Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog

Accentuating Tlingit Traditions

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Yellow Cedar vs. Red Cedar in Chilkat Warp

March 18th, 2013 by Clarissa

Yellow cedar (approximately) 1/8″ strips – the color darkens to the like of red cedar because the sap is cooked out of the cedar in order to spin with the wool

A new student of Chilkat asked me a very good question:  does it matter if we spin our Chilkat warp with yellow or red cedar bark strips?  Is there a significant difference?

Yes, it does matter if we use yellow or red.   However, the option is up to the weaver.  And sometimes a spinner/weaver does not have a choice because of availability.

Yellow cedar is more pliable and supple than red.  The yellow cedar and wool spin up smoothly for Chilkat warp.  Some of us will use the red IF we do not have yellow available.  The red does not split as evenly or smoothly as yellow.  Warp with red cedar is a bit more stiff than warp with yellow (of course too this depends on the wool/bark ratio).

Split cedar strands hang alongside prepared wool roving on an antique drying rack – ready for spinning Chilkat warp!

You will notice red cedar used in the old Chilkat robes.  These robes have a bit more “body” than those robes woven with yellow cedar warp.  Like I mentioned, the preference is up to the spinner/weaver, and the whether or not the spinner/weaver has a choice in the availability of red or yellow cedar.

 

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