Elizabeth Arey

Elizabeth Arey first learned to sew in her childhood from her mother, working from patterns that had been passed down for generations. Based in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, Arey now owns a small business, Arctic Ocean Mocs, where she creates sealskin slippers by hand with intricately beaded uppers. While the original pattern for the slippers, passed down to her from her Nanuk, only used to go up to a size 8, Arey now sews up to a size 13.

A pivotal moment in Arey’s sewing career happened at the age of 19, when she created a pair of caribou leg mukluks, a notoriously challenging project that leaves no room for wasted furs.

“That gave me a new appreciation for my ancestors,” she recalls, “Those mukluks must have taken me a whole month, but my ancestors had to make them every season for every family member.” [1]

While Arey can now sew a pair of sealskin slippers in just a few hours, she also dedicates considerable time and practice to embellishing the uppers with a full cover of beadwork. Typically focusing on floral patterns, she draws inspiration from the landscape around her, as well from gardening and nature books.

About Elizabeth Arey

Medium:

Beadwork, Seal Skin, Textile

Artistic Community:

Tuktuyaaqtuuq (Tuktoyaktuk), NT

Date of Birth:

Artists may have multiple birth years listed as a result of when and where they were born. For example, an artist born in the early twentieth century in a camp outside of a community centre may not know/have known their exact date of birth and identified different years.

1981