Clarissa’s Planning Methods

The inside pocket of Clarissa's Franklin Covey Daily Planner

The inside pocket of Clarissa’s Franklin Covey Daily Planner

Nearly 40 years I’ve been a multi-tasking artist, mother, partner, etc.; in order to accomplish the variety of tasks I set for myself (being that kind of intense, goal-oriented kind of personality), I had a college-ruled, spiral bound notebook for every aspect of my daily, weekly, monthly activities.  Each notebook was dedicated to recording all the dates and necessary information to accomplish goals in each of these categories:

  • Household/garden/vehicles
  • My art business Clarissa Rizal LLC
  • Family members & relatives
  • Ex’s business

I had no idea there were such things as daily planners until about 10 years ago…!  Like where in the heck was I raised!?

The zippered pleather Franklin Covey Daily Planner

The zippered pleather Franklin Covey Daily Planner’

I eliminated usage of spiral bound notebooks; I like keeping all my information in one compact place.  I refer to my daily planner periodically all day long, seven days a week.  I ordered this Franklin Covey daily planner, brand spanking new from Ebay for only $25 which retails at about $70.  I scored.  For a personality like mine, a daily planner is a must for all I plan on accomplishing.

The inside week sheets of the Franklin Covey Daily Planner

The inside week sheets of the Franklin Covey Daily Planner

Of course, I plan the week with standard Franklin Covey sheets (shown above).  Then there’s the daily routine of “chores” which I check off daily in my custom-designed printed columns (shown below) by my daughter, Ursala Hudson.  I indicate phonecalls, emails and texts I must place for the day or week, along with any blog post ideas and/or updates, record the number of hours I weave or number of hours sewing a buttonrobe, contact information for a supplier or appointments at the docs or dates with the family and/or friends.    The most pleasurable act of keeping track of my goals is checking off the box when I complete each task!  Yep, that simple act of defining an accomplishment!

Divider are custom personalized prints of daily and weekly details created by Ursala Hudson, indpendent artist & designer

Divider are custom personalized prints of daily and weekly details created by Ursala Hudson, indpendent artist & designer

90th Birthday Party With Aprons For All

Apron patterns of various sizes from babies to adult laid out to be cut

Apron patterns of various sizes from babies to adult laid out to be cut

My children’s paternal grandmother celebrated her 90th birthday this past Sunday on May 17th with her 2 children, 6 grand children and 8 great-grandchildren.  For her birthday present, I sewed up Alaskan-inspired aprons.

Sewing the pockets

Sewing the pockets

10 years ago I had bought $600 worth of fabrics for a large wall mural that I was supposed to create for the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, but they re-nigged on the project so all the fabrics hung out in my attic until most recently.  Out of the collection I chose a few fabrics with colors of the Alaskan landscape, particularly the blue-berries!

The stack of finished aprons

The stack of finished aprons

The sizes of aprons ranged to fit people who were 4, 6, 9 and 16-month to 3 and 5-year old and two 7-year-olds and of course one for Great Grandma Shirley!  Though I was on a time crunch with all my other projects and business, I had such a blast during the making of these aprons!  I am reminded once again how much I love to sew for those I love and I get a kick in the pants dressing up people, whether for a birthday party, wedding or a traditional Native ceremony!


All the kids and great grandma wear their aprons….Left to Right front row: Violet Hudson, Great Grandma Shirley, Amelie Haas, Louis Hope — L to R back row: Ursala Hudson holds Simone Haas, Rowenn Kalman holds Aisley Salas, Elizabeth Hope, Lily Hope holds Eleanor Hope, Ishmael Hope holds Mary Goodwin


Clarissa’s Studio Part 1: The “Living Room”

The Hibiscus blooms fully in Clarissa's livingroom

The Hibiscus blooms fully in Clarissa’s living room

Folks wonder where the heck I live and work; there are only a handful of people who have seen the inside of my studio home, so I figured I would introduce the general public to where I play music, weave, write, sew, draw, paint (and sorry, I won’t be introducing you to my bedroom!).   I work full-time and a half and live part of my year in a remodeled two car garage in the most beautiful part of Colorado.  The studio has no running water, no sewer and has insufficient heat in the wintertime, but I wear my sheepskin boots, sheepskin hat and gloves during the days and sleep in fleece and sweatpants during the bitter cold months in December, January and sometimes February.  Yes, I am working towards someday having a real home though it is gonna take awhile.

