Some dust collections for later

Several weeks ago, possibly more than two months ago – I forget when; I decided to try my sewing machine with a foot piece that I haven’t used before.  I tried to use it but I didn’t know how.  I got frustrated and put the sewing machine away without putting the original foot back to the sewing machine.

Multitasking projects keeps me going and not bored. I have random things collected and forgotten but when I finally notice them collected with dust, I think about what I’ll do with them – and then I am off doing something entirely different.  I fight with time and time. I made an issran with hemp that I started over ten years ago and I just need to give it a few more hours and it’s done!  When I first started it, I didn’t use weight to help me weave but adjusted my sitting position and worked on it.  I once saw a Cup’ig lady working on one with beach grass and noticed a rock inside the issran and thought, “how wonderful!”  I asked a few questions and thanked her for a short observation.  Once I got home, I took it out and worked on it with a collected rock my mom found.  Having a weight made weaving go faster and with better sitting position.

I had a Lake Tahoe wood I carved into an ipuun but I have no idea where it went – it may have ended up used for a hot maqi.  I made an uluaq that I started with a help from my mom to design it and my husband to cut the metal.  I brought the uluaq to Akiachak for my uncle to touch it up.  I am not done with it yet, as I need to design the handle to fit my hand.  The items I need help with I usually start with the words, “Do this. I want to make this…”  Fishing for salmon; one person does good job fishing from the river, another creates a unique fish cutting fellet and someone else gets the wood to smoke the fish, and most important there is a cook that feeds all the people involved with the fish.  Most times, I do my own work and I prefer it that way.  But with the uluaq – I wanted my mom, and uncle involved because they know the feel of the tool that helped us for many generations.  I thank my husband for graciously helping with the hard part of cutting the metal.

The sewing machine piece is still missing but I replaced it with a piece that doesn’t come apart.  Lesson learned, always put the original piece that is important back when the other piece is not working out. My mom and I have used the sewing machine with satisfaction since I replaced the piece.

I’ve received a few requests for piluguq and I’ve been working on them. This weekend I’ll focus on sewing the bottom soles with hairless seal.

My next exciting project will be making Piluguq with caribou or moose leg fur.

Keep your feet warm this winter. Piurci!

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, 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

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