Arctic Circle

7652AFA0-2529-4F17-9AB2-40C57DF3B7A8My great-grandfather left Labrador for St. John’s. My dad traded Newfoundland for Ontario. I used to joke that I owed it to my ancestors to find warmer climes.

But my grandfather and father always tried to keep us connected to our Northern Roots. My parents got Inuit art and a Hudson’s Bay Blanket for wedding presents. And they bought handmade parkas and moosehide mitts from Labrador for my sisters and I and their grandkids too.

It’s one reason I’m attracted to jewelry by Inuit, Aleut and Yup’ik artists. Here’s my modest collection, starting with an enamel pin my the Alaskan artist Chuna McIntyre.

EAF5FE9C-4D03-4E9C-9ADB-3D7DE3078FA2Here are two pins and a pendant made of ivory and baleen. Note: these are all thrift shop finds so I can’t tell you who made them or where. They were probably all created for either the tourist trade or the co-op workshops which sold these crafts down south. I do know that the pendant in the middle represents a harpoon tip.

A0C3D29F-0790-44E8-BC13-82F64CF6E596And these earrings depict Ulus — the traditional all-purpose Inuit women’s knife. My dad gave me one. It is excellent for cutting cheese.

9FD064B2-5606-472E-9E5E-C76B50F8D3C5This three rings are also carved from (probably) mammoth ivory. I love all things animal and here we have a walrus, two polar bears and a seal. If I ever get back to taking silver smithing courses, I will reset the broken one.