Edmond and Brian J. Theriault have been making traditional snowshoes for over thirty years. Brian decided to make the DVD/VHS video to detail the dying art form. The video shows how the Theriaults get ash trees in the woods, cow hides, and make traditional snowshoes. The Theriaults make their own molds and built most of their own tools. They cut up the ash trees into strips of wood for the frames. They also take the cowhides, fleshing the skin and scraping the hair off, and then cut and size the rawhide for weaving. By putting a small piece of rawhide and two sticks together, the Theriaults get transportation. They call their snowshoes 'usable art.
Brian has been making snowshoes for almost thirty years. He began learning with his father, who decided to learn for himself, because there was no money to buy snowshoes for his eleven children. Edmund picked up rudiments of snowshoe making from older snowshoe makers, then began to experiment with how to make them better. For two decades Brian and his father, Edmond have turned out hundreds of pairs of snowshoes. They tan, scrape and prepare the cowhide leather for the harnesses and rawhide for webbing. They split and bend the black ash, using molds which they have refined for almost thirty years. They have worked on improving the webbing and have created some original patterns based on older local models.
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AN ORGANIZATION OF CRAFTERS
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