Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog

Accentuating Tlingit Traditions

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“Resilience” Chilkat Robe

February 11th, 2013 by Clarissa

“Resilience” Chilkat robe “pattern board” draft – copyright Clarissa Rizal 2013

I think it’s either brave of me to reveal to the world a Chilkat pattern board I recently designed, or I am plain stupid.  Is it taboo to show a pattern board of a Chilkat robe I am planning on weaving this Summer?  Will someone steal this idea before I get around to weaving it, or do a rendition of it?  Am I “jumping the gun” and sabotaging the energy of actually weaving this robe by sharing the pattern board?  Anyone want to share your thoughts on this?

I have wanted to weave the idea of this robe since 1985; I finally got around to drafting up the design – I actually have the full-size “pattern board” – just the design field (without the borders) measures 48″ w x 28″h.  The following is the design meaning:

“Resilience” is a “document” depicting icons of Western influences that changed our Northwest Coast indigenous peoples during the past 300+ years, and Native logos reflecting cultural integration and strength.

The Icons and their meanings:

•            ships – Russians, Spanish and English explorers/traders

•            double doors flanked by columns – museums, collectors, anthropologists

•            pair of hands holding the gold pan – mining, western monetary system

•            cross – Christianity, missionaries, organized religions, boarding schools

The Logos and meanings:

•            Eagle and Raven represents the clan system-the fundamental foundation of the culture; also represents the Tlingit and Haida Central Council (logo) established in 1935

•            Within each wing, logos of the ANB (Alaska Native Brotherhood) established 101 years ago in 1912 and the ANS (Alaska Native Sisterhood) were first indigenous civil rights groups in the U.S. – these two organizations gave “flight” for indigenous rights

•            Within the chest of the Eagle and Raven, the Sealaska Corporation logo, 1 of 13 Regional Native Corporations of Alaska spawned from the passing of the Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) in 1971 – these organizations reflect the “heart” of the present-day cultures’ integrating western ways of living and conducting western business while maintaining cultural values and ethics

•            Tail  – the new “rudders”; the new institutions created to assist in archiving, preserving and perpetuating the Native cultures of today; depicted is the Sealaska Heritage Institute (logo) established in 1980.

I plan on including Ravenstail weaving patterns in the “water” behind the ships and in the white “pillars.”  I’ll also weave Ravenstail here and there in the robe.  It’s fun to incorporate the Ravenstail weaving patterns into the Chilkat robes.

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