Friday, August 5, 2011

Sand Point bent wood hats

Here's a few photos of bent wood hats made in Sand Point.  Bent wood hat instructor for the camp was Peter Devine.  He had inherited some of the bending jigs made by Andrew Gronholdt who was one of the key people who revived the art of Aleut bent wood hat making. For more on Andrew Gronholdt, see the wikipedia page.
 This is a selection of Peter's designs.

 This is a bending jig for short visors made by Andrew Gronholdt.

 Peter was also experimenting with using baleen as hat making material.  The source of this baleen was apparently a minke whale that had washed up on the beach. Although the baleen is dark, the frayed fibrous edges are essentially blond.

 A student adding feathers to a short visor he had made.

 Hats are carved from quarter inch thick cotton wood which is thinned out in selected places for easier bending.  After the hat blanks are carved, they are soaked in boiling water and then bent on a form.  Stones hold the hat blanks under water.  The smooth stones were found by Peter in the stomach of a sea lion.  The darker rough stones are from Atka.

And finally, a student wearing one of his finished hats next to the finished iqyax^ (Unangan kayak.)

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