Lily checks the measurement of the warp to make sure the length is correct — June 2016
Staying up till 3 this morning, Lily Hope, Deanna Lampe, Miah Lager and Ursala Hudson worked on making the 5×5 weaver kits to be made available for the class later on this morning starting at 9; these are for those who want an easier start for their contribution to the “Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat/Ravenstail Community Canoe Robe. (For info on this project, see previous blog entry by clicking here)
These 5×5 kits include: 12 yards of Chilkat warp measured to correct length and width already attached to the “head board” (the ruler), the weft yarns including an ounce of black, an ounce of white, half-ounce of yellow and/or blue, a large-eye tapestry needle, and a 5×5 project instruction sheet.
Measuring the warp by wrapping it around a book and cutting the warp at one end, our natural-born comedian, Deanna questions Miah of why the photographer would want to take photos of this process — June 2016
Two years ago, Lily created the Northwest Coast Weavers Supply to provide Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers easier access to the weaving materials we need. The merino weft yarns is spun by a company called Louet and not always are they hard to find at any yarn shop; the Chilkat warp is spun by Ricky Tagaban or Alena Mountford and the Ravenstail warp is supplied by Kay Parker.
The precut warp is hung on the weaving loom “header board” made of 12″ wooden rulers
The ingenuity of these kits is this: because of the rubber band “lashing”, these “looms” can be placed around the back of a chair, around a purse (as shown below), the steering wheel of your car (when you are not driving, of course), and the tray table in its upright/locked position on board the jets.
Secured by a couple of heavy duty rubber bands around the back side and a large paper clip, this “weaving loom” can attach to a leather handbag (The COACH bag for example); the small balls of black, yellow, white and blue weft, scissors, tapestry needle and pattern, are or course conveniently placed inside the bag — These are handbags of Deanna Lampe and her niece, Lily Hope — June 2016
With the convenience of these ingenious “weaving looms” there is no excuse for not being able to weave small projects! There shall be no excuse for the lack of time to weave Chilkat and Ravenstail in a weavers’ life.
There’s something about staying up real late making kits for the weavers of this community robe project…!
I am so excited about these little “weaving looms” I might have to buy an upright bag so I can weave while waiting for my food at the restaurant, or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, or while I am babysitting and the kids are asleep, or sitting at the beach enjoying the sunset, or out on the boat fishing, or on a camp trip, or, or, or….c’mon people use your imagination…!
The line-up of completed weaving kits for the 5×5 “Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat/Ravenstail Community Robe Project — June 2016
Lily Hope demonstrates to her mother and sister Ursala Hudson, how to weave the “frosting on the cake” side braids of Clarissa Rizal’s latest Chilkat robe “Egyptian Thunderbird” — June 2016
This year, I was determined to learn while teaching side braids to my immediate family of women: my 2 daughters and their Auntie. We wove side braids on my latest Chilkat robe, on my daughter Lily’s Chilkat robe, and my sister’s Chilkat robe. Boom; we gotterdun!
What are the side braids to a Chilkat robe? On the right and left side of most Chilkat robes, there is a woven “netting” that houses the fringe that when a Chilkat robe is worn, lies in the very front. In my experience, weaving the side braids is the funnest part of weaving a Chilkat robe and usually, outside of trimming the robe with fur around the neck, putting in the overlay fringe at the bottom, weaving the side braids is the last finishing touch of a woven robe. And it’s the frosting on the cake, it’s the cream of the crop, it’s the best of the best, and it’s one of the last things we do to complete a Chilkat robe!
If you want to learn about side braids, check out Cheryl Samuel’s book on Chilkat weaving; there are some fine illustrations and instructions on what the side braids are and how to weave them.
Ursala Hudson weaves the side braids of her sister Lily Hope’s Chilkat robe, while Lily tends to her young toddler daughter
My youngest daughter, Ursala learned how to weave the side braids about 3 years ago when I was finishing up my 8th woven robe, the “Diving Whale Lovebirds.” When she was done, she was smiling and exclaimed: “Mamma,…this was so much fun…can we just skip weaving a robe and just weave a sculpture that is made entirely of side braids!?!? Haha! I encourage weavers to learn how to weave Chilkat just so they can know the joy of weaving the side braids of a robe!
Irene Jean Lampe, younger sister to Clarissa Rizal, learns to weave the side braids of her first Chilkat robe — June 2016
Lily and I got my sister Irene to finally learn how to weave the side braids; it took 4 hours of practice, practice and practice before she finally could do it without worry on her own. Learning the side braids takes however long it takes for each individual to getterdun! — Yet once learned by heart, it’s the everlasting song of songs!
I think this is the first time I have posted a writing by someone else here on my blog. A friend emailed me this to me today and I felt compelled to share it.
These words are from Clarissa Pinkola Estes (American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.)
My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.
What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.
The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.
