ANCHORAGE, Alaska — George Albert looked up over thick-rimmed glasses to study the threading pattern William McCarty IV was using to create the webbing of a traditional Athabascan snowshoe.
"Yeah, he's doing good," Albert said. "Yesterday he didn't hardly know nothing about this. Today I don't really have to instruct him at all."
Albert, of Ruby, along with master artists Trimble Gilbert, of Arctic Village and George "Butch" Yaska Sr., of Huslia, gave a three-day master artists' workshop on snowshoe buliding hosted by the Anchorage Museum May 3-6.
McCarty, 18, of Ruby, Daniel Tritt, 26, of Anchorage, and Al Yatlin Sr., 60, of Huslia, served as apprentices under the master crafsmen, carrying on a proud tradition producing one of Alaska's most vitally important survival tools.
"Lots of people use them for trapping, racing and just walking," McCarty said, as he threaded a piece of string through a needle and continued making a net pattern on the top of a snowshoe.