Sewing Gut (8 of 13): Using an Alternative Material
The art of sewing sea mammal intestine – also called gut – is an ancient and practical one used to create waterproof clothing and bags, as well as ceremonial attire. During a week-long residency organized by the Arctic Studies Center at the Anchorage Museum in 2014, Alaska Native artists Mary Tunuchuk (Yup’ik), Elaine Kingeekuk (St. Lawrence Island Yupik) and Sonya Kelliher-Combs (Iñupiaq-Athabascan) studied the design and construction of historic gutskin objects and demonstrated how to process and sew gut to students, museum conservators and visitors. A two-day community workshop in Bethel followed, taught by Mary Tunuchuk and hosted by the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center with assistance from Director Eva Malvich. The educational videos presented here introduce the artists, examine historic objects made with gut from the Smithsonian collections, and offer detailed explanations and demonstrations. Learn how to process and sew sea mammal intestine (and hog gut as an alternative material for non-Alaska Natives); prepare grass and tapered thread for sewing; and complete a gut basket or gut window project. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the exhibition website Sharing Knowledge at http://alaska.si.edu, where you can also find educational materials in the Resources section.
4 min 33 sec
Arctic Studies;Alaska;Alaska Natives;Native Art;Indigenous Art Search this