Project: ARTShops 2018 Utqiagvik Bleached Seal Skin
Alaska State Council on the Arts Partnership
Story by: Bobby Lynn Itta
The ARTShops program is a collaboration between the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation and The CIRI Foundation’s A Journey to What Matters: Increased Alaska Native Arts and Culture grant program. Established in 2016, ARTShops support emerging Alaska Native arts leaders to develop their skills in leading community-based arts programs.
I wanted to do this ARTShops project to learn and teach the process of making bleached seal skin. Traditionally we use this material for our mukluk bottoms, braids for decoration, and also the inside of a sunshine ruff. This material is hard to find now a days, so it was a workshop. In the photo, I am removing the fur from the hide, after it cured in seal oil for one week. The fur just slips off and then it’s ready to clean and dry.