Most mornings I follow the same routine; I wake up, eat breakfast or drink a glass of water, and then I sit down and sort moose hair for tufting. It takes a long time, as they have to be sorted one by one. But it’s worth it, because then I can create moose hair tuftings on things like slippers and mittens. I also tan moose hides in the spring.
I didn’t really learn the traditional arts until around 1980, when I was home visiting my sister in Fort Providence. I watched her work, went home, and then practiced on my own. It took a little while, but after I had it figured out I just kept on making pieces. I learned the traditional designs, like flowers for tufting, but then started to try other ideas like wildlife and scenery.
I make a lot of my own patterns; beavers, ptarmigan, swans, other northern wildlife too, and a lot of scenery mixed in to the background of the images. I really like making scenes instead of the same small flower designs all the time. With tufting, the images have to be done in a certain order, usually starting from the inside and working outward. Sometimes I get frustrated, but at those times I just have to slow down and figure it out. It’s a good life lesson really.