Fort Simpson’s Open Sky Creative Society is ramping up its programming in the coming weeks to offer more workshops in traditional arts and crafts.
Claudia Bittner, the society’s executive director, said events planned include how to make beaver mittens and beading workshops. Dates are being finalized.
“We’re always trying to find local artists, either in Fort Simpson or the surrounding communities, to teach different things,” Bittner said.
“It’s really important because a lot of these neat things are slowly getting lost if nobody continues teaching it.”
A Christmas stocking workshop and ornament creation class are also planned. A craft night on Tuesday, November 16 from 7pm to 9pm will involve the creation of Christmas bags.
Open Sky hosts an open craft night on the first and third Tuesday of each month where residents can drop in, continue progress on projects, and meet other craftspeople.
“Most artists are really happy to teach these crafts and then they have so many stories about how things were made and why they are the way they are,” she said.
The organization strives to support local harvesters and trappers by buying hides and furs for projects.
Bittner said she and a team created a pair of crow boots that took about four years to finish.
“It was amazing to just see how it’s done. You appreciate the work a lot more after you’ve tried it yourself,” she said.
“There’s so much hidden work in there, which we usually don’t see.”
The gallery’s regular hours are Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 1pm. People can visit the craft store in the gallery, which showcases pieces from local artists like earrings, mukluks, slippers, and mittens.