Naterkaq

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.

Quyana tailuci 🌸❤️

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/.