Found, Forged, and Fused is an intimate exhibition of selected works from the Yukon Permanent Art Collection. In celebration of Craft year, the exhibit is dedicated to works from the collection which focus on materials that were found, such as natural fibre, scrap metal and cultural relics. The found material takes on a new life by having artists forge the material and story by sewing, carving, and mark making. All of these aspects fused together to wonderful creations which are given a unique second life and display a colourful history of Yukon crafters throughout the years.

Image: Government of Yukon

The gallery atmosphere is enriched in the sweet smell of tanned hide which is reminiscent of grandma's house, with tables full of glass beads, and fresh bread in the oven. Immediately you are greeted by Veronica Verkley’s Landscape with Horse introducing Found, Forged, and Fused. The walls beam with words that bring you to a distinctive Yukon craft place. Within the exhibition there is no shortage of intricate bead work, exceptional sculptures made out of metal scraps, and interesting works both functional and non-functional. Walking around the exhibit you are welcomed with the smiles and warm faces from the handmade dolls of four different artists.

Image: Veronica Verkley, Landscape with Horse, found metal, plastic, wire, wood, leather, and stone, 2006. Governmet of Yukon

Annie Smith is a local craft legend. “We’d have these big motor homes driving through the village with people from France and Germany asking where Annie Smith lives”. Dianne Smith recalls of her mother’s fame status that had motivated European tourists to wander around Kwanlin Dun Village looking for her. Annie Smith’s Traditional Doll-Boy is included in the exhibition. He is standing tall with a beaded mouth and fringed clothing. The detail on the dolls mukluks does not stand short of Smith’s renowned intricacy, displaying blue glass beaded patterns.

One of the collection’s newest additions is Lena White’s Juk Juk. Lena White is originally from Quebec; she grew up in Ontario and Northern British Columbia and eventually found her way to Yukon where she learned traditional craft skills from none other than her mother in law, Annie Smith. White’s sweet dolls depict a mother and her daughter out for a dog sled ride. The group is full of small details. The mother and daughter are wearing floral printed parkas, beaded and fringed mittens, and complexly adorned mukluks. Even the sled dogs are wearing beautifully decorated harnesses with moving patterns, tassels, and small bells. The girl in her sled looks very comfy and is showing off her little puppy with a very sweet smile.

Image: Sean Smith and his daughter, Azaria, Mrs. Annie Smith, Judy Gingell, Lena White with Juk Juk. Govenrment of Yukon.

Another doll family created by Inuit artist, Jimmy Jacobson, sits wide eyed and smiling. Jacobson, who spent part of his childhood on Herschel Island in Northern Yukon, created Hunter/Father, Mother, Boy, Girl in 1973, using whalebone, antler, soapstone and fur. The whalebone provides the initial shape of the dolls bodies and creates movement within the bodies of the family. This family is intriguing with very happy faces carved from soapstone and fur decorations for clothing. 

Dolores Scheffen created the happiest doll in the gallery. Scheffen started sewing at a young age. To give you an idea at how young she started, Dolores started selling her work to tourists when she was only eight. Han Singing Doll is wearing a white leather dress ornate in pink beaded flowers and she looks like she’s having a great time dancing and singing. In her hand she’s holding pink fabric to wave and celebrate. There is so much detail in the bead work, and embroidery. Han Singing Doll is wearing a matching decorated bag, a beaded head band, adorable earrings, and a decorative sash, even her beaded boots are ornamented with fur. There’s no doubt that Scheffen has an abundance of knowledge when it comes to designing traditional Han dresses, she was taught traditional crafts by her mother Fanny DuPont, and her grandmother Annie Henry (you can also see Annie and husband Joe Henry’s bronze smiling faces by Harreson Tanner in Found, Forged, and Fused).

There is so much more to explore at Found, Forged, and Fused. Be sure not to miss this captivating exhibition of Northern crafted talent. Found, Forged and Fused is showing alongside Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 at the Yukon Arts Centre until Saturday August 29th.

Join us for Demo Days with the artists and YAC staff!

Artist Demonstrations & Talks 3:30 – 6:30pm
July 8 – Lena White
July 22 – Helen O’Connor
August 19 – Brian Walker & Ann Smith

Talk & Try with YAC Staff 1:30 – 2:30pm
July 15 – Weaving
July 29 – Beading
August 5 – Dolls
August 12 – Bookbinding


Monday to Friday: 10 am to 5 pm
Saturday: 12 pm to 5 pm
Closed Sunday
Open for theatre performances.


Cover Image: Lena White, Juk Juk, wood, sinew, hardware, cotton, stroud, beads, emboirdery thread, sealskin, muskrat, blue fox, and arctic fox furs, home tanned moose hide, thread, stuffing, minature bells and yarn, 2015. Government of Yukon.