[Lorraine says] Today was brutally cold: -55 with the windchill. I went out midday to go the library and to pick up a few groceries. I was reminded of just how grateful I am for the sealskin mittens John gave me at Christmas -- my hands have never been cold in them. (Here is a picture of John modelling them). It also makes me realize, again, not only how beautiful the traditional clothing is up here, but how functional.
This past week, I slipped out for a late lunch one day, and went over to the courthouse where a local fiddler and I had been asked to play music for a wedding. The bride (in her 50's) wore a stunningly beautiful handmade amauti made of raw green silk, with intricate beading, and trimmed with fox fur. Her daughters and granddaughters also all wore amautis with gorgeous detailing, and trimmed with fur. One of the granddaughters carried a pet stuffed rabbit in the baby holder of her amauti as she proudly walked up the aisle with her grandmother.
Amautis are a great example of traditional clothing that is both functional and beautiful. Most young women carry around their babies in amautis. Occasionally, you'll even see a man wearing one, if he's carrying around a baby. There is a good reason why amautis and other traditional clothes (sealskin mittens and kamiks (boots), caribou and sealskin coats, and particular types of fur trim) are so prevalent up here: they work well in this climate, and they are beautiful to boot (no pun intended).
Maybe one of my next projects will be sewing lessons for traditional clothing ...