Love Local: Northwestern Alberta Creators & Makers L&L Crafts | Manning, AB
Originally from Trochu, AB, Linda Watson, 72, has lived in Manning, AB for the last 47 years. Linda worked at the Manning Community Health Centre before retiring at 65.
What’s your origin story? How did you get into making moccasins?
While living in Deadwood, several courses were being offered at the community hall. I decided to enroll in a course on how to make moccasins, gauntlet mitts and mukluks.
Our instructor was Mary Grimm from Grimshaw. The course itself was very intensive, as you not only had to learn how to bead but also put the product together. Several times, I thought about giving up but I persevered and became very adept at making all three.
I later taught the course in the Deadwood and Manning area.
Eventually, I decided to attend the Manning Farmers’ Market to sell a few and make money for Christmas gifts. This was the beginning of a very long and prosperous journey for me, which I have immensely enjoyed over the years. The first market I attended was in the 1980s.
Please describe a few of your products and how they’re made.
At present I only make moccasins as they are very time-consuming. The beading alone takes a tremendous amount of time, so I start in January and work every day for two months to get ready for assembling the product.
I make a beaded diamond design and an embroidered rose in all different colours to match the leather. My moccasins are made from Alaska split cowhide, shearling and fur trimmed with top-quality rabbit fur.
I work all year making moccasins as I’m extremely busy in the winter months attending sales in the northern region.
I make sizes ranging from 6-month size to men’s size 13. Prices range from $40 to $75.
Please tell us about the care and attention you put into your work.
When I finish a pair of moccasins, the most important thing of all is the pride I feel.
To me, each and every one is a work of art from the selection of the beadwork or embroidery to the colour of the leather and fur.
The time and commitment I put into these moccasins cannot be expressed in words. I have been doing this hobby now for around forty years and have built a huge clientele.
When I go to a sale, it’s just not about selling, but it’s also about meeting new people and reuniting with people I have sold to for years.
Where can people purchase your moccasins?
My main sales are done during the winter months. I do, however, sell throughout the year as they make good birthday gifts as well.
I also sell them online in Alberta and throughout Canada. I have customers from the United States as well. I go to as many in-person sales as I can in my own area, which I have come to love and look forward to.
I will continue to make moccasins for as long as I can and hope to pass it down to a family member.
For more information, email email@example.com or call 780-836-2133.