For the past four years he has been an instrumental
figure in the growing revival of traditional qayaq and
angyaq (umiak) building among the Yukon-Kuskokwim
delta's Yup'ik Eskimo people on Alaska's Bering Sea coast.
Working with Elders, adult community members, and
school kids, Skip has been studying and teaching
qayaq-building in several mainland communities, and
also on Nunivak Island, where he was given the name
Qayista, or "Qayaq-builder". The net result of this work
so far is the establishment of nearly a dozen new
qayaq-builders in several villages, and completion of
the first new qayaqs in these villages after a four to
five decade hiatus.
Skip's Alaskan work makes him both student and
teacher. He has met with more than a handful of
surviving Yup'ik Sea qayaq hunters and paddlers,
talking informally or by in-depth interview, and has
gained a fairly detailed picture of the "nuts and
bolts" of Bering Sea qayaq use, travel and management.
In the course of this work he has examined or surveyed
several qayaqs and frames in villages that have been
unavailable for previous study.
When not in Alaska, Skip offers this same level of
skin boat training and expertise in one-on-one master
classes to inhabitants of the "lower 48" out of his
Orcas Island boatshop in Washington State.
He wrote two books:
Canoes and Kayaks for the Backyard Builder
International Marine of Camden Maine. 1986
Umiak, An Illustrated Guide
(Illustrated by Tina Rose)
Walrose & Hyde, 1997
and is working on some others.
The KAYAK DESIGN DVD
is the lastest deal at Kayak Way. We also spent two months,
July and August 2004, at a wilderness boatbuilding camp on Nunivak Island
(and got lots of video footage) which will be showing up in various W&H
publications. We hope to release Nunivak footage and an updated Sewing project
this coming year too.