Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog

Accentuating Tlingit Traditions

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A Weavers’ Tour Begins With a Weaving Class & Weaver’s Gathering

July 4th, 2013 by Clarissa

Yukon and Alaskan Weavers in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory – June 2013 – on the Yukon River — L to R front row:  Stefanie Sidney, Crystal Rogers, Nita Clark, Clarissa Rizal, Charlene Baker, Sherri Atlin, Ann Smith —   L to R 2nd row:  Heather Callahan, Cherish Clarke, Ricky Tagaban, Pamela Adamson, Teahonna James, Diane Knopp

In the Yukon a dedicated group of people is working to preserve an ancient cultural tradition. To teach the art of Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving the past is becoming alive again and becoming a force that is weaving itself into dance, song and other cultural aspects of the people of our Northwest coast Alaska, B-C and the Yukon.

Enjoy the interview with Clarissa and visit the new robes of today….

http://www.cbc.ca/north/features/weaving-and-words/

First day of weaving class in the Elder’s Room of the Kwaanlin Dun Cultural Center on the banks of the Yukon River, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

Over 20 years ago, after a gathering of Chilkat weavers, Ann Smith said she wanted to host a Gathering in her hometown of Whitehorse, Yukon — Finally, after attending Weavers’ Gatherings in Prince Rupert, Alert Bay, Sitka, Juneau, Hoonah, and Haines, with the assistance of Charlene Alexander, festival coordinator for the Adaka Festival, we made this happen in Whitehorse!

Ann demonstrates to Teahonna one of several methods on how to measure your warp for your project

Ann and I had a total of 12 new students; she taught 6 weavers interested in Ravenstail weaving and I taught 6 weavers interested in Chikat weaving.

The white board listing all the weavers in the class…

While Ricky continues to spin warp, Ann demonstrates to Georgianna and Heather how to warp the loom

Clarissa explains to Georgianna the importance of perfection in the first row of weaving, the anchor row.

Crystal assists Pamela on her fingering technique

It’s a wonderful thing when an experienced apprentice helps her fellow beginner student learn the basics of weaving.

Ricky weaves below the full moon window designed by Kwaanlin Dun artist, Justin Smith

The Elder’s Room has great ambiance for a weaving class – perfect in size of room with very good natural lighting, the glass walls dividing us from the cultural center’s hallway that provided us privacy yet the general public could watch what we were doing, AND it was the only room in the cultural center that had perfect air-conditioning during hot, muggy sunshine!

Ann demonstrates to Pamela while Diane looks on

Nita is happy that the fingering is coming so naturally for her!

12-year-old Amber Baker re-visits the weaving she began when she was 9 years old. Even though she was reluctant to do it, she agreed to take out the weaving (cuz it showed too  many “teeth”) and start all over again.

Wayne Price and Dan Shorty pay a visit during our “visiting hours”

9am to 1pm was reserved for the Weaving Class where there were no visitors allowed so we were not interrupted during instruction time – 1pm to 8pm were hours reserved for the Weavers’ Gathering open to any and all visitors and any weavers who wanted to join us during those hours

Ravenstail weaver Dan Shorty and Charlene Baker check out Sherri Atlin’s work

Teahonna James, whose family is from Klawock, Alaska is weaving her very first ever weaving in Ravenstail, making a double-sided pouch

Dan tries to help Ricky weave the side braids, while Teahonna learns what Heather just learned

Stefanie Sidney joined the class a few days after everyone else and wove like the dickens to catch up!

Crystal Rogers begins weaving her Ravenstail leggings

Vancouver artist Alano Edzerza visits Charlene Baker weaving a commissioned Ravenstail headband

Amber prepares her slipknots

Pamela and Ann inspects and congratulates Diane’s completed weaving

Happy weavers create happy weavings which when worn help create happy dancers creating happy families and communities!

Heather, Ricky and Cherish enjoy one anothers’ cozy company

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