TRIBE: Native Village of Afognak
MEDIUM: Regalia/Fashion Design
LOCATION: Kodiak Island, Alaska
Born and raised in the Kodiak community, Susan is a self-taught master skin sewer who has spent a lifetime researching traditional sewing techniques. She primarily creates fur hats, slippers, infant boots, mittens and dance boots. Before Susan, this art form had not been practiced in her community for decades. As a result, she has had the opportunity to engage many young people and adults in learning the techniques and traditons of their ancestors. This involves not only teaching them traditional skin sewing methods, but equally as important, what it took to prepare for the hunting of the animals, methods used and the dedicated time it took to prepare animal skins for the sewing of clothing.
Susan has spent years documenting and learning Alutiiq words and phrases in order understand how her great grandmothers worked skins and shared knowledge. Learning from master speakers of the Northern style of speaking Koniag Alutiiq has made Susan a valuable bank of Northern style Alutiiq words, phrases, and pronunciations which she has taught to countless youth.