The sun sets upon the Easter lilies

The sun sets upon the Easter lilies with what I call  “middle-aged-ladies’-flowers” geraniums blooming in the background

Over the next three months, I will introduce you to various parts of my humble 700 sq.ft. sanctuary divided into sections.  Here are the parts of “Clarissa’s Studio Series”:

  • “The Living Room” where I play music, read, crochet, knit and clear out the coffee table to do Tai Chi;
  • “The Office” where I draft proposals, emails, FB,  grants, letters, update my website and post blog entries;
  • “The Sewing Space” where I sew button robes and clothing for the grandkids;
  • “The Weaving Space” for all my Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving projects on various size looms;
  • “The Grand Table Space” where I do large layouts of robe pattern designs and cut the applique for button robes;
  • “The Drawing Room” where I sketch and finalize drawings for robes, paintings, collages and book illustrations;
  • “The Painting/Collage-making” where I create just that, along with printing limited edition Giclee’ prints and shrinkwrapping them;
  • “Clarissa’s Kitchenette” where I zap an occasional Amy’s TV dinner for lunch and I keep a modest supply of drinking water;
  • “Clarissa’s Storage Units” for beautiful and practical storage of all weaving, spinning, sewing, dyeing, beadworking supplies and recent collection of books
Clarissa's hand-made Northwest Coast Tlingit carved harp

Clarissa’s hand-made Northwest Coast Tlingit carved harp with abalone inlay was recently repaired after nearly 25 years of collecting dust in the attic

I use sheer, white/off-white curtains to divide my spaces.  Since the space is one big room, I want some sense of controlling the cold and heat, keep each work space free from distractions from other projects in the other work spaces, and to create privacy when needed.  For example, compare the above photograph showing the closed curtains behind the couch, and then the open curtains in the photograph below exposing the small kitchenette.  In all posts of the “Clarissa’s Studio Series” take note where I use the curtains.

The open curtains exposes Clarissa's kitchenette

The open curtains exposes Clarissa’s kitchenette

I live a secluded life during the Fall/Winter in Colorado in comparison to my very social life during the Spring/Summer in Alaska and most recently Yukon.  In Colorado, I fulfill my need for privacy and seclusion, and other than hanging with my grandchildren and children, my main focus is my work; I work 70- 80 hours per week to create as much as I can within the time frame because once I land in Alaska, life is not about me, it’s about including others.  Because I was born and bred in Alaska, and I remain true to my roots and heritage so I attend Native functions and teach classes, and I must harvest my berries and salmon, and I have many long-term friends and family, and the hours of daylight are long and wonderful, so it is very challenging to get any work done, who has time to work indoors!?!?  There are beaches to be walked, oceans to ride, branches to brush aside and big trees to rest under, and always with others!

Clarissa's music room

Clarissa’s music room

So every Springtime before I leave for Alaska, I absorb my serenity and look about me at the little bit of charm I’ve created herewithin, and I appreciate the stillness and silence while I create, create, create.  Life is good as I nourish both aspects of this Gemini being!

Easter lilies at sunset in Clarissa's music livingroom

Easter lilies at sunset in Clarissa’s music living room; and I’m sure you’ve noticed Clarissa’s red, tenor ukelele to the right!

