Josie Lethbridge: Labrador Grasswork- an intricate, timeless craft

Title: Labrador Grasswork- an intricate, timeless craftFullSizeRender
Process: Grasswork
Instructor: Josie Lethbridge
Workshop Duration: Three Days
Date: Friday 16, Saturday 17, Sunday 18 October 2015
Location: Norris Point Town Hall

T he origin of basket making in Labrador is difficult to pinpoint, but the strongest evidence points to its similarities to Alaskan basketry, both in method and design, and therefore would be historically indigenous to the Arctic and sub-Arctic Inuit.

The Labrador grass work is of the sewn coiled type of construction, consisting of bunches of grass being sewn into a continuous coil by a whip stitch with a needle, thimble, and grass as thread. The Latin word for the grass is, Ammophila arenavia or “ivik” in Inuktitut. It is commonly called salt water grass, sea grass or goose grass. It grows along the coast of Labrador and in Hamilton Inlet.
Grass work has a variety of purposes. Good quality, finely sewn grass is waterproof and has been used in a practical way for waterproof  hats and buckets as well as for containers and mats of all shapes and sizes. The grass work is also hardy and stands up to long years of use as place mats for hot pots. Grass work is crafted in all sizes from doll miniatures to large baskets, mats and trays up to ten and fifteen inches ( 25 – 40cm ) in diameter.

There are only a few grass-sewers left on the Labrador today, in this three day workshop Josie Lethbridge will share with you and help preserve this beautiful, intricate and timeless craft. During this workshop you will create your own coaster and learn the basic skills to enable you to continue exploring grasswork.


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