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Meet Veronica Puskas, Ontario Quilter

I meet the  most interesting people in class.   Such was the case when I was teaching at Quilt Canada in St. Catharine’s, Ontario.  Veronica Puskas was my assistant in class and what an assistant she was!   We hit it off immediately and, although I often lack a helper in class, Veronica soon became indispensable.  During breaks in the day, I learned more about this remarkable woman.

Pillars of Strength by Veronica Puskas

Pillars of Strength by Veronica Puskas

A former resident of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories who grew up in Nunavut’s Kivalliq region,Veronica won the award for Excellence in Work by a first-time exhibitor award at Quilt Canada’s national juried show.   I saw her amazing quilt in the exhibit and she later send me a photo.  Veronica has this to say of  “Pillars of Strength”,  I designed it from a 1950 photograph of my Mom and Gramma, taken near Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.  It shows the difference in Inuit traditional clothing between a married woman and a teen-ager.  Notice the flaps.   After fusing the applique to the quilt top, I did some thread painting on it as well.” CBC North and Nunavut News published an article about Veronica and her quilt, rich in the cultural heritage of her family.

Although I have only been home from Quilt Canada for about a month, Veronica has completed a quilt that she had started earlier but wasn’t satisfied with.  It also has strong cultural significance, “Brian’s Kite.”

Brian's Kite, by Veronica Puskas

Brian’s Kite, by Veronica Puskas

She says, “It is in abstract form but my inspiration of the flying geese and mountains came from your quilts.  I took photos of Brian kite-skiing on Great Slave Lake 3 years back.  I incorporated my Inuk-ness (if there is such a word) – strip of sealskin, an orphaned ivory/steel ulu earring, stylized Inukshuk, and machine quilted an igloo.”

Brian's Kite - Detail View

Brian’s Kite – Detail View

The detail image above shows the sealskin trim, the ulu, and the Inukshuk.  An Inukshuk is a stone landmark or cairn built by humans, used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other peoples that travel the Arctic region of North America. These structures are found from Alaska to Greenland.

Inukshuk from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Inukshuk from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Above is a small Inukshuk that I purchased when I was teaching in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, several years ago.  I fell in love with the remote sub-Arctic landscape, beginning to understand the challenges of traversing the mostly featureless landscape.

Sub-Arctic landscape of Northwest Territories

Sub-Arctic landscape of Northwest Territories

I was told that one should look through the openings of in the Inukshuk to see the next cairn in the trail.  It left me with wonderful memories of a beautiful land and my new friend, Veronia Puskas.



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