Qiviut is an inner layer of the oxen’s musk fur, from which wool is obtained with better strength than sheep’s wool. Qiviut is also softer than cashmere, and does not shrink in water.
As you may have noticed in previous posts, my stay in Greenland was different than all my previous trips and it was not different only because the atmosphere. First time I have taken the materials promoting Suwałki Region (in the hyperlink you will find a movie promoting Swietne Suwałki, assembled from my movies and pictures made in Greenland) and I went to places where tourists do not always go. Over the years, I regret a little that earlier trips did not look like that. I took pictures, I visited different places, but it was not the same as now :). However, you need to focus on what is and what you can get in the future :).
In the internet, I contacted Anita Høegh, the owner of a small hydro, Qiviut ApS, specializing mainly in the production of clothes made of sealskins and musk’s wool
In Sisimiut, right next to the museum, there is a shop / workshop located in two small wooden houses. Before the meeting, I have been nearby this place several times and I would not say that such an inconspicuous building has a factory that produces such exclusive products.
Anita Høegh initially lived in Kangerlussuaq, where she worked in the tourism area and in her free time (she laughed that if you could have a vacant working in this industry) she dealt with making clothes from sealskins. When the time was passing by, she came up with the idea of getting a leather of the Musket oxen that is called Qiviut and make clothes out of it.
Gold that burned
In the 1960s, 27 individuals of oxen musk’s were introduced in Kangerlussuaq, (some sources say that 17 individuals were moved from the north-east of Greenland, but I will stay at the number 27 given by the Institute of Greenland’s Natural Resources)
The population survived and grew rapidly. The exact number of individuals is unknown, but it is estimated that in Kangerlussuaq varies between 10,000 and 15,000 units.
After the agreement that people can hunt for the oxen musk, their meat immediately appealed to everyone, both local population and tourists. However, at the beginning the hunters did not know what to use the acquired skin for. The skins were burned as nobody knew what can be done with them instead.
Anita, who lived in that area together with other women was collecting the wool that oxen musk at the time of molting combed on the branches. Seeing the quality of the dappled fur, she decided to try to obtain wool directly from the skins. She made an agreement with several hunters and bought back a few of them, „which were worth as much as peanuts back then”.
Through the trial and error method, she developed her own way of obtaining the purest wool from which she started making clothes. Hobby and an additional source of income turned into regular work.
That’s how her story looked like. In order not to summarize the following film material anymore, I cordially invite you to Anita’s speech, where she talks about her beginnings.
Have a nice watch!