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  • Photograph of a woman using an ulu to scrape and prepare a ringed seal skin.
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Tugak using an ulu to prepare a ringed seal skin.
Arctic Bay, 1984
Photograph by Jill Oakes

Tools and Skin Preparation

When I was little I started playing with scrapers and tools by practicing on skins.
Irene Quqshuun, 1986

The production of Inuit footwear is a lengthy and complex process that involves preparing skins, pattern making, cutting and sewing. To accomplish these laborious tasks, a woman requires a variety of tools, which are very personal and are made specifically for the hands of the woman using them. Significant tools like a woman's ulus were buried with her when she died.