It wasn’t until Kay Sark was 26 years old that she began to build a deep connection to her culture through the art of quillwork. While she grew up on Lennox Island, Mi’kmaq traditions were not a part of her upbringing. That all changed in 2016 when she decided on a whim to take part in a Skills PEI apprenticeship program. Kay credits Cheryl Simon, the program instructor and a talented quill artist from Nova Scotia, with introducing her to the beauty of quillwork. Kay knew immediately it was what she was meant to do. As she delved deeper into the art form, it became more than a bridge to her Mi’kmaq culture, it became a part of her identity.

Today, quillwork is a cherished family tradition for the Mi’kmaw artisan who also works at Lennox Island Health and is a mom to two pre-teens. It’s important to Kay that her children see her taking pride in her culture so that they can do the same. Before she even sits down to sketch out a design, Kay has to source her raw materials. She and her husband, Pat Bernard, round up the kids and they head out to the woods to collect birch bark and sweetgrass. Road trips to New Brunswick in search of porcupine roadkill become akin to treasure hunts, although Kay is grateful when friends drop by with dead porcupines from their mainland trips. 

Each of Kay’s quillwork creations is a piece of art inspired by the raw materials themselves. Her unique process for naming her artworks comes from the TV shows she has on in the background while quilling, such as Lizzie McGuire and the Real Housewives of New Jersey. She sells her quill art at artisan markets as well as through her Facebook page, Kay’s Kreations. 

macrame ornaments Macramé Signs Macrame wall hangings

Kayla Sark

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