I have included some pictures from a buying trip to a village in Quebec to show how traditional moosehide leather is smoked. You can click on the pictures for an enlargement.
The name of the Cree craftswoman and her husband and the exact location are not disclosed for business reasons.
Participating in this smoking was an exciting experience that I will remember forever. I would like to thank this couple and all of the Cree who have shown me such hospitality on my trips to Quebec.
Smoking the moosehide in the summer camp.
This process takes 10 to 20 minutes depending upon how dark you want the leather to be. The longer, the darker.
Rotten pine wood is used to smoke the bark. The source of the perfect wood is closely guarded secret.
A close up of the wood.
Tag are sewn into the hide to permit hanging during smoking.
A canvas foot is sewn onto the hide to prevent damage during smoking.
The hide is made into one big sock to permit even smoking and coloring of the skin.
Cecilia Edwards in the background overserving the smoking in progress.
The top is sewn shut to keep the smoke in.
Hardly any smoke escapes the bottom skirt.
The room slow fills with smoke as the smoke escapes through the pores of the hide.
It'sgetting smoky in here.
Aluminum foil is used to cover the bark to reduce the amount of smoke in the tent.
The smoking pot is quickly removed from the cabin.
The pot is taken away from the cabin to burn out.
The covered pot of bark is left to burn out.
Another hide is soaking in water.
The hide is carefull taken down.
Boy, it's smoky in here.
The canvas foot is ripped off the bottom of the hide.
The hide is almost ready to be opened.
Removing the canvas foot.
Getting ready to pull apart the hide.
Starting to tug at the hide to break the sewing that kept the hide closed during smoking.
Pulling apart the hide to rip the seam.
Continuing to tug at the hide.
Just a bit more.
Perfection. Look at how evenly the hide has been smoked.
The Cree in Quebec make some of the nicest smoked moosehide in the country.
Attention to detail stands out in this hide.
Folding the hide for the trip back to Toronto.
Another happy customer.