Margaret Abraham

Margaret Abraham is a Yupik Eskimo from the village of Bethel, Alaska. She comes from a multi-generational family of artisans. Her brother and uncles are well-known Yupik mask carvers and Margaret is an accomplished doll maker following in her mother’s artistic tradition. She has passed on her doll making techniques to her daughter, Shelee Chamberlain.

Margaret uses natural materials including fur, leather, fish skin, bone and cottonwood to create dolls that depict the Yupik village way of life. She handcrafts dolls in action as dancers, berry pickers, hunters and bow-makers, often dressing them in kuspuks. Frequently worn by Alaska Natives, a kuspuk is a hooded over-shirt with a large front pocket, tunic-length, falling somewhere from below the hips to below the knees. Women’s kuspuks may have an extra length of fabric gathered at the bottom, resembling a skirt. Margaret crafts the doll’s faces, hands and feet from cottonwood found in the Bethel region.

Margaret was honored with a Rasmuson Foundation Folk and Traditional Arts Artist Fellowship Award in 2007 to continue creating dolls, mukluks, yo-yos, and baskets.  

The Fisherman
The Fisherman Yupik Doll by Margaret Abraham