Chilkat and Ravenstail Weaving Return to Yukon


Yukonian and Alaskan Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving students hold their wooden “warp sticks” along with dancers wearing Chilkat and Ravenstail robes (“Diving Whale” Chilkat robe woven by Clarissa Rizal, “Copper Child” woven by Lily Hope & Clarissa Rizal, “Grandmother’s Time” Ravenstail robe woven by Ann Smith —  Kwaanlin Dun Cultural Center in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory – June 2013

Today, as I was doing some research on line about other Native American, Alaskan artists or Ravenstail and Chilkat weavers who may have blogs, I came across this article from Radio Canada International’s website:

Ann Smith and I taught this class nearly two years ago; she taught Ravenstail and I taught Chilkat.  It was a blast.  It feels real good to help inspire the local Yukon weavers to come back to their “woven” selves.  Ann and I met when we were young like most of these gals nearly 30 years ago.  Little did we know then that we would be helping to revive our nearly-lost weaving traditions.  Who woulda known, eh?

3rd Year Attending Heard Museum Indian Art Fair & Market

Israel & Sue Shotridge

Sue and Israel Shotridge enjoy one another; Clarissa Rizal’s “Chilkat Child” won Best of Class at the Heard Museum Juried Art Show, Phoenix, AZ – March 2015

Doing art markets alone is not as much fun, however if you get along with other artists who may want to do the show alongside with you, like Sue and Israel Shotridge, it’s so much more fun!  We had a blast!  This was their first year at the market; this is my third year.  We were two of 600+ Native American artists featured at the Heard Museum Native Art Fair and Market usually held the first weekend in March; this was the Heard’s 57th year.  Sue and I were not quite a year old when they first started this fair!  There were also a few other Northwest Coast Native artists at the Fair, though not many of us:  Dolly Garza, Diane Douglas-Willard, and Zoe Urness.


Shotridges and Rizal combine their “gallery space” in each of their 10′ x 10′ booths at the Heard Museum Indian Art Fair and Market, March 7 & 8 – Phoenix, AZ, 2015

To be a part of the fair, the application process starts each year in July.  To qualify, you must be at least 1/4 Native American with proof of your CIB (Certificate of Indian Blood), there’s a $25 application fee, the largest, 10’x10′ booths are $500, you must provide a resume’, and 10 images of your best work within the last 3 years.  It’s easy for myself because I have established a large body of work over the past 39 years, though for emerging artists, the application process may be intimidating; however, keep your faith in yourself, put your best foot forward, and if you have nothing major to show for yourself, then get on the ball and produce some work before the Heard Museum deadline for application!  Get it together, step up to your plate that’s waiting to “feed” you!  It’s up to you!


Israel Shotridge drums and sings a clan song to an audience in his booth at the Heard Museum Native Art Fair & Market, Phoenix, AZ – March 2015

A select group of the booths at the Heard are 10′ x 10′.  The Shotridges and I took down the canvas wall that divided our booths; we wanted to be able to converse and especially have more light AND give buyers and opportunity to “step into our gallery.”  —-  These shows can be a lot of work.  It took three hours to set up my simple booth below.  It took three hours for the Shotridges to do the same.  Yet there is a simple pleasure in the accomplishment of making our space look inviting, and in our opinion, it really is like setting up a temporary outdoor “gallery.”


Clarissa Rizal’s “little gallery” art booth at the Heard Museum Native Art Fair & Market, Phoenix, AZ – March 2015

Outside of winning ribbons and with the intent you will sell some work to help offset not only your costs but pay some of your bills for the next few months, one of the best parts (for me) about doing shows are the variety of people we meet from all walks of life and the invites to other shows and events, or invites to artist retreats or residencies, and not to mention the up-and-coming artists who look to you for guidance and advice.  Generally speaking, I think people like to be needed; it gives us another sense of self-worth!


