Student artist spotlight: Sheryl Shorty

Posted: Friday, September 07, 2007

Age: 14.

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Grade: Ninth.

School: Juneau-Douglas High School.

Reason: "I have never had a regalia on my own. I decided to make one for myself. I love that it's calming to work on sewing. Making a blanket also connects me to my heritage."

Experience: "I have worked on this since February. It was designed to be my Ropes project."

Favorite artists: "Ray Coronell, I also like to listen to hip-hop, rap, punk music. I am interested in reading stories about outcasts."

Future plans: "I'd like to make an other blanket with the killer whale design on it. ... Graduate from high school, travel around the world. I'd like to be a crime investigator in the future.

Activites: "I like to go to the movies, listen to music and hang out with friends."

Para-educator and tutor Agi Bellagh, says: "Sheryl is very motivated and works hard on chosen projects. She dedicates time, effort and energy consistently on those projects that are meaningful to her. ... it was evident to me from the very beginning that this girl had a definite sense of composition, a passion for decorating and a strong conviction about how to go about making the final product 'perfect' by picking the colors, shapes and using different media to express herself truthfully."

"For her eighth grade ROPES project, she decided to make a Tlinkit button blanket under Doreen Lingley-Naathlang's coaching. ... She learned to select and cut the materials for the blanket. She had a chance to look at different Tlingit designs and pick the one that she felt was the most meaningful to her. She perfected her stitching technique by the time this project was finished, and she was delighted to discover the calming effect of the needle work. She spent about 60-80 hours sewing this blanket. The result was breathtaking. Sheryl finished her blanket. After that she gave a presentation at the UAS to a panel of community members about the creation process of the regalia. She also felt more connected to her own heritage, as she immersed herself into exploring the tradition of making a button blanket."

• Student Artist in the Spotlight is a weekly feature on the Neighbors page and is in collaboration with the Juneau School District Elementary Art Program. To have your student art included, contact your school office.

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