58 Arctic Ground Squirrels!

The Arctic Ground Squirrels and the Rasmuson Grant came on the same day!

 Here is a step by step process of cleaning;  First – I washed them with Dawn dish soap and some with olive oil soap and some with Fels-Naptha – testing which soap removes the grease and keeps the fur soft – I think the olive oil soap was better but Dawn soap definitely removed the grease.  I had to remove the hind feet as I cleaned each fur.  Feet were left to dry for weight purposes. After the rinsing the soap off the fur and skin – I air dried them and I also used a fan (stay tuned for a video). When the fur is dry the skin needs to be stretched on the boards while its damp.  To make the skin smooth – I used baby powder as the skin was a little sticky.  The fur must be removed from the board before it’s fully dried or it will be hard to remove from the board.  

My mom who is guiding me 🌸❤️
 


Most important, working the skin must immediately take place to soften the skin – making it pliable for sewing.  

This first batch of tanning were completed in Fairbanks before my trip to fish camp 🌸

Author: Nasek'taq

Merna Wharton “Nasek’taq” is Yup'ik from Akiacuaq (Akiachak) lives in Anchorage Alaska. Merna is an Alaska Native artist, poet, traditional and contemporary seamstress, carver, gatherer of greens and berries, and loves the outdoors of Alaska! Merna enjoys finding art in natural elements and shares her experiences through her website, nasektaq.com. Merna crafts to preserve her culture and art and shares her worldview from a remote village Yup’ik girl’s perspective with a glimpse of life in Alaska in her writing and poems. More information about her art can be found at https://www.rasmuson.org/49writers/artist-profile/merna-wharton/.