Swan feet for the shield 

I skinned and pulls apart one side of a Swan feet for strips on the shield and the black fish tail.  I used small uluaq (women’s sewing knife) and believe it or not my teeth to pull apart the skin from the joint.  

Next step is do the other swan feet.  After I dry them – I will work on the shield and work around the shield, sewing the squirrels.  I need to find caribou hair for decorative strips that goes with the swan feet.  I have reddish brownish leather for the other strips for the shield.  

Alder Bark Natural Dye

While I was at Fish camp – I peeled bark off from an alder wood my brother cut down for smoking the salmon.  When I returned to Fairbanks- after talking with Lolly Carpluk and her mom – I was able to get instructions from Lolly and her mom to do my first experiment of natural dyes.  

By their instructions: I mixed together alder bark, salt and warm water.  I soaked the hairless seal skin into the mix for few days.  I checked it a few times until the desired red color was present.  I will experiment with soaking it in white vinegar first and try the alder dye again or visaversa. 

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 🌸

During Fishcamp leisure

Finished tanning the Arctic Ground Squirrels – all were completed during fishcamp leisure while waiting for salmon fishing to be opened – which has been regulated :-(.   I will post the timeline of the tanning process as my busy summer allows.  Here is a sneak peak of them squirrels.  Quyana, Piurci 🌸IMG_5995