NEA National Fellowship Awardees on You Tube

Here’s the link to watch the nine 2016 NEA Fellowship Awardees perform/present their work on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDVckQQ-LtM

It’s about 2 hours long.  With my entourage, Darlene See, Donna Beaver, Irene Lampe and I are on at about 1:40 in the link (though I have watched the entire video clip)!

Juneau Chilkat & Ravenstail Weavers Gather With A Special Robe

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L to R: Marsha Hotch, Michelle Gray, Debra O’Gara, Douglas Gray, Irene J. Lampe, Catrina Mitchell, Karen Taug, Nila Rinehart, Laine Rinehart, Crystal Nelson, Yarrow Vaara, Lily Hope (with her two children, Louis and Eleanor), and Clarissa Rizal (missing:  Della Cheney, Vicki Soboleff, Kay Parker, Gabrielle and Shgen George) — August 2016

On Sunday, August 28, all the weavers just in the Juneau area who contributed a 5×5 towards the “Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat/Ravenstail robe gathered together for a picnic at Auke Bay Recreation area.  It was the first time everyone was able to see the robe (nearly) completed for the first time since they had submitted their pieces over a month prior.  Exciting, rewarding and quite touching, the shear pleasure of being in the presence of the robe with everyone brought so much pride and unity.

Marsha Hotch made an interesting statement, which I most quote here:

“…It’s actually history in the making. In ancient days robes were cut apart and distributed to leaders new items created from the cut pieces or just put away because they felt it was too valuable, or only to later be found tucked in archival in museums or displayed. This robe was put together from many different people, from many walks of life, different tribes, different clans, different communities, but a people who treasure the ancient skill of weaving.

Many of the woven old robes are in museums. The history and story may not be told anymore but we definitely continue to make history, changes. Congratulations to Clarissa and all the weavers. I can’t wait to see what events this robe will be brought out.”

For more information and continued immediate updates on the this robe, we welcome you to please join the “Weavers Across the Waters” Facebook page.

For past updates of this robe on my blog, click the following links:

Weaving the borders and laying out the 5×5’s — August 2016

 The call for 5×5 entries — April 2016 

Nominating Wayne Price for First People’s Community Spirit Award

 

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Master carver of the traditional Tlingit dugout canoe canoe, Wayne Price with his crew at the canoe races during “KusTeYea Celebration” Teslin Lake, Teslin, Yukon Territory, July 2015

The First People’s Fund put a call out for nominations for their Community Spirit Award.  They asked:  “Do you know a Native artist who has dedicated his or her life and work to sustaining cultural traditions within their commuity?  first Peoples Fund has opened nominations for the 2017 Community Spirit Awards, and we want to hear from you by tomorrow, July 15th! — “If your life has been touched by a Native American, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian artist who embodies the Indigenous values of generosity, integrity, humility and wisdom, consider nominating them for the Community Spirit Awards,” said Lori Pourier, president of First Peoples Fund. — the Community Spirit Awards, launched in 1999, are national grants for established Native culture bearers who demonstrate substantial contributions to their communities through their careers as artists.  Each year, First Peoples Fund seats a national panel to select four to six Community Spirit honorees from tribes across the country.”

So I thought about all the artists that I have known a long, long time, who would fit this bill.  I thought about all the artists that I know who are not just talented in what they do, but are passionate about their lives and sharing their work to the extent that they will leave the comforts of their own home and studio for great lengths of time and share with the younger generations, AND they need money!!!  My friend of 36 years came to mind:  Wayne Price…he fit the bill…this is what I wrote in the nomination:

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Wayne Price stands in front of a portion of a cedar panel he adzed into a “herringbone” pattern; his adzed pattern work is in the entire downstairs of Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Walter Soboleff Center in Juneau, Alaska – Grand Opening of the WSC, May 2015

