The T’akDein Taan (black-legged kittywake) Clan members from Glacier Bay’s Hoonah, Alaska are known for their Native songs; many are noted for their artistry. Clarissa Rizal holds true to her clan identity as a full-time, multi-faceted artist since 1977 working in fiber, painting, music, print-making, landscaping and sculpture. She was born to the late William and Irene Lampe, and raised in Juneau, Alaska. Clarissa’s last name of Rizal was her paternal grandmother’s maiden name, Patricia Rizal, who was first cousin to Jose’ Rizal, the Filipino martyr of the Philipines.
Clarissa specializes in design and creation of Tlingit regalia including Chilkat and Ravenstail robes and weavings, and button blanket robes. Clarissa was introduced to NWC carving through the high school shop teacher, Peter Bibb in which she carved a medium-sized “bentwood box”, a mother’s day gift in 1972. This was Clarissa’s first exposure to the tangible arts of the Northwest Coast. After teaching her traditional native song and dance, then Yakutat Chief Harry K. Bremner, Sr. introduced Clarissa to the art of the Tlingit Native dance regalia-making in 1973. In 1986, she apprenticed with the last of the traditional Chilkat weavers, Jennie Thlunaut of Klukwan, who passed away directly after the apprenticeship at the age of 96. Clarissa continues to fulfill her promise to Jennie that she help revive this ancient weaving by conducting workshops and apprenticeships. Clarissa authored “Jennie Weaves An Apprentice – A Chilkat Weavers’ Handbook” which received a HAIL award (Honoring Alaska’s Indigenous Literature) in 2008. Since 1983, Clarissa has designed and created over 60 Chilkat, Ravenstail and Button blanket robes. In her rare spare time, Clarissa is currently working on a book featuring all of her original designs of ceremonial robes, including each robes’ “mate” in a contemporary painting. The publication will be available in the Spring 2017.
Clarissa’s work is in private collections, corporations, and public institutions including Doyon, Inc. and University of Alaska, in Fairbanks; the Anchorage Museum of History & Art, the Alaska Native Medical Center, the Senior Housing, the Senior Center, and Alaska Railroad in Anchorage; the MV Kennicott ferry from Bellingham, WA; the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) in Sitka; the Mt. Juneau Tramway, Goldbelt’s Westmark Hotel, Tlingit & Haida Central Council, the Alaska Folk Festival and Sealaska Corporation in Juneau; Highsmith, Inc. in Wisconsin; and Sealaska subsidiaries in Iowa, Alabama and Mexico. Her work has also been featured in award-winning corporate annual reports, book covers, calendars and posters. You may visit Clarissa’s extensive website at: www.clarissarizal.com
Clarissa also enjoys creating contemporary paintings and collages allowing her a freedom of expression beyond the structural elements of Tlingit form line art. In 2000, she began a series of collages from “reject” silk-screened prints she had been storing for about 10 years with the intention of making collages someday. You may view a few of her collages and paintings on her website.
Clarissa is a founding board member of the non-profit arts organization formed in 2000, Artstream Alaska (www.artstream.net), sponsoring events in Alaska and Colorado. Clarissa is an artist working with and for other artists.” She initiated and co-directed many of the projects and events on Artstream’s website including: the Northwest Coast Native Dance Regalia Documentary project; the Navajo & Chilkat weavers’ cross-cultural exchange; hosted the Whistlepig monthly house concerts featuring musicians/singer-songwriters from across the nation; and spearheaded the first Biennial Northwest Coast Native Artists’ Gathering and Evening concert in 2006. Self-employed since 1977, she also owned Kahtahah Landscape Gardeners in 1981-1993; and, in 2004-2009, was co-owner of the online daily news source, the Pagosa Daily Post.
Best of Show awards include: the Santa Fe Indian Market in New Mexico, the Heard Museum Indian Market in Phoenix, Arizona, the Lawrence Indian Art Show in Lawrence, Kansas, and the Sealaska Juried Art Show in Juneau, Alaska.
Clarissa has three children: Kahlil Hudson (www.lowandclear.com), MFA in Film and Cinematography, UCLA, is a professor of film at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM; Lily Hope (www.lilyhope.com), MA, early childhood educator, professional actress and storyteller is also a Chilkat/Ravenstail weaver who has launched the Northwest Coast Weavers Supply at nwcoastweaversupply.com; and Ursala Hudson (www.whiterabbitstudio.us), BFA, web designer and visual artist who is president of the Pagosa Charter School Initiative. Clarissa’s grand-children are: Elizabeth, Louis, Mary and Eleanor Hope, Violet Hudson, Amelie and Simone Haas.
Nearly 5 years ago, Clarissa’s daughter, Ursala, designed Clarissa’s blog site to encourage her mother to blog even though Clarissa didn’t want to; she felt it was dumb!— However, after the blog site crashed for over two months mid-November 2014 to end of January 2015, Clarissa had missed posting and sharing, she missed not being able to use her blog as reference and most of all she missed not having her blog to refer to for photographs of her work, travel, people, etc.!
Like Joni Mitchell’s song….”you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone….”
Clarissa Rizal * P.O. Box 21453, Juneau, AK 99802 * (970)903-8386