I am not sure how to interpret naterkaq (the one for the floor?), but I can share what it’s all about. Naterkaq is a product of a bearded seal skin. The hair is removed by aging but I am not sure how or with what. All I know is the seal skin hair and the skin that is black comes off by aging the skin and scraping. I’ll have to share that process at another time.
I am learning about making piluguq/kameksak by trial and lots of error. Naterkaq is for the bottom sole of a boot that is hand made from below the knee to the sole.
Right now I am searching naterkaq to make more piluguq/kameksak. The picture above is few of the piluguq/kameksak I made. It takes lots to measurements and practice to make a good pair. Quyana, to special orders by various people who have entrusted me to make for their loved ones.
I have avoided biting into these skins but I found out that it’s necessary part of the process to soften the seal skin.
There is carving involved too – thinning out the edges of the soles.
I like my daughter’s little uluaq from her Atelli Aiyang (my aunt).
Main fur for this is wolverine that was cut from the leg.
I have several more naterkaq to work with before I run out.
Art comes even during frozen times – Alaska cold has no mercy and our ancestors prepared in every season.
It’s been a busy December and now January is keeping me more busy – taking orders for mostly piluguq or kameksak.
Sewing the seal skin soles are unpredictable when they have been wet. They are easy to crimp when wet. I’ve made mistakes and my mind just can’t except the outcome and so the threads unwind. At times a battle defeated;
Crimping involves tight threads and several tools.
I wasn’t satisfied with this sole, I took apart and soaked it overnight. It flattened to original form.
Water does wonders for these mistakes.
I didn’t thin out the edges enough to make it look sharp and so my trusty little uluaq helped me.
I knew the weathered plank would help me some ways.
There are always adjustments needed to fit a person’s needs. I added some design to widen these kameksak.
I was happy with the result, only because I’ve seen the design in my parent’s matching piluguq.
Special orders comes in many forms and sizes. Relatives from Kwethluk sent their precious crafts to sew in the soles. I was honored to sew them on.
I hear myself think, “I hope they fit these.”
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a wonderful Happy New Year!