“For 40+ years, Wayne Price is a Tlingit master carver in silver jewelry yet mainly known for his wood carvings of totem poles, masks, and is one of four men who knows how to carve the traditional dugout Tlingit canoes.  For the past 10 years he has been on an aggressive mission to  educate the general public, mentor and teach the methods of the nearly-extinct dugouts of the Tlingit.  Each canoe takes about 5 to 6 months to complete so these carvings are quite the accomplishment and are designed for ocean-going waves.  He has led expeditions in the wilderness of Southeast Alaska with the younger generation of men in their traditional dugouts that they had carved.    He teaches how to read the ocean, how to hunt and fish, how to survive on the land, and teaches the spiritual laws and ways of being of our people.  In 2007, with no other dance group in Haines, he began a dance troupe called “North Tide” which is also the name of his mentor group of young carvers because he also teaches them the stories, song and dance.  Wayne is passionate about his work and his life and terribly passionate about teaching the next generations; he wants his students to live a clean life without drugs and alcohol; he feels that training his students from a young age in the cultural arts and lifeways is the way to deter them from even having a wagon to fall from!  With his wife Cherri, he owns and operates the Silver Cloud Art Center which is his 16,000 sq. ft. home where he has conducted retreats in weaving, carving, subsistence food hunting and gathering, and dance troupe practices.  The front porch of their house always has a large carving of a totem pole or a dugout canoe in progress with the younger generation at his side either working and/or just listening.    Wayne has lived and worked in almost every community in Southeast Alaska and Yukon Territory; his name and character is known far and wide.  He is a natural born  leader (who he himself will admit he is always still learning).”

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Wayne Price at the rudder with two young folk going for a canoe ride in his latest dugout canoe “Jibba” on Teslin Lake during the biennial “KusTeYea Celebration” — July 2015

We’ll see what happens, Wayne!  If you don’t receive this award this time around, then there’s always a next time.  Just make sure you remain safe and happy cuz we need you for the long haul…!

 

“Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat/Ravenstail Robe Update

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As of June 9th, 2016, these are the very first 5×5 contributions from the following weavers:  Stephany Anderson, Kay Parker, Willy White, Alfreda Lang, Sandy Gagnon, and Dolly Garza

Being the creator (or “mastermind as my Mother would have put it) of this community-based project, would I had known that when I have receive each of these priceless 5×5 woven Chilkat and Ravenstail weavings, I would feel such honor and a privilege to hold each one in the palm of my hands!?  Would I have known that I would feel such pure and raw power in each simple image!?  And would I have known that I would feel such intense protectiveness as I hand-carried these in my carry-on luggage; like worse than when I am transporting a robe that I have designed and made!?!? — In the purity of this power, I feel immense grace and lovingness; I feel such excitement and peace; I feel strength and healing; I feel the connectedness of all beings through the anticipation of connecting all of these weavers’ weavings together.  This is already a powerful robe.  My goodness, we share in the excitement and most likely all of what I feel too in the completion of this robe!

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As of today, July 13, 2016, we have 23 total contributions received from (top to bottom, L to R): Della Cheney, Margaret Woods, Douglas Gray, Lily Hope, Nila Rinehart, Kay Parker, Stephanie Andersen, William White, Karen Taug, Courtney Jensen, Alfreda Lang, Chloe French, Dolly Garza, Georgia Bennett, Rainy Kasko, John Beard, Michelle Gray, Marilee Peterson, Annie Ross, Sandy Gagnon, Pearl Innes, Veronica Ryan and Crystal Nelson

The past couple of nights since my return to Tulsa, which is where I will be working day and night on putting this robe together for the next month, I put a cloth cover over all the little weavings who lay side by side with one another, like the way we cover our weavings for the night.  Already these little ones have become dear.  —-  Thank you to all our present-day weavers who have contributed their talent through a piece of their spirit to become unified as one in this special, ceremonial robe.  We look forward to receiving the other 31 pieces due by the extended deadline of July 19th!