Recent glassblown pieces by Tlingit glassblower Preston Singletary at his annual art show held the same week as the Heard Art Market, at the Blue Rain Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ


Jeremy Frey won Best of Show for his magnificent basket, Heard Museum Juried Art Show, March 2015


Carver Israel Shotridge and Glassblower Preston Singletary


Sue Shotridge takes a photo of the award-winning bentwood box carved by her husband, Israel Shotridge — Heard Museum Juried Art Show and Market – March 2015


Clarissa Rizal and Sue Shotridge sport their cedar bark hats woven by Haida artist Merle Anderson – March 2015


Beadwork close-up by beadwork artist Marcus Amerman – (I am partial to the Chilkat emblem in dead center!); Heard Museum Juried Art Show & Market, March 2015


Marcus Amerman’s beaded “Smithsonian” piece at the Heard Museum Native Art Fair Juried Art Show, Phoenix, AZ – March 2015


Adrian Wall’s sculptures in blown glass and stone at the Heard Museum Native Art Fair & Market, Phoenix, AZ – March 2015

Have You Seen The “Chilkat Mini-Coopers?”


Hand-painted mini-coops in Chilkat yellow and Indian red! by Clarissa Rizal

Let’s go for a quick road-trip in one of these “Chilkat Mobiles” zipping through the Redwood Forests and out across Canyonlands and Arches National Monuments sliding into Sedona across the Mohave dessert and up towards the Rocky Mountains!  Yep, zippidity do dah at your fingertips in the miniatures of miniatures!

Clarissa’s Tentative Schedule for the Arts 2015


“Chilkat Child” headdress and collar – trimmed with sea otter fur and 22. bullet shells – designed and handwoven by Clarissa Rizal

I am currently gearing up for a full year of travel to art shows, cultural center openings,  and of course visiting my kids and grandkids along the way!  Here’s my 2015 show schedule (subject to change):

1).  Heard Museum Indian Art Market and Fair, Phoenix, AZ – March 5-8th – Booth #D45

2).  Grand Opening of Soboleff Cultural Center, Juneau, AK – May 15

3).  Teslin’s “KusTeYea” Celebration, Teslin, Yukon, July 24-26

4).  Santa Fe Indian Market, Santa Fe, New Mexico, August 21-23

5). Haskell Institute Native Art Market, Lawrence, KS , September 12-13

6).  Cherokee Art Market, Tulsa, OK, October 9-11

7)  Autry Native American Art Market, Los Angeles, CA  November 7-8

8).  NMAI (National Museum of the American Indian) Holiday Art Market, NYC, December 5-6


Letting Go of My “Chilkat Mobile”


Back side of my 1991 Toyota Corolla — Clarissa calls it her “Chilkat Mobile” — license plate “CNH 794″ She considers these letters and numbers “good…!”

My “Chilkat Mobile” is originally from Juneau, Alaska.  In December I put the car on the ferry for a 3-day sail to the port of Bellingham, Washington State.  From Bellingham, I drove down to the mountains above Los Angelos, then across to Scottsdale and up to Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  I drove through all kinds of storms, wind, rain, sleet, snow and finally sunshine!  This car can make it up the infamous Wolf Creek Pass to Denver no problem.  Though remember because it is a 4-cylinder, you have to drive in 2nd gear up the mountain passes.


Front of Clarissa’s “Chilkat Mobile”

“Chilkat”  was owned by an elderly blonde woman who is now 92.  22 years ago, she and her husband bought two of these cars, a his and her pair:   one for her, one for him.  The cars were originally red, but they had both custom painted yellow.  A little over a year ago, they both went into an elder-care home and so they sold both of their beloved machines.   They took VERY GOOD CARE of these cars; in fact, they each had their own garage built especially for them; no kidding!  Except for a few tiny nicks here and there from tiny rocks on the drive down here, the body is straight, no dents and no rust anywhere except for a small strip across the bottom part of the window on the back hatch door; I remedied that situation by placing yellow duck tape (the exact color of the car!) across the line of rust.

