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/  

Bernie Worrell “Walks Into the Forest”

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Bernie Worrell – rehearsing with Native-inspired jazz funk band “Khu.eex” — June 2014

72-year-old Bernie Worrell “walked into the forest” today.  Pretty much a whirling wizard since he began playing piano at 3 years old, It’s hard to describe the feelings of loss.  His musical influence reached vast and wide; even Stevie Wonder learned new styles of riffs from Bernie.  Yet what I remember most about Bernie was his natural gracious humility.

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Bernie Worrell — June 2014

Bernie was our keyboard artist in our Native-inspired jazz funk band “Khu.eex” which was formed in December 2014.  Our first double LP’s will be released during our performance in Seattle (July 9th); little did we know our band and the recordings would be the last musical sounds with Bernie Worrell.

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Bernie Worrell and Stanton Moore — rehearsing with the band “Khu.eex” — June 2014

Read more of Bernie Worrell’s musical genius, please check out his website at:  www.bernieworrell.com ——  So many in the musical world will miss you, Mr. Bernie Worrell…!  Big hugs and lots of love to all who knew him and especially to Bernie’s family!

 

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!

Chilkat Apprentices Complete Chilkat Apron

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The older Chilkat apron, most likely started by Doris Kyber-Gruber in the early 70s is held in front of the new Chilkat apron started by Doris’ friend, Dodie Gannet in the late 80s — The folks have finished the newer apron! They are (LtoR): Sally Ishikawa, Jodi Zimmerman, Margaret Jeppesen, Margaret Woods, Stephany Anderson and their consultant Ravenstail weaver extraordinaire, John Beard — December 2014

The “Apron Apprentices” (as they call themselves) have completed the Chilkat apron!  Congratulations!  The dedication is commendable!  Here is a video clip showing the removal-of-the-apron-from-the-loom today by Ann Carlson – https://youtu.be/AW5sFVWs8_Q

Here’s an earlier blog post from December 2014 when I helped guide these weavers with a few more tricks of the trade in Chilkat weaving and this post also provides a story about how this apron came into the hands of these fiber artists/weavers in Oregon:  http://clarissarizal.com/blog/the-apron-apprentices-oregon/

Thank you to Deana Dartt, Curator of Native American art at the Portland Art Museum for providing financial support in helping these weavers to complete this apron.  The apron will become part of their permanent collection, which is befitting because of the lineage of Chilkat weavings that PAM has in its collection.  We believe that there is no other institution that has the lineage of teacher/student/teacher/student, etc. as the following:

*  Chilkat robe woven by Jennie Thlunaut’s auntie who taught Jennie how to weave

*  Chilkat tunic woven by Jennie

*  Chilkat robe woven by Clarissa, apprentice to Jennie

*  Chilkat aprons:  the older unfinished one woven by Doris (a student of Jennie’s in the late 60s/early 70s); the most recently completed apron started by Doris’ friend Dodie Gannett (who was learning from Doris), eventually completed 30 years later by the “Apron Apprentices.”

*  Commissioned Chilkat robe woven by Lily Hope, apprentice to Clarissa — this robe will be completed by January 2017

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