Remember to mail your contribution insured to me at:  Clarissa Rizal, 40 East Cameron Street #207, Tulsa, OK   74103

For more information on the mission and purpose of this robe, please visit the initial “invitational” blog post by clicking this link:  http://clarissarizal.com/blog/calling-all-chilkat-and-ravenstail-weavers/  

My Father’s Day

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Asiatic lilies and 5 red roses grace the headstone of my parent’s graves; William and Irene Lampe — June 2016

A few weeks before my father passed in December 2008, he requested that when I visit his grave, I put 5 red roses in the vase.  I asked why?  He told me:  “In WWII, 4 of my childhood friends were blown up in a tank; we all grew up together, we were best of friends.  I would have been amongst them in that tank had I passed the qualifications of joining the army; I was 1/2 inch too short…”

For Father’s Day this year, I placed 5 red roses to his grave.  In honor of my Mother, I added the fragrant, Asiatic Lily.

Alone in the afternoon misty rain, I stood wondering if I had ever visited graves alone before:  No.

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The headstone of my maternal grandparent’s: Juan and Mary Sarabia — June 2016

 

“Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat/Ravenstail Community Robe Update

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Lily Hope and Clarissa Rizal hold up the first 6 of 54 5×5 squares — June 2016 — photo by Ursala Hudson

The Weavers’ Symposium 5×5 Weaving Class was held June 9th at the Walter Soboleff Building in Juneau, Alaska, 6 weavers (of the 54 total weavers) had already completed their 5″x5″ Chilkat or Ravenstail weaving for the “Weavers Across the Waters” Community Ceremonial Robe.  Those six weavers are as follows (L to R):  Stephany Anderson, Kay Parker, William White, Alfreda Lang, Sandy Gagnon and Dolly Garza, and below, Georgia Bennett!

Huge gratitude to all 54 Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers who are coming together to contribute their unique 5×5 for this exciting, historical project!

For detailed information on the “Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat/Ravenstail Community robe, please click here.

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Georgia Bennett’s 5×5 recently arrived; She calls it her interpretation of “a humpback whale bubble net.” Photo courtesy Georgia Bennett — June 2016

 

 

 

Calling All Chilkat and Ravenstail Weavers

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Invitational design specifications for the “patchwork quilt” or “Granny Square” Chilkat/Ravenstail Robe Project — Collaborative community design concept by Clarissa Rizal; Canoe Community concept by Suzi Vaara Williams

Dear Northwest Coast Chilkat and Ravenstail Weavers:

We invite you to participate in a very unique project which will provide a Chilkat/Ravenstail ceremonial robe to be worn by a dignitary of a hosting community for NWC Canoe Gatherings and/or also to be worn in ceremony during the maiden launch of a traditional dugout canoe.  Imagine this robe will be worn for many generations of canoe gatherings and maiden voyages!  When the robe is not traveling, it will be housed in its own private, glass case in the new “Weavers’ Studio” at the Evergreen Longhouse campus in Olympia, Washington State.  Longhouse Executive Director Tina Kuckkhan-Miller, and Assistant Director Laura Grabhorn are very excited about this project.

If you are interested in participating and donating your time to weave a 5″ x 5″ square, the above illustration provides you with the visual concept.  The information below provides you with clear instructions:

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Project:  A  NWC Weavers’ Invitational  to create a collaborative and unique Chilkat/Ravenstail robe for the NWC communities who host Canoe Gatherings and/or are launching the maiden voyage of a traditional dugout canoe in Washington State, British Columbia, Southeast Alaska and Yukon Territory.

Who is Invited:  This invitational is open to all Indigenous Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers representing all the distinctive tribes of the Northwest Coast.  The invitational is also open to non-Indigenous weavers who are clan members of a NWC tribe via adoption and/or marriage.  Weavers of all levels of experience, from beginner to expert, are invited to contribute!  There are only 54 sections on this unique, one-of-a-kind, Chilkat/Ravenstail robe; if you want to be a part of this historical event, jump in now while you can and commit via email, text or Facebook to Clarissa Rizal by May 15, 2016!   Email address:  clarissa@clarissarizal.com   or text her at:  (970)903-8386   or Facebook:  Clarissa Rizal

