Preparing grass…almost forgotten.

Just a quick note about basket weaving grass.  A longer post will be in the subsistence pages shortly.  Mom, Diane, and I are in the process of splitting the grass we picked in July.  We are looking for the inner blades to use in weaving Unangan baskets.  It is a long process from the picking to the splitting; and the splitting is pretty slimy and dirty!!  Just one more thing to do to keep us honest and out of trouble!! 

Gert and Diane getting ready to split the weavers out of the grass stalks.

Side projects.

Yesterday was a foggy, drizzly day.  Not a day for battling the salmonberry bushes if you had any regard for your physical well-being.  The fish is all up in the drying house, with heat and fans on it (note: fog=no wind) so that it will continue to dry and not spoil.  So…what to do.  Not clean house!  It was Saturday, so no grandson to watch – although he did end up spending the night!  Instead of making chocolates, Mom and Diane shamed me into working on a project I started at least 4 weeks ago. 

My design phase of a fur seal throat pouch.

You can see my basket start, which will be used on the pouch, as well as my mock up.   Diane and Mom have already finished theirs, basically, so yesterday Diane was working on a wild rye grass basket that she is ready to start the turning stich on. 

There is nothing like the sheen of a wild rye basket.

Diane was commenting, that no matter how many baskets she makes, she always drags out the Svarny-girl bible…Aleut Basket Weaving, or Sophie’s book, when it comes time to turning. 

Mom was forced to get out the graph paper to work on her blueberry design for the basket she is weaving.  She hates to do graph work, although not as much as Diane.  Diane says she needs to do more planning and design work – but it just ain’t gonna happen!!  As you can see, Mom decided that piano work was a bit more interesting than anything else! 

Lalala....even the best of artists procrastinate at times!

We will get it together.  There is just so much else to do, though.

Articulation.

The Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska hosts a traditional culture camp in Unalaska.    Camp Qungaayux^ is designed to bring Unangan Elders, Mentors, and Western science biologists together with the younger generation in order to teach both Traditional Knowledge practices and Western Science principles which encourages cultural and environmental awareness.  

So in 2003, I talked Caleb into helping his brother teach the kids how to construct model kayaks. 

2003

In 2004, I talked Caleb into working with his brother Mike, in teaching the kids how to construct a full-size iqyax^, or skinboat.  His brother couldn’t make it so Caleb ended up teaching by himself. 

2004

In 2005, Caleb taught the kids how to cover a full size iqyax^ by actually covering the one built the year before. 

2005
2005

In 2006, Caleb, with HIS mentor Lee Post, taught the kids how to articulate a Baird’s beaked whale. 

2006

In 2007, 2008, and 2009 Caleb taught the kids how to construct traditional drums. 

2007-2009

2007 was actually the last year I coordinated camp, so I don’t think that the Tribe knows what a jewel they have with Caleb.  The secret to Caleb is that he had never taught a class before 2003.  He had never made a model kayak.  He had never constructed a full size kayak.  He had never covered a skinboat.  He had never thought of articulating, let alone articulated, a whale.  He had never constructed a drum.  The secret to Caleb is presenting him with a problem and giving him the time to explore it and solve it.

So when the Tribe asked Caleb to teach at Camp again this year, and they asked him to do drums again, I said, “Drums?  Again?”  And Caleb’s other cohort who first suggested the whale articulation, Reid Brewer, reminded Caleb that they had the sealion bones from two years ago…… 

2010

….and the deal was sealed.  So, I am going to try to follow Caleb along in this project.  Not by being intrusive and all in his face with the camera and questions, but by using the photos he takes himself, and listening to him when he comes home lamenting his woes.  Hmmmmmm, I see he forgot the camera today.