Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog

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Huna Totem 40th Anniversary Button Robe

June 14th, 2013 by Clarissa

Clarissa finalizes her button blanket design for the Huna Totem’s celebration of their 40th anniversary

Back in February, I was given a week deadline in a competition to draft up a design that reflected one of Southeast Alaska’s Native Corporation’s 40th anniversary vision statement:  “…sailing the canoe of our ancestor’s into the future…”  I don’t know if I have ever been successful at drafting up a winning design in that short amount of time, but somehow the image came very easily to me and within a day I had the proposal and design done – that’s unheard of in my experiences.

“Stitch witchery” iron-on interfacing assists in applying the cut applique to the robe body – however, this stitch witchery must have been old because the fusion to the wool fabric did not work – alas, I had to hand-baste the design down before sewing it.

The robe was presented during the Huna 40th celebration at the Cannery Point in Hoonah, Alaska on Saturday, July 27th.  Click here for the blog entry.

The unfinished robe; still needs the face in the Copper T’naa, the teeth on the shark and the “mountains”

The name of this robe is based on Huna Totem’s request:  “…sailing the canoe of our Grandfathers into the future…”  The Design explanation is as follows:

…there are four clans in Hoonah whose crests are depicted on the canoe L to R:   The Chookaneidi clan’s octopus crest, the WooshkeeTaan clan’s Shark crest, the Kaagwaantaan clan’s wolf crest and the T’akDeinTaan clan’s black-legged kitty-wake crest.  In the canoe are the Raven and the Eagle moieties each holding the Copper T’naa which represents the history, culture, wealth and arts.  The Eagle and Raven moeities each share in the responsibility of carrying our culture in the canoe of our Grandfathers’ into the future…”

What the robe looks like when it is on a body! – by the way, my  model’s name is Dan Shanks

The cool thing about this commemorative 40th-year robe is that it can be worn in ceremony by any one from the four main clans from Hoonah, AND it can be hung on the corporate walls of Huna Totem…I really like the idea of its versatility.

After laying out the buttons under my direction, Lis begins to glue down the “Mt. Fairweather range”… which completes the robe

I never got a professional shot of the completed robe, not even a snap shot of the robe – so I cannot show you the entire robe until somebody sends me a photograph!  Quick! – If you happened to be at the 40th anniversary celebration event in Hoonah and you have got a photograph of me doing the presentation, go for it and email me an image – and of course, I may want to use it in this blog entry and of course, I will give you photo credit!  Thank you!

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