Limited number of weavers:  There will be 54 5-inch squares which = 54 separate weavers.  45 of the 54 squares will have 1″ fringe at the bottom.  9 of the 54 squares will have 18″ fringe; these 9 squares will be placed at the very bottom edge of the robe.  If you want to be one of the 9 squares with the 18″ fringe, let me know.  Please refer to the illustration for visual image.  The borders of the entire robe will be woven by Clarissa Rizal after she has laid out the entire 54 squares and sewn them together.  Total approximately measurements of the robe will be 68″ wide x 56″ high (includes fringe)

The Warp:  You will need approximately 12 yards of Chilkat warp.   To keep the thickness and body of the robe consistent, use only Chilkat warp (w/bark), natural color and spun to size 10 e.p.i.  Please DO NOT USE Ravenstail warp.

The Heading Cord:  Instead of a leather cord (like we use in Chilkat weaving), use two strands of your Chilkat warp, this 2-strands of warp instead of leather cord is a technique used in Ravenstail weaving.  The Chilkat warp heading cord will then become a part of your weaving so in this way we avoid any tied knots on the top left and right of your heading cord.

The Weft:  merino or mountain goat wool, size 2/6 fingering weight, in any shades of the traditional colors of black, natural, yellow and blue

The Design:  Weave anything to do with the canoe world; suggestions are to weave symbols of nature, animals, mankind (i.e. mountains, ocean, rivers, lakes, canoes, paddles, faces, claws (though no human hands:  Instead of four fingers, weave three fingers and a thumb)

In addition with your weaving, please provide two things:  1) a brief 100-word max Bio in Word Document and, 2) a photo of yourself with your weaving either finished or in progress  (200 d.p.i./5″ x 7″) —-  I will be providing this information to the Evergreen Longhouse who will be housing this robe when it is not traveling.  I also imagine there may be a small publication (of the robe with all the weavers ) someday printed for each one of us; and why not!?  It would be fun!

DEADLINE to commit:  Extended to May 15, 2016  Email Clarissa with your commitment (suggestions, etc. are welcome too, especially at this time):  clarissa@clarissarizal.com or text her:  970-903-8386 (yes, area code is 970)

DEADLINE for completion:  Postmarked by July 15, 2016   Remember:  Along with your weaving, please include the brief bio and a photo of you and your weaving. (see specs above) If you complete your weaving by the dates of “Celebration” and you are in Juneau, you may hand-deliver your weaving to Clarissa anytime during the month of June, otherwise mail your weaving insured to Clarissa’s address:

Clarissa Rizal, 40 East Cameron St #207, Tulsa, OK   74103

 

“TOUR” SCHEDULE (for the robe) 2016:  

1).  Hoonah, Alaska:  Master carver of dugout canoes, Wayne Price from Haines, Alaska is carving two dugout canoes for the Hoonah Indian Association.  The opening ceremonies will be the maiden voyage of both canoes from Hoonah to Glacier Bay for the dedication of the recently built longhouse on the shores of Glacier Bay on Wednesday, August 24th.

2).  Sitka, Alaska:  Master carver Steve Brown and the Gallanin Brothers are carving a dugout in Sitka, Alaska.

3).  Vancouver, B.C.:  Robe will be part of an exhibit for four months at Sho Sho Esquiro and Clarissa Rizal’s exhibit called “Worth Our Wait In Gold” at the Bill Reid Gallery, Vancouver, B.C., opening Tuesday, October 18th

If you have any information on definite dates for canoe gatherings and maiden voyage of a traditional dugout canoe, please contact Clarissa or Evergreen Longhouse in Olympia, Washington.

NAME OF THIS ROBE:   “Weavers Across the Water” — Thank you, Catrina Mitchell…!

THE ROBE’S HOME:   As I mentioned above, when the robe is not traveling, it will be housed in its own private, glass case in the new “Weavers’ Studio” at the Evergreen Longhouse campus in Olympia, Washington State.  Longhouse Executive Director Tina Kuckkhan-Miller, and Assistant Director Laura Grabhorn will be the travel coordinator’s for this special robe.

