Iglooliutuu (Igloo Maker)
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Notes from DaVic Gallery: ‘Iglooliutuu (Igloo Maker)’ – An igloo is basically a dome of ice cubes and snow. Inuit use snow to make their homes because the air pockets in the snow act like insulation. The snow used for the igloos has to have structural strength to be able to be cut without breaking and then be easily stacked. The ice cubes are cut by a handmade knife. The Inuit often take one block of snow out of the igloos structure to form a window. Some Inuit even make a hole through the ice inside of the dome to be able to ice fish inside their homes.
An Inuit men can build an igloo in about one hour. To prevent cold air from coming inside the igloo, a tunnel is dug in the snow and a door is put at the end of the tunnel to not let the cold air penetrate the igloo. The entrance (tunnel) acts like a trap to cold air so it doesn’t go inside the Inuit’s dwelling. Outside an igloo temperatures varied at about -45c. and inside of an igloo the temperature varied between about -7c. to about 16c. when the only source of heat is body heat.
When the Inuits build their igloos the sleeping areas are always higher than the other areas. That is because heat goes upwards and coldness stays towards the ground. When there is a source of heat inside the igloo the walls tend to melt and then refreeze to make a layer of ice on the walls and then reinforce the structure of the igloo. That said not all Inuit live and build igloos only the Inuit of Canada central Arctic and Greenland live and build igloos. The interior of the Inuit igloos was warm, but ventilation was poor. Benches made of snow blocks were built around the walls serving as seats during the day time and a base for the beds at night. The platforms were covered with caribou skins and furs. Animal skins were also used as door flaps to keep warm air in and the cold wind out. A qulliq provided light and heat. Harpoons and spears were stored in the roof area.