Moose Hair Tufting

Moosetufting is a dying art and needs to be revived. There are few First Nation people who are left to do this art.

Twisted moosehair and caribou hair were used for decorative use by the Athapaskans predating European contact. Earliest documentation of moosetufting comes from 1920-30’s. Mrs. Lafterty from Fort Simpson read watched a nun used wool in a type of work called punch work, copying this Mrs. Laftery started tufting. She taught her daughters and it spread across the North.

The art of tufting is a soft, three demestional image by stitching and then trimming the bundles. This can be done on fabric, leather, and birch. The moosetufting art takes patience and steady hand.

The moosehair being used is the winter hair, along the center of the back. The best hair is obtained in winter months. The white hair is sorted and washed, dryed then dyed with Rit dye. After the dye job the hair is ready to use. The picture can be done velvet, stroud, birch or tanned skin, mukluks, slippers, barrettes, earrings, and pins. On the back of all the fabric the canvas is on the back to hold the knot in place. No two designs are the same. Although moosehair is the most common used for moosefufting, hair from the caribou, porcupine quills have been used moosehair is used because it is coarse and stiff.

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