Moose hide items are produced by local Dene people using skills handed down for countless generations in the Liard and Mackenzie Valleys. Home-tanned moose hide emits a smoky aroma reminiscent of the North.
Decorative beadwork, probably developed from quillwork, has been part of Dene heritage since the first glass beads were brought in for trade in the 1700s. A row of beads is threaded on one strand, which is sewn tightly to the backing with a second needle. Floral patterns have generally replaced the geometric patterns of the past, and are shared up and down the Liard and Mackenzie Rivers.
Moccasins, gloves, mitts, baby belts, hair ornaments and garments of all sorts are decorated with beadwork. Each item represents hours of patient hand work. For a wonderful reminder of your visit to the Northwest Territories, take home a pair of hand sewn moccasins, gloves, or mukluks. Try on a fringed and beaded vest or jacket. The rich scent of home-tanned hide will carry you back to your northern adventure. Hides are still tanned by hand and decorated with beads or embroidery in original and unique patterns.
Each garment is one of a kind, an original created with an artisan’s imagination and craft. Warm, sturdy clothing is still made for family members of pure wool stroud or duffle, furs and hide. Home tanned hide, an art in itself, can be added to jackets or vests as a fringe, or yoke. Home tanned moose hide may shape the feet of moccasins or mukluks, or a fine warm pair of mitts. The beading or quillwork on each item is unique, and a true sign of the loving attention to detail of Dene craftswomen.