Buy Tickets
  • Exhibition
  • Visual Arts

Dintth’in: Fire Starter by Kaylyn Baker

  • Past exhibition


September 9 - November 4, 2022

Dintth’in: Fire Starter is my collection of poetry with corresponding beadwork that blends traditional patterns with contemporary designs while experiencing ASMR sounds of creating each work all based on seasons. Each season has two looks and touches in some aspect either a memory from my youth, a person, or story.

The artwork created was my exploration of the term ‘wearable art’. I chose the name Dintth’in because it is the Northern Tutchone word for the dry brush used to start a fire. Eventually I would love to be able to have created 10 outfits per season and thought that starting with two was a good way to start that dream. When you are building a fire you need that dry brush to carry the flame to the bigger pieces, so it catches and is able to stay lit. I thought of this project as starting smaller by making an impact that creates anticipation for my future projects that can grow larger and more brilliant.

Based in Whitehorse, Kaylyn Baker is a Northern Tutchone and Tlingit artist from the Yukon and a citizen of Selkirk First Nation. Beading allows her to connect with her ancestors—her mother, grandmothers, and great grandmothers all beaded—as well as with her peers and her children. Beading for Kaylyn is a form of storytelling, a way to pass along traditions and knowledge to future generations.

Selected poems by Kaylyn


Winter: Standing in a blizzard
Standing still, you’re target to burning wind
Its howling cries force themselves on your ears
While you’re blinded by sharp shards & tears
Heavy & dark in the whitest of storms
A sensory assault leaves you lost & forlorn
Never staying in one place
The snowdrift becomes the tide
Determined to cut your skin, you see it come alive
Out in the surf the snow becomes a wave
Curling & crashing to knock you down
Consumed & bitten
Your fingers crack
You slow
The wave never stops pushing
To drown you in the snow
Artist Statement: I made this poem using lots of cacophony. I wanted it to sound as harsh as it feels to physically stand in the blizzard. The corresponding artwork was a contrast to that because when you see the blizzard from inside it looks beautiful. I wanted the work to shimmer & show movement, which is why I used Fur & Fringes. The artwork is also a play on the name of the poem because you can literally stand in each piece to wear it. Out of my whole collection I wanted to include one outfit that was entirely hand sewn together, so every aspect of this dress, shawl & mukluks was sewn by hand.

Spring: Legend of The Giant Grayling

So long ago in the age of giant animals, lived a giant grayling
In order to catch, it wouldn’t even be fishing…More like whaling
Now some don’t know, but in the spring, from the river to the creek are the little graylings wishes
And that big ol’ fish travelled with them, a bodyguard
To crack the ice & save the fish, to make the fishing hard
& some don’t know, but any time of year, grayling are delicious
But Virginia knew & she grabbed her pole then went crunching down the bank
In her black leather jacket, just past the fine thin crack, every 5 seconds…a yank
Now some don’t know, but all you need is a stick with a line with a hook & a corn
Then you got yourself a pole, now all you need is a hole, but the ice can get pretty thick
The fin of this grayling was strong as an ox & when he swam by, gave a flick
& some don’t know, but a hook with a corn for a grayling is a rose with a thorn
But Virginia knew & pretty soon she had caught three or four.
They were pretty good sized, but she didn’t mind to try for maybe one more.
How could she know now and how that she was also floating alone
As she fished floating by, a gleam caught her eye, that huge grayling in the river
She was passing the houses, people started shouting, but Virginia was ready to giver
Now she was one woman & the fish was a giant, but David & Goliath was the tone.
Her heels dug in, as she lowered her stick with a line with the hook & a corn
You wouldn’t think she could catch it , but she caught it & this is how legends are born
Now some don’t know, that Northern women are tough & this attest to that.
She fought that grayling all day, until she got her way, plus she also needed a ride.
Once she was close, her other fish in tow, Virginia jumped off her ice to the side.
That fish was so tired, he finally expired, while Virginia leaned back & just sat
The whole town seen & the whole town cheered
They’d eat for months maybe even a year
She crunched slowly back up the bank, reflecting her day, it was wild
All because corn was its diet
She had grayling in a pan & fried it
& very slowly smiled
Artist Statement: The poem is a legendized version of the true story of a female elder in Pelly Crossing who went to ice fish for grayling when her ice broke and she floated down river, but didn’t notice. She was called to by someone who seen her and when she realized she waited until it got close to the main ice, grabbed her fish, and jumped on and walked to shore. I wanted to touch on the giant animals from the past and decided to invent a giant grayling who broke apart the ice to let the smaller grayling by. I chose a guitar for the artwork because it looked like ice & water and also, I liked the idea of eventually being able to play the poem as a song with the guitar.

Fall: Hunting & Gathering

I was out for a cruise when my cousin saw a moose & my grandpa didn’t believe him
I don’t remember if he cried, but my cousin didn’t lie & soon after my grandpa shot it
I tried to be brave, when I seen that big moose face, but I never really seen that before
It’s tongue was off to the side, my eyes were so wide, as grandpa showed us what to do
That was one of my first hunting experiences that I can remember
It was crazy to see, but i knew I loved dry meat, so I stood there quiet & waited
Another time I was in the woods with my mom when she randomly screamed, “wahoo”
We were out picking berries & although it was scary, I thought it was just something you do
Pick, pick, wahoo! So I did it too, thought we were having fun with those berries
I later found out, when she’d let out her shout…It was for bears, not for berries
That was one of my first gathering memories
Artist Statement: The poem is created reflecting different hunting and gathering memories and stories. The artwork was created to look like a successful hunt from the front & a fashion statement from behind. The beadwork on the antler harness was created using colours from every aspect of the hunt from the weather, land, sky, and animals. The mukluks were made thinking about gathering berries & fall scenery. I also wanted to contrast the white hide mukluks.