The hottest hobby in Cartwright? Making snowshoes

More women — and even kids — are learning a venerable craft in Labrador.

'It really is a challenging craft,' says Cartwright resident Olive Davis

Olive Davis, second from left in the back row, stands with other participants of a snowshoe-making class. (Submitted)

A Cartwright woman says she was inspired to learn how to make snowshoes, something usually dominated by men, and now she is teaching it to others.

"I am hooked, I really enjoy it. It's fun," says Olive Davis.

"I thought it would be something really interesting to try because it is a traditional craft and it was probably a necessity to just about every family who lives in Labrador at some point."

She isn't the only one — a class of about a dozen people recently had eight women, and more are signed up for the fall.

'Challenging craft'

Davis cautions it isn't the most easygoing of hobbies.

"It really is a challenging craft, I can tell you that. You have to be determined, you have to be committed. Because if you're not, you're not going to get anywhere with it," she told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning.

"Everything has to be done right. If you miss a step or you make a mistake and leave it, you're going to pay for it later if you keep on going."

Davis says she is 'hooked' when it comes to making snowshoes. (Submitted)

That said, Davis stresses, newcomers shouldn't be scared off.

"Before this I didn't even look at a pair of snowshoes," she said, laughing.

And before the course was even over, Davis, the student, became the teacher.

"It's a 40-hour course and the other instructor had to give it up a bit early, so I finished the course for him," she said, adding she is teaching another class.

Women, men and kids

Davis said it's also heartening to see a younger generation learning the skill, too.

"We had a couple of children, two boys, in our class — they mastered it as well," she said.

Davis said the toe and heel areas are especially tricky, but practice makes perfect — and hopefully will encourage other women to give it a shot.

"It is a men's thing [traditionally] … so it's great that a lot of women have learned how to do it."

With files from Labrador Morning