What do jewelry, clothing and visual art have in common? Sealskin

Tracey Hayley, owner of Sealed With A Kiss, hand-crafts numerous products using sealskin.
Tracey Hayley got her inspiration from a necklace her mother bought in 1960. (Jane Adey/CBC)

Sealskin has long been part of Newfoundland and Labrador culture, and now the owner of a St. John's business is using it to craft everything from jewellery to works of art.

"I am an artist at heart and I love to build and create anything that I can," said Tracey Hayley, owner of Sealed With A Kiss.

Hayley offers a variety of jewelry, novelty items and small articles of clothing. Most recently, she has broadened her scope to include visual art.

Sealskin artwork created by artist Laura Sullivan. (Jane Adey/CBC)

Hayley told CBC's The Broadcast that she got her inspiration from a necklace her mother purchased in 1960, that had sealskin incorporated into the design.

After she made some jewellery for herself and her mother, word spread and people fell in love with her handiwork.

Hayley's business has flourished. She now has 42 retailers from Newfoundland and Labrador to Ontario selling her products.

Sealskin hat created by Tracey Hayley, Sealed with A Kiss (Jane Adey/CBC)

"Ontario was very accepting," said Hayley. "The Canadiana gift stores love to have sealskin products. They think it's very important on a political standfront."

Hayley said she does her part to educate people about the sealing industry and reaction is positive.

Her customers also find it appealing that there is almost no wastage when making her products. 

"There's no piece too small when it comes to making jewellery from fur," said Hayley

Neckalce designed and handcrafted Tracey Hayley, Sealed With A Kiss. (Jane Adey/CBC)

Hayley has collaborated with artist Laura Sullivan to create visual art using seal fur. She said it's opened up a whole new world for her business.

"What started as a simple necklace…has now developed into a very, very broad selection," said Hayley. "If you can visualize it and describe it, I will make it."

Hayley's goal is to sell her products internationally, and she is dealing with a couple of interested clients in countries that do not have a sealskin ban.

"I don't see myself stopping before it is everywhere that I can possibly put it."

Hayley has sewn many pieces of seal fur together to create this lighthouse scene. (Jane Adey/CBC)

Listen to The Broadcast with host Jane Adey each weekday at 6 p.m. NT, or an encore broadcast the following weekday at 1 p.m. NT