Wall-hangings as art
Rankin Inlet artist works toward wall-hanging show to display collection

Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

RANKIN INLET (Sep 16/98) - Like a carver's soapstone, the fabric of Andrea Duffy's wall-hangings are the medium for her artistic talent.

Duffy, whose pregnant with her second child, has always wanted to be an artist. But it wasn't until a year ago when she quit her job at Nunavut Arctic College to stay home with her son Tristan, that she started making wall-hangings and started to feel as if she was fulfilling her desire to create.

"It's never been what I wanted to be -- a wall-hanging artist -- but it lets out my creativity," she said. "I've always wanted to be an artist. I've always had this deep yearning to create things -- it's always been there. This is the first step to fulfilling that part of me."

The colourful three-dimensional Northern images sewn onto duffle are so popular in Rankin Inlet where she lives that she sells them as quick as she can make them.

Rankin Inlet artist Robert Savlouskis said Duffy's work has a distinct quality to it that separates her tapestries from many made in the region.

"They have more of an artistic sensibility than other wall-hangings, which in a lot of ways are records of how things were done in the past," he said.

Savlouskis describes Duffy's wall-hangings as happy and playful with a great sense of colour and shape that would work well in children's books.

"The imagery is conducive to storybook illustrations," he said.

"I would relate to children's cut and paste -- it's a cut and paste asthetic. It lends itself to the fabric -- the brilliance of the colour and the placement of the shapes next to one another."

Duffy plans to visit Coral Harbour in the coming months to record the stories of her grandmother in hopes of putting together a children's book illustrated with her wall-hangings.

"It's not a new idea -- I've thought of it before," she said. "...to take my grandma's stories like why ravens are black...and illustrate them with my wall-hangings."

With lots of ideas for her future work, Duffy is excited about all the creative possibilities.

"I no longer have the need to create trapped inside me," she added.