An antique clothes drying rack gifted to me from fellow artist Cecil Touchon almost 20 years ago
I have used this antique clothes drying rack to hold prepared wool for nearly 20 years when my friend Cecil Touchon gave it to me. It’s collapsible, easy to store, lightweight yet sturdy. I prepare all my wool and cedar bark before I begin spinning the Chilkat warp needed for a robe. This type of rack comes in very handy. It has many “spokes” to the wheel that stem out from the center as shown in the photo above, so I can prepare enough wool for at least 600 yards of warp.
Clarissa irons “NW x SW II” button robe with her brand new “Rowenta” Steamer Iron
After buying a brand new (or sometimes 2nd hand) iron averaging $10 to $40 every 3 or 4 years for since I began sewing in 1974, I invested in a $240 “la machine!” I must have reliable equipment to get my work done in a timely manner; I cannot rely on “lesser than” equipment. The last iron that conked out on me was terribly disappointing because I could not finish my job. It’s not like I can just go out and buy me a new iron in a small remote town in Colorado Rockies whose stores are not open on Sundays!
So while I was shopping in Juneau’s “JoAnn’s” all the irons were on sale for 40% off. I hauled this huge iron back to my studio in Colorado. It’s been worth it. Such a pleasure having a tool do its best. In turn it helps me to do my best (and in a timely manner)!
One of the most up-town covered, outdoor fire pit shelter seats approximately 150 people in a cozy, intimate setting
A little over 10 years ago, when Preston and I had been talking about putting together the first gathering of Northwest Coast Artists to be held during Celebration 2006 in Juneau, Alaska, he had mentioned Islandwood retreat learning center on Bainbridge Island, Washington State as a possible location. He felt that the location of this beautiful retreat in a heavily wooded forest would foster a networking of life-long friendships, kindle collaborations, and create a very tight group of artists where we could truly focus on any art and cultural issues in a very real way. 10 years and 2 Northwest Coast Native artists gatherings later, we finally made it a point to visit IslandWood yesterday; it was obvious to me during this site visit why Preston insisted on IslandWood as the place for conducting next year’s gathering of Tlingit artists – the location of this retreat is astounding!
The purpose of this gathering of Tlingit artists is to establish a loose coalition of mentors to consciously create a mentorship “guide” for our younger generations so we continue to endorse our future artists in whatever field they work.
The warmth of solid oak and maple dining room
There are five, dedicated, professional Tlingit artists who are at the helm of helping to organize this retreat. They include: Sue and Israel Shotridge, Donna Beaver Pizzarelli, Preston Singletary and myself.
At this time, Artstream Alaska and the Evergreen Longhouse are two organizations who will help sponsor this gathering.
We will be re-vamping the Artstream Alaska website where we will have information on the gathering. The goal for website completion is by November this year.
In the meantime, although all of us work together on all aspects of organizing this gathering, we each have organically “fallen into our main roles.” Sue and Israel works on cultural values and the administration, Preston works on fundraising, Donna gathers materials to eventually design and create the website, and during my travels, I have been networking and collecting names of Tlingit artists.
Standing at the entry to Islandwood’s main hall, program coordinators L to R: Clarissa Rizal, Preston Singletary, Swil Kanim, Sue Shotridge (missing: Donna Beaver Pizzarelli)
At first we were going to invite any and all Northwest Coast artists from any background and tribe. Then we got to thinking about the differences in some of the values and we thought the gathering will already be challenging enough with the variety of egos, that we would like to keep it simple. We will be inviting only Tlingit artists for this gathering. We envision other tribes will be inspired to create their own mentorship program for their next generations.
The main lobby before the “Great Hall…”
IslandWood is a nationally recognized outdoor learning center located across Puget Sound from Seattle’s urban center. IslandWood’s mission is to provide exceptional learning experiences and to inspire lifelong environmental and community stewardship. Each year, more than 25,000 people participate in IslandWood’s programs on the 225-acre campus and in communities throughout the region. In addition to our school programs, IslandWood offers a graduate program in partnership with the University of Washington, summer camps, and community programs for children and adults. Revenue from conferences and retreats and contributions from the community enable IslandWood to underwrite our outdoor education programs for children from low-income communities.
For more information on IslandWood, you may visit their website at: www.islandwood.org
Islandwood Program Director Christine welcomes the four of us to tour the small portion of the 250-acre landscape
As I mentioned earlier, Artstream Alaska will be our main sponsor for this project. When the re-vamped website is launched by November 1st, we will be inviting selected Tlingit artists to check out all the information to see if they would like to participate. We are inviting Tlingit artists based on their artistic merit, their involvement in the arts and culture and their obvious concern for the health and well-being of our people.
Sue Shotridge and Preston Singletary walk one of the many paths through the woods on the Islandwood Retreat
Currently, the dates for this 3-day Tlingit Mentorship Retreat is set for next year, September 16 through the 18th, 2016. This will be a retreat. We ask that each artist make a clear commitment all 3 days and nights. We encourage artists to book any outside activities (i.e. visit family and friends in the Seattle area, shopping, sightseeing, etc.) before or after the 3 days.
