If all of the Tlingit elders I knew as a child and young adult such as my maternal grandparents Juan and Mary Sarabia, and all my aunts and uncles, and my first Tlingit “teacher” Harry K. Bremner Sr. and my Chilkat weaving teacher/mentor Jennie Thlunaut, saw the Tlingit ceremonial regalia and contemporary art I have created for nearly 40 years, would they be basically pleased with my work? If so, then I know I have listened to them and followed through with their guidance. If not, I wonder what additional guidance would they provide for me? — Clarissa Rizal April 2015
The Raven T’akDein Taan (black-legged kittywake) Clan members from Hoonah/Glacier Bay, Alaska are known for their Native songs; many are noted for their artistry. Clarissa Rizal holds true to her clan identity as a full-time, multi-faceted artist since 1977 working in fiber, painting, music, print-making and sculpture. Clarissa specializes in design and creation of Tlingit ceremonial regalia. Since 1983, Clarissa has designed and created more than 60 Chilkat, Ravenstail and Button blanket robes. She is currently working on a book featuring her ceremonial robes, each portraying original design and story. Website: www.clarissarizal.com
Clarissa continues to fulfill a promise to her teacher/mentor, the late Jennie Thlunaut, to help revive Chilkat weaving by conducting workshops and apprenticeships. Clarissa authored “Jennie Weaves An Apprentice – A Chilkat Weavers’ Handbook” which received a HAIL (Honoring Alaska’s Indigenous Literature) Award in 2008. Other awards include several Native American Art Markets’ Best of Show:
- 1992 & 1994 Lawrence Indian Art Show in Lawrence, Kansas
- 1994 Santa Fe Indian Market in New Mexico
- 2002 Heard Museum Indian Market in Phoenix, Arizona
- 2004 and 2006 Sealaska Juried Art Show in Juneau, Alaska.
Fellowships and grants include:
- 1st Peoples Fund, Evergreen Longhouse, Olympia, WA
- Pilchuck School of Glass, Stanwood, WA
- Smithsonian, NMAI, Washington, D.C.
- Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT
- Rasmuson Foundation, Anchorage, AK
Clarissa receives her Bachelors of Fine Arts and Business Certificate at the Institute of American Indian Arts, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Clarissa also enjoys creating contemporary paintings and collages allowing her a freedom of expression beyond the structural elements of Tlingit form line art. Clarissa’s work is in private collections, corporations, as well as public institutions with the %-For-Arts Programs. Her work has also been featured in corporate annual reports, book covers, calendars and posters.
A founding board member of the non-profit arts organization, Artstream Alaska sponsored arts and arts education events in Alaska and Colorado. Clarissa is an artist giving back to her community, working with and for other artists. Under AA, she initiated and co-directed many projects and events including: the Shaax’SaaniKeek’ Weavers’ Circle – the gatherings of indigenous Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers; the Northwest Coast Native Dance Regalia Documentary project; the Navajo & Chilkat weavers’ cross-cultural exchange; hosted the Whistlepig monthly house concerts featuring musicians/singer-songwriters from across the nation; and spearheaded the Biennial Northwest Coast Native Artists’ Gathering and Evening concert. Self-employed since 1977, she also owned Kahtahah Landscape Gardeners, 1981-1993; and was co-owner of the online daily news source, the Pagosa Daily Post (’04-’09).
Born to the late William and Irene Lampe, Clarissa has three children who are all self-employed artists:
Kahlil Hudson MFA in Film and Cinematography, UCLA; Teaches film at Institute of American Indian Arts; co-owner of Finback Films Inc.
Lily Hope MA, Education, UAS; weaver, actress, storyteller; owner of Northwest Coast Weavers Supply.com and visit her website at: www.lilyhope.com
Ursala Hudson BA, Ft. Lewis; web designer, photographer, oil painter/print-maker & President of local charter school. Visit one of her many websites: www.whiterabbitstudio.us
Clarissa’s seven grand-children are: Elizabeth, Louis, Mary & Eleanor Hope, Violet Hudson, Amelie and Simone Haas.
Clarissa’s Blog: latest projects, classes and travel: www.clarissarizal.com/blog
All photos on this website and blog ©Clarissa Rizal, unless otherwise noted