A former resident of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories has been recognized at a national quilt show.

Veronica Puskas, who grew up in Nunavut’s Kivalliq region, won the award for Excellence in Work by a first-time exhibitor award at Quilt Canada’s national juried show in St. Catharines, Ont.

Veronica Puskas quilt

Veronica Puskas' quilt, called 'Pillars of Strength,' is based on a photo of her mother and grandmother at the Meliadine River near Rankin Inlet in 1950. (Canadian Quilters' Association)

Her quilt, called Pillars of Strength, is based on a photo of her mother and grandmother at the Meliadine River near Rankin Inlet in 1950.

Puskas says the quilt honours her grandmother, but making it also helped her.

"I hope to encourage people that are going through difficult times that through doing some artwork or doing something to make something beautiful is very cathartic,” she says. “It helps you deal with the emotions and the hurt while doing it."

Puskas says she started working on the project many years ago and then set it aside. In the end, it was truly a labour of love.

Veronica Puskas quilt (detail)

Detail from Pillars of Strength. (Canadian Quilters' Association)

"Mom used to tell us you can do better than that and that's all I kept hearing.”

Puskas’ quilt was selected out of about 80 entries in her category.

Marilyn Michelin, chair of the event, says Puskas’ skill is remarkable.

"To do people in a picture is just unbelievable,” she says. “The talent that people have for that."

Puskas now lives in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

She says she’ll keep using Nunavut and the North as inspiration for future projects.

Nuliavuk

Nuliavuk by Veronica Puskas was recently displayed at a local exhibit in Ontario. (Yellowknife Quilters' Guild)