Frozen Museum

Our Workshop

Welcome to our jewellery history workshop! The following images document this most remarkable ten day journey across time and place, which happened between the 5th and 15th of January 2016 at Nunavut Arctic College (NAC). Our workshop blended lectures about jewellery designs and processes from antiquity to the present with geology and hands-on reconstructions of cylinder seals in our jewellery studio. The cylinder seal is an ancient form of communication in which a pictographic message is engraved in reverse upon a hardstone that has been shaped into a cylinder, whose message is revealed by rolling it over clay.

The cylinder seals we created in our NAC workshop are the focus of our exhibits here in the Frozen Museum, because a museum is a place where people come to learn about different cultures, as well as being a place for collecting and sharing stories about peoples' lives, which are expressed through objects. Each of our cylinder seals tells a unique story about Inuit culture and our own life experiences through the images we carved upon stones that come from Nunavut, a story that emerges as a dynamic picture when it is rolled overtop modelling clay.

So, we invite you to look at these photos - they are sequential real-time snapshots of our workshop taken as it unfolded over the course of a week - and think of them as the story of our experience in learning and creating here at NAC, rolling out over this web page for you to see, and thus include you as a participant in our project.

A final word from the NAC Jewellery History Workshop Director, Donna Bilak. I want to once again extend special thanks to Linda Ham, Chief Geologist at the Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office in Iqaluit for bringing her profound knowledge of the region into our classroom. Linda's explanation of what kinds of rocks we were using for our cylinder seals, where they are from, and how they were formed, opened up a whole new dimension to our project by showing us the richness and beauty of the land through a geological lens. Linda's talk deepened our experience of working with the stones we chose for our seals, which made a fitting matrix for our stories.

And an important note: I refer to Linda Ham in the students' video interviews (featured in each of their exhibits) as "Linda Hall" - this mistake is mine for this reason: "Linda Hall" is the name of a research library in Kansas City with an important history of science, engineering and technology collection (so while I hope you all will forgive my slip, it at least is related to the subject of our workshop).

Our Workshop