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Sewing Gut videos

The art of sewing sea mammal intestine – also called gut – is an ancient and practical one used to create water-repellant clothing and bags, as well as ceremonial garments. 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 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 video set presented here introduces the artists, examine historic objects made with gut from the Smithsonian collections, and offers 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. Links to a selection of Iñupiaq, St. Lawrence Island Yupik and Yup’ik objects from the Smithsonian collections made from gut are included below.

Tags: Alaska, Native art, museum, education, Indigenous, sew, gut, intestine, sea mammal, walrus, seal, St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Inupiaq, Iñupiaq, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Learning from a master artist

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Sewing Gut (1 of 13): Introduction

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Sewing Gut (2 of 13): Meet Artist Mary Tunuchuk

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Sewing Gut (3 of 13): Meet Artist Elaine Kingeekuk

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Sewing Gut (4 of 13): Meet Artist Sonya Kelliher-Combs

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Sewing Gut (5 of 13): Studying Historic Museum Pieces

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Sewing Gut (6 of 13): Processing Gut with Elaine Kingeekuk

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Sewing Gut (7 of 13): Processing Gut with Mary Tunuchuk

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Sewing Gut (8 of 13): Using an Alternative Material

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Sewing Gut (9 of 13): Preparing Grass

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Sewing Gut (10 of 13): Making Tapered Thread

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Sewing Gut (11 of 13): Sewing Gut

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Sewing Gut (12 of 13): Sewing a Gut Basket

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Sewing Gut (13 of 13): Sewing a Model Gut Window

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Bag

National Museum of the American Indian

Gut parka

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.

Ceremonial gut parka

National Museum of the American Indian

Gut parka

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.

Gut parka

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.