Isaac came home with me this weekend. He’s from Shishmaref, way up north of here. He was made by Molly and Vincent Tocktoo. He is what is known as a horn doll or a bone doll, which were originally used to teach little girls how to make parkas.
If it gets too hot, you can take off his parka. Molly laughed and blushed a little when she told me this. Isaac is a very quiet young man, and sits in his corner on the shelf, watching Gizmo sleep. I wish I could have brought home some of his relatives, but I think he’s happy enough by himself.
Here’s a horn doll, also made by Molly and Vincent. And more information on the Alaska Native Arts Foundation website – go to “Shop” and search by artist for Vincent and Molly Tocktoo. On this website, it explains that Vincent carves the body out of reindeer antler, while Molly sews the parka, mittens, pants and mukluks. Neither of them speak much English, so I didn’t get to ask many questions. And when I asked what Isaac’s name is, with the help of the woman they were sharing a booth with, Vincent just laughed and finally said “Santa!”. Later Isaac whispered his real name to me.