Nancy E. Oakley is a first nation artist of Wampanoag and Mi’kmaq descent living and working on the Eskasoni First Nation reserve in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.. She is a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she studied Photography and pottery.
After graduating She then moved to Nova Scotia and studied for a year at the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design, taking courses in Photography, ceramics, weaving and jewelry making. Through softly curved pottery forms created by hand and on the wheel, Nancy creates culturally significant pieces that imbue her spiritual and traditional knowledge and honour her role as a mother. Her process is a collaboration with the land. Clay is harvested from mother earth and shaped by hand. Pieces are stone polished and smoke fired outdoors with fir tips, seaweed and sawdust, imprinting beautiful smokey finishes. Her pots are then adorned with traditional Mi’kmaq embellishments such as black ash basketry, beadwork, carved and or painted hieroglyphics and braided sweetgrass.