Fort Kent, Maine– For father and son Brian J. and Edmond Theriault, making snowshoes has been a four-decade passion that has taken them from novices to world-class craftsmen. However, fearing that the art may be dying out among the wider population, the duo have written a book to help anyone create their own traditional snowshoes with relative ease.
Good time to start making tools and getting ready for the upcoming season.
Brian has been making snowshoes for almost forty 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. Edmond 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 forty years.
These days, traveling over or through snow with snowmobiles or plows is easy. But it wasn’t always so, and during a fierce Maine winter people still had to get around, often in waist-deep snow. Brian Theriault and his father Edmond of Fort Kent have been making traditional snowshoes to give timber cutters and Maine Guides a means of getting around regardless of the terrain or the amount of snow on the ground. As the elder Theriault says, “just a little strip of wood, a piece of skin, and you have transportation.
Master Snowshoe Makers