Elisapee Tatigat Avingaq is an Iqaluit, NU-based jeweller known for her unique fish leather and naulaq (white, shaved sealskin leather) creations, while also working with materials such as furs, beads, embroidery thread and even bird feet. Selling through the digital marketplace, such as on her Instagram page, Avingaq’s designs are highly sought-after and are crafted in a wide variety of inventive shapes and colours, often inspired by the shape of knives and uluit. Although her fish leather earrings are among her best-known products, she is also a well-practiced beader and crochet artist capable of creating intricate earrings and doilies in colourful beaded patterns.
A seamstress as well as a jeweller, Avingaq initially learned to sew from her mother, Susan Avingaq, whom she appeared alongside on the cover of the 1995 “Inuit Art World” issue of the “Inuit Art Quarterly” and credits as being her inspiration.
“When I was about 6 or 7, I was colouring in a colouring book.” She reflects, “My mother had colouring books for me my whole childhood. There was this one page that had a mark across it and I had asked her if I could rip it out and start on the next clean page, but she convinced me that if I coloured it anyway even though it was marked, that it would be just as beautiful as the other ones. So, I arranged the colours in a way they looked nice together and learned that we can always make use of what we have and make things beautiful if we put the effort in.” 
Encouraged by both of her parents to learn to sew, Avingaq honed her craft well into adulthood when she began to develop her own style of amautis following the birth of her first son. She now continues to develop her multidisciplinary skillset by taking on challenging projects such as crafting bags made from eider duck feet.
Elisapee Tatigat Avingaq
Fish Leather and Beaded Earrings (2020)
© the Artist