COMPENSATION:   As of May 2nd, nearly 40 weavers have committed to this project.  Not one of them asked about compensation.  This is remarkable; it shows the purity of our weavers’ intentions and commitment to our identity and cultural heritage.  Though, I am looking into finding a benefactor who is willing to help support this project.  I’ll keep everyone posted.

SUGGESTIONS, COMMENTS, IDEAS, ETC.:  I encourage and solicit your input.  Please be brave and just communicate with me; no worries.  AND if you want to partake, this is “our” robe! 

How did this idea sprout?  Well you gotta know about Suzi and Clarissa chats:  This project was an idea which stemmed from a chat between Suzi Vaara Williams and I on March 4th.  I mentioned that I  kept seeing everything in “Chilkat”; and Suzi was talking about all the knitting and weaving projects she has got going and asked if I remembered the crocheted “Granny Square” blankets from the 60’s.  Immediately instead of crocheted colors of yarn, I saw a different kind of “Granny Square” blanket — I saw the Chilkat and Ravenstail woven ceremonial blanket!  And when I exclaimed to Suzi my vision, right away she added with glee:  “Oh, oh, ohhhh!  And the robe will be worn during the canoe gatherings up and down the coast!”

We hope you join us in creating this one-of-a-kind ceremonial robe woven by present-day weavers for our present-day canoe gatherings and traditional dugout canoe maiden launches.  This robe will travel for many generations.  Please represent your community and be a part of this historical project.  We appreciate your time, energy and talent!  Truly, Gunalcheesh!

Creating Living Legacies

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Gusts of wind at Monument Valley, near Kayenta, New Mexico — March 2016 — photo by Rene Sioui Labelle

When we are young, many of us do not think in terms of the legacy we leave behind for our children, friends, family, community and the world.  When we are young we are looking forward to all that life has to offer and we make choices based on our desires; this is natural way to think and be.  Then one day, when we are much older than young (and for each individual that age varies), we reflect upon our lives; all those who we have come to love, the places we have lived, the work we have done, and our basic yet evolving character.  We think about our pending mortality.  We think about what we will do, and where we will be with whatever time we have left.  We think about who we have become and what we have accomplished and the who, what, and where these things will be when we pass.  Yesterday my daughter, Lily wrote me a touching letter of gratitude for showing her the way and life of Chilkat weaving.  The following is my response to her:

My Lily Lalanya:

With each of my children and their children, I leave a part of my legacy; it’s the who and what I am about.

With Kahlil, I leave a variety of my artwork:  painting, collage, weaving

With Ursala, I leave my home, studio, garden

With you, I leave my teachings of spirituality, values and technique of  the spiritual/artistic life in Chilkat weaving

Know and come to understand fully all these things are rooted in love.  Everything I co-create is created from love and the best of these creations are my children; my children are my greatest legacy.   In love you were created and creation continues to create you in love.  Look about you and all that you are and be; look at all that you have co-created as you will never create any of what you are and have by yourself — all of creation is co-created…we never create alone. 

We are a culmination of all that has been before, what is now and the future all at once in one small creation:  the I of who we are in this very moment.  All of us are legacies of everyone who has come before us.

It is well you, my dear Lily, are in the love and power of Chilkat; let it continue to guide you in goodness and wellness for many, many years to come.  

Yo Mamma love

Skirting the Saguaros

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Red Ocotillo blossoms amongst Saguaros — all photos by Rene Sioui LaBelle and Clarissa Rizal– copyright 2016 — (photograph hint::  all photos with depth of field are Rene’s)

Even two days ago I did not know I would be amongst these amazing “people”…the Saguaros of Southern Arizona.  I was planning on taking my friend, Rene to the Sonoran desert so he can take photos of the flowering desert, alas, but once we arrived here we found out from the Visitor’s Center that the cactus flowers did not bloom as profusely this mid-March because the area had a warm spell back in February.  So instead, since we were in the area, we visited the Saguaro National Park.  Being amongst these “people” was a happy experience.  It’s only obvious these “people” welcome us with open (upward swing) arms!  Like what does that say to us:  “Welcome to our land…!”

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“Welcome to our country!  Let us direct you this way…!”

