“Chilkat Storyteller” Doll

IMG_5441

“Chilkat Storyteller” soft sculpture doll recently completed by Clarissa Rizal — copyright 2016

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.

IMG_5458

back view of “Chilkat Storyteller” wearing miniature Ravenstail/Chilkat robe — by Clarissa Rizal — copyright 2016

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

IMG_5454

top view looking down at “Chilkat Storyteller” doll by Clarissa Rizal — copyright 2016

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *