By: Aija Aiofe Komangapik
Working with Elisapee on my seal project was a pleasant experience and one I hope to do again.
Neither of us knew what we were doing when I first ended up in her kitchen. All I brought was the materials and a rough sketch of what I had envisioned (a seal plush with a velcro belly, to demonstrate the organs of a seal for potential young hunters. With a lot of shrugging, laughing and broken Inuktitut on my end, we cut and stitched out a pattern we both thought would work with my little sketch.
Elisapee sewed with precision while I watched. In only 3 hours we went from sketch, to skin. All while she told me little tidbits of her life. Truly amazing was her work.
Here it was, cleanly stitched and exactly what I wanted. Months of worrying and fiddling with my borrowed sewing machine, and here it was.
Those 3 hours taught me that I should not think, just do. Thinking too hard is a detriment to innovation. Watching as she cut and stitched without worry while expecting me to watch over her shoulder was pleasant. Not like my professors or my teachers in the past. It was a learning unburdened by constantly having to ask questions and be directed on and explain each small little detail. It was about watching, and emulating in the future.
I’m very thankful for the chance I got to learn with her and the mental tools she gave me for this project. My hope is that this doll becomes useful equipment for young aspiring hunters to learn basic seal anatomy.