The saguaro has been called monarch of the Sonoran Desert, supreme symbol of the American Southwest, and a plant with personality.  It is renowned for the variety of odd, all-too-human shapes it assumes—shapes that inspire wild and fanciful imaginings.  Since 1933 this extraordinary giant cactus has been protected within Saguaro National Park.  Preserved within it are other members of the Sonoran Desert community:  other cacti, desert trees and shrubs, and animals.  In lushness and variety of life, the Sonoran Desert far surpasses all other North American deserts.  And yet it is one of the hottest and driest regions on the continent.

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Rene takes a moment to pose for the sunset

Summer midday temperatures commonly climb above 100 degrees, although our visit was a mild 75 degrees in late March.  Less than 12 inches of rain falls in a typical year.  Between the summer and wintery seasons it’s not unusual for months to pass without a drop of rain.  Plants and animals able to survive in this environment, with adaptations specially designed for desert survival, make up one of the most interesting and unusual ecosystems in the United States.

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Smokey Blue Tucson Mountains

This world awaits you in the desert plains, mountains and foothills of Saguaro National Park.  So what are you waiting for!?!?!  After 24 years of living in the Four Corners area of the U.S., how come it has taken me that long to finally visit these people and their land!?  Readers, if you are in the Phoenix/Tuscon area, please take a day and get your boost of happiness and peace!  Forget paying a shrink for your emotional problems; just get out on the land and run, sit, relax, have a picnic, play music, take photos and hymn with the silence.  It is here you can bury any sorrows or unpleasant memories.  The Saguaro are a happy and people; allow them to be your compassionate hosts!

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First real outing with the CX-90 Volvo

There are two parts to the Saguaro National Park:  Saguaro East–Rincon Mountain District and Saguaro West–Tucson Mountain District.  We visited the latter with the background of the Tucson Mountains.  The park is open daily except Christmas Day.  It’s a normal park with its Visitor Center, self-guiding trails, picnic tables, pit toilets, campground and even back-country campsites (only in the East Rincon District).  If you are a star gazer such as I, hanging out here during the full moon would be exquisite, however, the park closes their gates directly after sunset (no matter what time of year).  Other than your camera(s), make sure you bring plenty of water (for you, your pet, your vehicle, etc.), first aid kit, food, flashlight and a blanket (just in case you break park rules and spend the night under the stars!).

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Rene scopes

Rene and I spent the day here.   I took a few photos upon arrival, but I was compelled to play my flute, sing chants and then run amongst the rock, variety of cactus and the sun to my west, leaving Rene to several hours to himself and his camera.  All photos posted are by Rene Sioui LaBelle and myself.   Let these images inspire you to visit the famous Saguaro soon; they live no where else on this planet!

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Families catch the last rays of the day

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Cholla cactus blossoms

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Clarissa runs

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More Cholla cactus blossoms

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Golden land

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sunset

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sillouettes

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Good night!  Buenas Noches!  Bon Soir!

In Memory of Louise Dangeli

Louise Dangeli weaves Chilkat -- 1991

Louise Dangeli weaves Chilkat — 1991

Every late night

He would take himself down

off the cross

tucking the nails neatly

into the chambers of creation

breathing in the earth

through His feet

a tender smile

accentuated His grace

as He touched what She touched

as He saw what She saw

as He heard what She prayed each day

for the love and safety and peace

for Her family, friends and all She knew

near and far

He answered with His blessing

and presence

by dawn He would climb back up

to His position

though with a lighter heart

knowing fully well Her world

They created

was good

Louise Dangeli “walked into the woods” on Valentine’s Day.  She was one of my very first Chilkat weaving students 25 years ago in 1991, with her daughter Arlene and Carol McCormick (grand-daughter of the McCormick herbs/spices).   She was one of the most outspoken women I have met who did so with soft-spoken, firm grace, so when I found out that one of her clan emblems is the Beaver, that said everything.  I have noticed that grace is a trait of those born in the Beaver clan.  We will miss you, Louise, though many of us are learning your grace.