Just outside Islandwood’s “Great Room”
Once the Artstream website is re-vamped and we’ve got our ducks in order (goal is November 1st), we will send out our invites to our Tlingit artists pointing them to read about our mission statement, the confirmed dates and times, the agenda of the mentorship project, the cultural leaders who will be helping to guide this 3-day event, and the list of artists who will be committing to attend this historical event.
Islandwood’s Welcome plaque just before the shed of many hand carts
Our space has a capacity limit of up to 50 artists. The room and board is covered for each artist attending all 3 days. At this time, we are seeking funds to help pay up to $250 (or less) for each artist’s travel expenses. This will be invitation only, though we are open right now to receive names and contact info of anyone who you may know who fits the bill for a Tlingit mentor.
Swil Kanim and Preston Singletary discuss the meaning of being a mentor
Mentorship project coordinators L to R: Swil Kanim, Sue Shotridge, Preston Singletary, Clarissa Rizal
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:
- My art business Clarissa Rizal LLC
- Family members & relatives
- Organizing Community-oriented projects (i.e. theatre and music productions, classes, etc.
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’
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
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
Small, self-igniting charcoal burns the natural resins on a ceramic plate upon an abalone shell — Bentwood boxes were a gift from Sister Dee
My weaving teacher and mentor, the late Jennie Thlunaut recommended that Chilkat weavers pray every morning before they go to their loom. She said real prayer is always about “giving thanks for what we got.” She said give thanks for everything you have in your life, and the gift that was given to you, you were chosen to receive this gift…”(she was referring to the art of Chilkat weaving). I still listen to her words. Every day before I weave, I always say the Lord’s Prayer. (It doesn’t matter what belief you have, as long as you give thanks, you invoke the spirit of goodness to be with you and those around you.) In the past few years I developed a method in which I can focus on giving thanks, a ritual that I learned from growing up in the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church.
Almost every day since my mother’s passing on July 4, 2011, I have burned Russian Orthodox Church resins as part of my morning ritual before I begin my work. And while I walk about my studio home with the incense burning with the gentle fanning by an Eagle feather, I say the Lord’s Prayer with the addition of my own words of gratitude. The calmness and peace I feel when I complete this ritual invokes a blessing to begin my day.
The then priest of the St. Nicholas Church in Juneau presided over my mother’s memorial service. It was one of the last services he had conducted before he relocated to Denver, Colorado. (He gifted me several bags of incense that I recently used up.) He was the last priest of the church. If I am not mistaken, the church is no longer used for services, though I believe the church is open during tourist season. The church was built in 1895 at the request of the Tlingit people living in Juneau. Our mother was one of the last active members of the church until her passing.
My favorite incense to burn is the Russian Amber and the Russian Rose, along with other local resins, the dried sap collected from the Pinon tree of the Southwest and the Spruce resin of Southeast Alaska.
William and Irene Lampe model the Eagle and Raven robes by Clarissa Rizal, now displayed in the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) Hall in Juneau, Alaska – Christmas 1988
Today would have been the 60th wedding anniversary of my parents; I salute them with a prayer of gratitude…
Necessary Kold or hot drinks Kontained in Klarissa’s Kool Klean Kanteen
When my friend Margie gifted me this thermos last Fall 2014, I thought it was sweet, nifty and thoughtful of her. Little had I known I would use this precious gem at least once a day every day since! It’s the perfect size, not too big, not too small. I’ve traveled the ferry south from Juneau to Bellingham with it in my stateroom, traveled in my Chilkat Mobile along the West Coast down to Los Angelos over the Phoenix, up to Santa Fe and then Colorado.
This thermos keeps your hot drink hot for about 5 or 6 hours; keeps your cold drinks cold for about the same time.
I keep it handy at my side while I am at my desk, my drawing table, my sewing table, coffee table during music and of course my weaving loom. It’s been my pal, my confidant (yes, sometimes I actually talk to it), and obviously my traveling buddy! Yep, hot or kold drinks keep me hydrated serving me well…THE Klarissa’s Kool Klean Kanteen…! Go out and get one for yourself! Or better yet, maybe somebody will gift one to you…!
Thank you dear Margaret!
Collected from rifle ranges, these .22 bullet shells just got cleaned…!
Born to the Tlingit T’akDeinTaan Raven Clan from Glacier Bay, Alaska, I cannot help be the scavenger, a natural-born trait of ravens. Last year, Raven weavers Ricky Tagaban and my daughter Lily Hope collected .22 bullet shells from the Juneau rifle range as trim for the warp of their weavings; I had had the same idea when I saw bullet shells at a friend’s house. So what was the first thing I did when I returned to Juneau!?
Mariella models the 5-piece Chilkat woven ensemble “Chilkat Child” — the apron, headdress and leggings are all trimmed with .22 bullet shells (photo courtesy of Yukon News)