Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog

Accentuating Tlingit Traditions

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Clarissa’s Child-size Chilkat Robe

August 26th, 2013 by Clarissa

A Chilkat face: when we finish the eyebrows, the weaving can “express” how it feels…

Besides the clan emblem or the story a Chilkat robe image has to convey, I experience the emotional/spiritual aspect of the robe itself.  Every robe I’ve woven gifts me with a different experience that transcends just the technical aspects of weaving.

Two years ago I finished the “Jennie Weaves and Apprentice” Chilkat robe.  During the four years the robe was on my loom, the weaving of this robe “held me up” and “saved my life” during a very rough length of time; I was actually able to weather some big “storms.”   This year I completed the “Diving Whale Lovebirds” Chilkat robe; after nearly 30 years of weaving, I finally felt like I actually KNEW what I was doing.  I didn’t really have to think about weaving (and as some of you know how to weave, this type of weaving requires a lot of thinking!).  My total time on the robe was 6 months!  I remember Jennie saying that she could weave a full-size, full-design Chilkat robe in 6 months and that was hard for me to believe.  Over the years, I have come to believe many of the things she said.  She gave me many gifts.

A Chilkat Face: When we finish the eyes, the robe can see into our world…

This child-size Chilkat robe that I am presently weaving  is my robe of gratitude; a time of giving thanks for this gift of learning Chilkat and sharing Chilkat, a time of appreciation for all the folks who, especially during this weavers’ tour and especially the past 5 years of my life, have been there in whatever time and shape.  I hold this robe with affection as if it is a grandchild; very close as as I know the very thing that provides me the happiness also has the other side of the coin, and some day it shall “fly away” and not be in the same position I had become accustomed to know.  This Chilkat robe is my time of experimentation, a time of expanding into things I have not normally done, whether it be reflected in the weaving, reflected in a thought pattern or behavior.  I look forward to my internal world expanding, ever eternal as we all are…

Stay tuned to see the progress of this robe.  Thank you for making the time to be a part of my life via visiting my blog!  Gunal’cheesh!

A Chilkat Face: when we complete the nose, the weaving can smell everything about you and your world – and when the mouth is completed the weaving can communicate with you…

A Chilkat Face: …and when Clarissa starts re-drawing her Chilkat robe design, uh oh, watch out…she might take another 10 years before she is happy with the image…!

 

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