Dear Northwest Coast Chilkat and Ravenstail Weavers:
I 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 some of the specifications. However, just in case you cannot read my handwriting, and you want more information because you’d really like to commit, I will also reiterate the specs herein as follows:
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 1, 2016! Email address: email@example.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: 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.
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″)
DEADLINE to commit: May 1, 2016 Email Clarissa with your commitment (suggestions, etc. are welcome too, especially at this time): firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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!
During my “spring break”, for the first time ever, I actually took a real spring break, like an actual, much-needed vacation. During the vacation I hugged and played with my grandchildren, visited my kids, romped around the desert with my friend Rene, and in between when nobody was looking, I wove this Chilkat Mask! Yep, it can be worn as an actual mask. I wove it with the same shades of blue weft yarns I dyed a couple of years ago and I am using the main bulk of the blue yarns for my most recent Chilkat robe called “Egyptian Thunderbird.” This mask will be in an exhibit of Northwest Coast Native masks at the Stonington Gallery in Seattle, Washington opening Thursday, June 2nd. Most of the masks at this show will be in carved wood, or in jewelry, and I doubt very much there will be a mask like this one that is woven; we’ll see. My “Chilkat Mask” may be the first of its kind, I don’t know. Come on down to the Stonington and let’s see! I’ll be there!
My “Chilkat Storyteller” is my donation for an exhibit of contemporary Alaska Native art opening in France on June 24th. It was inspired by the pueblo storyteller dolls made of their local clay. The first contemporary storyteller was made by Helen Cordero of the Cochiti Pueblo in 1964 in honor of her grandfather, who was a tribal storyteller. It is basically a figure of a storyteller, usually a man or a woman and always with its mouth open. It is surrounded by figurines of children (and sometimes other things) which represent those who are listening to the storyteller.
My “Chilkat Storyteller” is a self-portrait with my 7 grandchildren. Though instead of clay figurines, the main body of the doll is made with shreds of yellow cedar bark interior with black felted merino wool exterior. She sits approximately 7″ high and wears a miniature Ravenstail/Chilkat robe. All 7 of her grandchildren are felted wool in our traditional colors of black, natural, yellow and blue. Made with lots of love, I laughed while creating each figurine knowing the personality of each child, affectionately I called out my knick names while making each:
* The black one on bottom right is the oldest, SikiKwaan (Lily’s oldest daughter); very thoughtful, protective one
* The blue one on top right is second oldest, Andoopoo (Kahlil’s daughter); the adventurer outdoors gal
* The white one on the bottom left is third oldest, Ashuwa (Ursala’s oldest daughter); kind, caretaking artist
* The yellow one on the left arm is fourth, Ajuju (Lily’s 2nd child; only grandson); the compassionate one
* The white one on top of the head, Wasichu (Lily’s adopted child); spirits rebellious
* The blue one on bottom left, Bulleit (Ursala’s youngest); no fear, dare devil innocence
* The yellow one on bottom right, OneFootOneKnee or Inipi (Lily’s youngest); quiet, independent sweetness