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Matthew Nuqingaq offers a big smile and shows off his polar bear claw necklace

(Post 2 of 4)

The first thing I noticed at the Baffin Deli was this necklace, and then the guy wearing it.

I stopped to ask him about it, only to find out that he is Matthew Nuqingaq, the guy I was looking for. He brought me back here, to his studio. Notice the homemade fume hood (back right) fashioned from the nose of an airplane.

Matthew is a well known jeweler; “I’m the metal guy,” he says. His necklace is silver he designed to hold a polar bear claw. (He gets them from hunters for about $30 each.) “As a kid, I thought I was an artist,” he told me. As an adult, he started taking fine arts classes at Arctic College, “And then I took another one, and another one, and another one . . . I started teaching kindergarten so I could go to college half time.” Once he had a diploma in hand, he quit teaching in favour of jewellery and art. “I was in love with it so much, I didn’t see myself doing anything else.” Matthew had the honour of working with five other Nunavut artists on the territory’s ceremonial mace. And he mentors others artists now, like @inuk.barbie.

See the next post.

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