other items like hats, moccasins, and vests.
Much of Bristow’s work features beautiful floral designs. She is inspired by flowers either in person or online; seeing the flowers sparks her vision of how she will incorporate their image into her work. Her creative process begins with considerable planning. According to Bristow, she begins by “drafting templates on paper and then transferring it to the uppers,” of the shoes before experimenting with floral motifs. In addition to floral works, Bristow has created pieces with more playful imagery, like Pokémon and Spiderman.
Bristow regularly donates her work to charitable organizations. She has provided pieces to Catherine’s Cause, a community initiative that raises money for various causes like the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Regina General Hospital in Saskatchewan. In 2022 Bristow made a pair of baby moccasins for the Canadian Coast Guard’s 60th Anniversary Time Capsule, which now resides in Hay River, NT. She hopes to contribute to more causes that help northern regions and is continuously working on new sewing projects to support her family.
This Profile was made possible through support from RBC Emerging Artists.