With a $3,400 grant from GCI Gives, the Alutiiq Museum has created video tutorials on Alutiiq stitching techniques. The three-part series teaches viewers three basic stitches used in skin sewing—a blanket stitch, a running stitch, and a laced running stitch. Alutiiq artist and award- winning skin sewer Susan Malutin demonstrates the stitches and narrates the videos, sharing information about her life and work. The tutorials are accompanied by a set of written instructions with a template for making a small felt pouch. These resources are available for free on the Alutiiq Museum’s website at: “Skin Sewing.”.
“Many people are interested in making traditionally-styled garments,” said Alutiiq Museum Executive Director April Laktonen Counceller, “As a first step, it is important to learn the essential stitches used to create Alutiiq clothing. In this video, Susan teaches these stitches and provides an opportunity for people to practice them on fabric. This is a great way to get familiar with skin sewing techniques, before working with larger, more expensive pieces of material.”
This project is part of a larger effort to reawaken knowledge of Alutiiq sewing techniques and create opportunities for people to make Alutiiq garments. Counceller explained.
“We hope one day that knowledge of Alutiiq clothing will be widespread in our community and that anyone who wants to create a parka, a pair of boots, or a headdress will have the tools to do so. Very few people have the skills to make Alutiiq clothing and that limits our ability to live and celebrate our heritage through fashion. Through resources like these videos, the Alutiiq Museum can help people explore and express their culture.”
The Alutiiq Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and culture of the Alutiiq, an Alaska Native tribal people. Representatives of Kodiak Alutiiq organizations govern the museum with funding from charitable contributions, memberships, grants, contracts, and sales.