Julia Pokiak-Trennert is a textile artist from Tuktoyaktuk, NT who is based out of Hay River, NT. Pokiak-Trennert works primarily as a moose hair tufter and first learned how to tuft as a child in Aklavik, NT . When she was young, she began working full time as an artist, at first managing women’s crafts and then helping to fill the tufting demand in her community as it grew. She began making her own uniquely designed pieces soon after .
Pokiak-Trenner learned more about tufting from a lady known as Grandma Laffterty . She also learned from Bella Bonnetrouge, another textile artist from Fort Providence, NT. Meeting and learning from these women inspired Pokiak-Trennert to pursue her own designs and find her own creative style .
Pokiak-Trennert produces tufted art pieces different from the typical flower motifs; she began creating her own designs that focused on plants such as morning glories and cattails. Her original designs have grown to include subjects such as drummers, turtles and mushrooms, which she has now become renowned for . Although Pokiak-Trennert focuses on moose hair tufting, she also works in beadwork and embroidery as she enjoys experimenting with different styles . Pokiak-Trennert’s designs are surprising, distinct and intricate and she always tries to push herself further . Pokiak-Trennert often combines tufting, embroidery and beadwork in a single piece to create unique texture and depth. Her choices of rarely designed birds, plants and objects make her pieces all the more vibrant and beautiful. She has recently started to focus on miniature tufted pieces and combining them with antler or wood to create an original frame .
Pokiak-Trennert is an active member of the Hay River community and leads many workshops to teach others moose hair tufting. She had her first show in Yellowknife in the 1980s and since then she has traveled to many festivals and events to showcase and sell her work, as well as lead courses in tufting across the North . Pokiak-Trennert was commissioned by the Nunavut government to tuft the Nunavut official crest that now hangs in the Nunavut Legislative Assembly .