Clara Evalik is an artist from Iqaluktuuttiaq (Cambridge Bay), NU, who works with fur and textiles to make wearable art in the form of clothing and accessories. She sells her creations on Instagram under the business Nukariit Creations, which she co-owns with daughters Traci and Shelly O’Gorman.
Evalik was taught how to sew as a child by her mother, who hand-sewed the garments for all 13 of her children during Evalik’s childhood out of necessity, to ensure they had quality clothing to survive in the Arctic cold. “I didn’t like [learning] at the time,” says Evalik, “but today I’m quite grateful.”  As a girl, Evalik was able to put those skills to use making wallhangings and sealskin ookpiks which she could sell for spending money. Today, she continues to be inspired by her mother’s dedication to making “perfect” garments that keep the wearer warm and secure, and by her father, whose love of colour in his kamiks and parkas she brings to her own work. Her favourite things to create are Mother Hubbard parkas—long coats with ruffled skirts—for little girls between one and four.
Evalik spent decades homing her sewing and hand embroidering skills while holding various positions in the Government of Nunavut, using sewing as a stress release in her day-to-day life. When she retired from the government in 2019, Evalik took on new sewing challenges. Puhitaqs, also called sunbursts, wolf fur ruffs on parkas, were always something she wanted to learn how to make, and so Evalik applied for funding through the Kitikmeot Inuit Association (KIA) to organize a workshop to bring the skill back to Iqaluktuuttiaq. Although traditional to the region, very few women in the community still knew the technique until Evalik brought an instructor from Kugluktuk, NU, to teach it—now 20-25 women know the skills and can make puhitaqs, something Evalik says has brought the community a lot of pride. The workshop is part of what Evalik sees as her practice of healing through sewing, bringing cultural and community pride by teaching skills and crafting garments that allow people to express their identity.
Following in the footsteps of her mother, Evalik taught her own daughters how to sew. When they were isolated during COVID they began making and selling kalikuks, a kind of traditional-style top for Inuit women. “It brings pride to Inuit women,” Evalik says of the business. “We really appreciate that people are very interested in and love our craft.” Although Nukariit Creations was originally formed as a sister business (nukariit means sisters in Inuktitut), Evalik later came on board to produce more kalikuks to keep up with the growing demand.
Through Nukariit Creations, Evalik has sent garments all across North America. In 2019, she was elected Vice President of Economic Development at KIA, and she currently sits on the boards of KIA, Nunasi Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council. In 2022, she was commissioned to create two garments for Governor General Mary Simon, and made her a kalikuk with delta braid to represent the braid’s importance to Evalik’s own region and to the western Arctic. “It is such a pleasure to work with my daughters,” Evalik says of her practice today, adding how inspired she is by seeing both of them and many other young women in Alaska bring contemporary colour and style to the traditional kalikuk, and watching how they experiment and try different things out with their designs. In addition to her sewing, Evalik hopes to hold more workshops in future to teach skills like delta braiding.