Master Snowshoe Maker To Teach Craft At The Presque Isle Library
Father and son Brian and Edmond Theriault of Fort Kent have been making traditional, hand-weaved snowshoes for four decades. In recent years, the pair have been holding sessions teaching others how to make their own snowshoes. Brian Theriault will be at the Mark & Emily Turner Library in Presque Isle on Wednesday.
The Theriaults have produced an instructional DVD called Maine Traditional Snowshoes and a book Leaving Tracks: A Maine Tradition. Brian Theriault says the book "Shows how my dad and I select the ash tree in the woods, process cow hides, shape the wood into frames, and make snowshoe molds. We describe the tools and show diagrams with measurements on how to weave traditional snowshoes. By putting a piece of rawhide and two sticks together, you get transportation. We call our snowshoes usable art."
The Theriaults, winners of the 2015 Fellowship from the Maine Arts Commission for Master Snowshoe Makers, say Leaving Tracks: A Maine Tradition walks readers through the entire process, even if they only have basic woodworking experience. Brian says "It contains almost ninety diagrams and over three-hundred-and-fifty pictures. We’ve worked diligently to explain even the minutest of details. All weaving patterns are divulged, as well as how to make and use the various tools readers will encounter.”
The Theriault Snowshoes Method is a refinement of traditional snowshoes methods of the Saint John Valley area that were collaborative methods between First Nations people and early French settlers. Theriault says family snowshoes are made from scratch with raw materials, using molds and tools that he and his father designed and produced.
Brian Theriault will appear at the Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library in Presque Isle Wednesday evening at 6 pm to discuss his book, display his handcrafted snowshoes in a book signing and presentation.
Library Director Sonja Eyler says he will also demonstrate easy-to-follow steps for beginning artists looking to make their own winter shoes.