Legends of the Industry



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Discovering the Craftwork of Sealskin

 

There is more to sewing than stitches, especially when the thread weaves through a long-standing controversy. 'Meet the North,' a series that ventures into the lives of some of the 4 million people who call the Arctic home, takes a look at sealskin.

SISIMIUT, GREENLAND
– When I arrive at the sewing and knitting studio, designer Soriina Davidsen is moving a mitten pattern across a piece of sealskin, trying to decide where to cut. If she’s strategic, she should get two pairs of large mittens from a skin that cost 500 Danish kroner (about $75).

Davidsen and her co-worker, Vera Larsen, spend long days here cutting, stitching and talking. The pair have formed a friendship – and a business – over sealskin, a material central to Greenlandic culture that has divided others around the world.

Their workshop sits at the back of a store called Qiviut that sells sealskin and muskox wool products. Skins, zippers and tools hang on the workshop walls under fluorescent light, along with a few calendar pages of shirtless men. “Love is a Wonderful Thing” by Michael Bolton plays on the radio. I find a spare piece of sealskin, run my hand over the fur, and enjoy its prickly velvet feel.

 

 

 

“To make beautiful products, you have to be interested in what you do,” Davidsen says. “It’s hard work. You have to be fit, physically. You sew with your body, and your back hurts a lot of times.” Despite this, she is always excited to start the next project; the variety in the skins means that no two items can ever be the same.

Davidsen learned how to prepare skins using traditional methods of scraping, stretching and washing, and she made traditional Greenlandic clothing before creating her own designs based in this shop. Then the shop owner hired Larsen, and Larsen learned from Davidsen. These young women work together to make smaller items, like mittens and slippers, that appeal to tourists, and larger designs including vests and anoraks that are popular with locals….

 

 

Source: Arctic Deeply

Fur Industry News - Worldwide
by RB Media Group
Posted: July 17, 2016

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