I bought the “her” car.  Peggy  was retired when she bought the car and had no children or grand-children, she mainly used the car to go do errands and such in the remote town of Juneau which has about 70 total miles of road as the town is land-locked.  The car most likely did not ever go more than 60 miles an hour, if that, until of course, I drove it on the freeways from Bellingham — the car hums at 75 no problem with a load.   When I drove down from Bellingham, I had the car packed with two suitcases, my paintings and prints and weaving looms.  It probably hasn’t had any kind of load like that before.


On the car deck of the “MV Malaspina” ferry from Juneau, Alaska to Bellingham, Washington, then the long drive down to Colorado…!

Both cars were well maintained partially due to the fact that the husband was a boat and car mechanic as well as an inventor and both he and his wife were meticulous about everything they owned.   I knew them personally.  I grew up with them.  They talked me into buying this car because they wanted me to have it because they knew I liked older cars and they knew I took care of my things.  They also knew I needed a car to teach my classes up in Yukon Territory!   For a 22-year old car, the interior is clean, barely worn anywhere because the car was mainly used by one person, so the grey upholstery is in great shape, no tears, no stains, no worn spots – there is only one worn spot on the carpet.   I have my own maintenance records for a little over a year I’ve owned it since, I’ve had the oil changed three times; totally serviced and new rear brakes before I jumped the ferry with the car.  I haven’t had to do anything major.  It handles snow real well, hugs the road like a roadster; it’s a sweet thing!

As you can tell, I am proud of my “Chilkat Mobile”.  I would not have sold it if it weren’t my need for a travel van.  I need something larger because I am an artist who travels to a variety of shows “west of the Mississippi!”  I need to carry all my art plus the display units.  After at least 10 inquiries from prospective buyers from around the country in just a couple of days on the Craigslist market, “Chilkat” is now living in Taos, New Mexico with her new owner.  I wish her a longer and more prosperous life; she served me well and in turn I wish her the best!

Handling a Large Box for the Airlines


Duck tape the padded “handles” of the loose straps

When I travel back and forth by plane from Colorado to Alaska, or vice versa, I have never traveled light.  I am always loaded with my work, supplies, fish, berries, etc.  Many years ago, my father showed me this trick-of-the-loaded-traveler-trade.

Nowadays, with “homeland security” and all, wrapping our boxes with rope is futile; they just cut the rope off, cut open your box, and inspect it.  I don’t want to waste my rope.  But how do we still have our handles and use them too?

Instead of tightly wrapping your box, just make two loose-fitting straps with rope, duck tape the ends with extra tape wrapped around as show in photo.  Remove the loose straps before you check your box into baggage; place your straps inside your suitcase pocket, or your carry-on.  Bring them out when you arrive at your destination’s baggage claim, slip them back around your box, and get moving!


Easy to lift and maneuver heavy 3′ x 4′ box

I am pushing 60 and I weight 125 pounds.  With this method I can easily maneuver a 60 pound bulky box!  Thanks Dad!

At the Evergreen Longhouse Holiday Market


Clarissa’s booth at the Evergreen Longhouse in Olympia, features similar sale items as the Alaska-Juneau Public Market during Thanksgiving weekend in Juneau, Alaska

The Evergreen Longhouse Holiday Art Market is generally held for two days the 2nd weekend in December in Olympia, WA.  Sue Shotridge and I decided to do one day, Saturday, December 13th.  A couple of weeks prior we were both at the Alaska-Juneau Public Market and we sold fairly well, though of course we would have enjoyed selling more!  We knew we would most likely not sell as much at this venue since it was a lot smaller, however, there was more of a Native customer base since all the vendors were Native Americans from the area.


It’s always the female customers who enjoy the painted masks

It’s always interesting to see what most folks are interested in; you just never know until you put it out there.  Most were unawares of the Chilkat and Ravenstail weavings on the young  mannequins.  To my surprise, I cannot say anyone even remarked or paid attention to the weavings – I guess we were too far south (even as close as Olympia is to Alaskan shores!).


Sue and Israel Shotridges booth next to Clarissa’s at the Longhouse Holiday Art Market