First Friday: Ravenstail, blueclay, 'soaking,' a touch of evil

Posted: Thursday, June 01, 2006

Juneau weaver Kay Field Parker has been obsessed with Ravenstail weaving since 1990 but has not shown much of her work publicly until this year.

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Already in 2006, she's placed second in her first Wearable Art show and submitted a piece for the Juneau-Douglas City Museum's all-comers "12x12" installation. Now, she's preparing for her first formal art show.

Parker will exhibit about 40 tunics, hats, robes, leggings, dance bibs, bags, headbands and neckpieces in "A Collection of 16 Years of Ravenstail Weaving," a solo show in the Prospector Hotel's Douglas Room, 375 Whittier St. The exhibition will run in conjunction with Celebration and the First Friday gallery walk, 4-8 p.m. Thursday, June 1, and noon-8 p.m. Friday, June 2. Of the items, 27 are for sale and 13 are for show.

"This is my coming-out year," Parker said. "I've been real productive for the past two years, and I finally realized I had enough stuff to put on a show."

Parker learned Ravenstail in the late 1980s from master weaver Cheryl Samuel, a former teacher at the University of Alaska Southeast who toured the world researching and wrote books on weaving techniques. Parker has inherited the job of teaching her two-credit Ravenstail class, the latest of which runs June 5-16 and meets Mondays through Fridays, and Saturday mornings.

Parker's first few robes were exact replicas of the 13 to 15 known examples of pre-contact Ravenstail weaving. She's long since expanded into her own patterns and adaptations. Compact-style robes, so named because 36 rows are weaved per inch, take months. Space-twined robes, eight rows per inch, are a little faster.

A life-long Juneau resident and a member of the Southeast Alaska-based Ravenstail Weavers Guild, Parker spent years housecleaning and is now employed part-time as a bookkeeper. In the past few years, she's branched off into tunics and hats.

"I was looking for something that was more usable than robes and leggings, which are only really usable for dance regalia," Parker said. "The hats are something that we can wear year-round. They're very striking and very warm. The tunics are the same way."

• ANNIE KAILL'S, 244 Front St.: Petersburg artist Pia Reilly, a native of Sweden but a Southeast Alaska resident for the last two decades, will have her first Juneau exhibition since a 2000 show at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council gallery and a late-1990s display at the Fiddlehead.

Reilly, who's also exhibited in Petersburg, Seattle and Sweden, is known for her bold, bright watercolors - some of which are layered with colored pencil and pastel. She mostly paints florals and trees, from memory rather than photographs.

The show will include 10 to 14 paintings.

"I have done a lot of still-lifes in the past, and I'm getting a little bolder," Reilly said. "It's changing a little bit. But what I'm doing right now I've been doing for the last two or three years.

•ARTISTS AMONGUS, Emporium Mall, upstairs: Jenn Johnson is the latest artist to join Rob Korpela and Donna Griffin at the new space in the former site of the Litte City Gallery.

Johnson creates abstract art and pottery. Korpela and Griffin will show new and old abstract work. The space will be open from 4-8 p.m. during First Friday.

• BLUECLAY GALLERY, Emporium Mall, downstairs: James Voelckers, one of the ceramists behind the Douglas-based Blue Clay Studios, is subletting the Deepriver Bodyworks space in the Emporium Mall through August. He's turned the room into a studio and gallery of drawings, paintings, sculptures and his latest ceramic work.

Blueclay will hold an opening reception from 4:30-7 p.m. Friday.

• THE CREATING PLACE, 226 Seward St.: The new children's studio,, will hold a showcase 4:30-6:30 p.m. of the artwork created during its first month of papermaking, story illustration and clay courses for 4-to-9-year-olds.

Clown John Leo will perform, and snacks will be served. Admission is free. The new space plans to have a show during each First Friday.

• JUNEAU ARTISTS GALLERY, 175 S. Franklin St.: Juneau etcher, potter and painter Michelle Morrell will display her latest work as June's featured artist at Juneau Artists Gallery.

Morrell has been experimenting with crystalline glazes - a product of quickly heating the kiln to 2,220 degrees, then prolonging or "soaking" the firing at a lower crystal-growing temperature. Each piece is fired for 27 to 30 hours.

"As a painter, I haven't evolved beyond a representational, detailed style," Morrell said, in a press release. "I am incapable of non-objective art. However, vessels can have very minimal form. I truly enjoy working with such simple forms and giving the glaze the voice in the decorative outcome."

Morrell's latest exhibition was a joint exhibition with Shar Fox in November at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. Fore more, please visit

• JUNEAU ARTS AND HUMANITIES COUNCIL, 206 N. Franklin St.: Juneau artist John Stoll will open "Ambiguities," a collection of a dozen egg oil tempera works combining his incongruous illustrations and text.

It's the first show in years for Stoll, former manager of the long-defunct Portfolio Arts Gallery. The exhibit will also include an assortment of Stoll's already-owned old work.

"There's a little bit more of a theme to it than other things I've done," Stoll said.

"The people that know the work, know the work," he said. "It's pretty different from the usual Alaskana, not even close."

For more on Stoll's new work, check out the June 8 issue of This Week.

• SHOEFLY, 245 Marine Way: Terri Gallant, the artist behind the cowgirl-themed paintings at the Paradise Cafe, returns with "Film Noir" - a black-and-white exhibition of Hollywood actresses from the 1940s and 1950s.

The collection, partially inspired by "Double Indemnity," "Touch of Evil," "Gilda" and "The Postman Always Rings Twice," includes Lauren Bacall and Veronica Lake. Her all-color "Queens of the Silver Screen" series includes Ginger Rogers, Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell.

"I was struck by the beauty of black and white from the velvety textures, the way the lighting and shadows fell across someone's shoulder or cheekbone, and the cinematic landscapes of all the various hues in between," Gallant said, in her artist's statement.

• Korry Keeker can be reached at

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