High Top Moccasin/Slippers-Caribou Tufted Flower
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- Handmade in Canada by Carmen Miller
- Home tanned moosehide
- Lined with shearling
- Beaver trim
- Tufted flower design
- Approx ladies size 10
- Carmen Miller is a Metis artisan who lives in Hinton, Alberta. Carmen taught herself how to make simple beaded items at the age of eight and has been beading ever since. She learned the art of moose hair and caribou hair tufting over 25 years ago and it quickly became one of her favourite art mediums. Her tuftings are usually on wearable items such as moccasins, mittens, and jewelry and are combined with beadwork.
- The word moccasin originates from the Algonquin language. This word was used by settlers and has come to refer to any kind of indigenous slipper. Each First Nation have their own style of slipper that have been in constant creation for generations, generally handed down through one generation teaching the next.
- The craft of using moose or caribou hair for decorative artwork predates European contact. Moose hair or caribou hair is taken from the rump or shoulders of the animal, the winter coat is most desirable. It is then dried in small 6x6 inch pieces. Once dried, the pieces are cleaned by a simple washing, then dyed in batches of rich colours. Traditionally dyeing is done from natural resources such as berries, roots, flowers, bark and lichens, a painstaking process. The design for the art piece is etched freehand onto a velvet cloth or slipper "vamp". Once the hair is sorted by length and colour, the artisan cuts from the desired colour, grasping the hair in a small bundle of approximately 150 hairs. The bundles are then sewn into place. The bundle must be taut to make it stand up against the backing. Once each bundle is in place the ends of the standing bundles, or tufts, are then sculpted with care and skillful precision. Intricate and delicate forms begin to emerge until the artisan’s design is complete.