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!
In the “Warming of Hands” opening ceremonies, Bob Sam places Chilkat robe over Ed Kunz’s shoulders
On the evening of Wednesday, October 28th, clan leaders welcomed participants in the “Warming of Hands” ceremony to kick off another Clan Conference of Tsimpshian, Haida and Tlingit Tribes and Clans. The audience included academics and artists from throughout Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. For the third year, Chilkat weavers, Ravenstail weavers, cedar bark weavers and spruceroot weavers gathered together to demonstrate and present their work in the lobby of Centennial Hall in Juneau, Alaska.
Yarrow Vaara and her mother Suzi Williams attend the opening ceremony “Warming of Hands” the night before the Clan Conference 2015 begins
During the four days that followed, nearly 100 presentations and workshops were staged, with a Thursday luncheon to honor philosopher, actor, clan leader Walter Porter, and evenings dedicated to traditional music and dance, oratory, poetry readings and a Friday-night dinner honoring the late scholar, writer and poet Richard Dauenhauer.
Chilkat robes and one Ravenstail robe (woven by none other) await the time to dance
The Clan Conference was the latest in the series of what has become the premier scholarly gathering for historians, academics, elders, clan leaders, artists and youth who are involved in the study and documentation of Southeast Alaska Native history, culture and language.
Elder carver Nathan Jackson (R) and his right hand man, Steve Brown
Earlier Clan Conferences were held in Haines & Klukwan (1993), Sitka (1995), Ketchikan (1996), Sitka (1997 and 2007), and the last four in 2009, 2011, 2013, and this year were all held in Juneau.
Master of Ceremonies Harold Jacobs tells a humorous introduction of elders Percy Kunz (L) and Marie Olsen (R) — Notice Harold’s Chilkat top hat!
Previous gatherings were organized by the late Andrew Hope III. For the 2007 conference, Hope was joined by curator Steve Henrikson (University of Alaska/ Alaska State Museum) and anthropologist Sergei Kan (Dartmouth College), who served as co-organizers. Since Andy Hope’s passing in 2008, the most recent clan conferences have been spearheaded by his brother, Gerry Hope, along with a couple of his best friends Dick and Nora Dauenhauer, and long-time friend Peter Metcalfe, collegues Alice Taff and Sergei Kahn, and Andy’s son Ishmael Hope.
Hans Chester lends support to elder Selina Everson giving the closing prayer at the “Warming of Hands” ceremony
For more information: http://ankn.uaf.edu/ANCR/Southeast/ClanConference/
Norma Shorty, Florence Sheakley, Emma Shorty and Connie Munro
Ricky Tagaban, Clarissa Rizal and Suzi Williams discuss the differences of using the traditional mountain goat wool (in Suzi’s hand) as opposed to the merino wool
Scholars Aldona Jonaitis and Eric Holzinger visit a couple of the weavers who are demonstrating at the Clan Conference including Suzi Williams, Yarrow Vaara, Ricky Tagaban, Jean Lampe, Lily Hope and Clarissa Rizal
Yarrow, Suzi and Ricky share their knowledge of weaving and spinning techniques
Yarrow Vaara shows the side braids of “Copper Child” 5-piece Chilkat ensemble (woven by Clarissa Rizal)
Lily Hope has had a long day at day one of the Clan Conference
Ricky Tagaban tugs at a piece of mountain goat hide and tells us that it is easier to spin short pieces of mountain goat wool than longer pieces of merino wool for our warp
Irene Jean Lampe tells a weaving story to local weavers Karen Taug and Catrina Mitchell
Suzi Williams gives a presentation on the spiritual aspects of Chilkat weaving
Buddies Tong Tengs (maker of Chilkat cones) and Preston Singletary (glass blower)
Eric Holzinger and Bob Starboard examine the original carving and the digital 3-D replica of identical dance staffs
Two up-and-coming-elders Harold Jacobs and Fred White
Deana Dartt, Native American Curator at the Portland Art Museum presents the outline for PAM’s first Tlingit art exhibit slated for 2017 — other Museum staff panelists also include Steven Henrikson, Kate Bunn-Marcuse and Barbara Brotherton
Ricky Tagaban and Michael Hoyt discuss the latest cultural presentation at the Clan Conference while “Little Watchman” and “Chilkat Child” listen up!
At the Walter Porter Memorial luncheon held on the first day of the Clan Conference, Byron Mallott talks about his childhood growing up with Walter in Yakutat
Lance Twitchell gives an introduction of the film he directed/produced on Nora and Dick Dauenhauer
At the Richard Dauenhauer memorial dinner held the second night of the Clan Conference, the audience watches the film about the Dauenhauers by Lance Twitchell
Long time friend and collegue of Dick Dauenhauer: Walter Krauss provided some humor of the courtship of Dick and Nora Dauenhauer over 40 years ago
Ishamel Hope recites a poem written by Dick Dauenhauer
With Clan Conference organizers Peter Metcalfe and Gerry Hope, and presenters Ishmael Hope and Lance Twitchell, Steve Langdon remembers Dick Dauenhauer
Sergei Kahn remembers Dick Dauenhauer
Dick’s beloved wife, Nora Dauenhauer takes a bow
In her partial Halloween costume and make-up, Clarissa Rizal stands between two Alaskan scholars: Father Michael Oleska and Sergei Kahn
Clan Conference organizers (?, Kathy Ruddy, Alice Taft, David Katzeek, Harold Jacobs and Sergei Kahn) allow Ishmael Hope to give the the closing speech during the Clan Conference wrap-up
The new guy on the block: Haa Shagoon Gallery features local Northwest Coast arts and crafts
Haa Shagoon Gallery recently opened it’s doors on May 1st this year featuring mainly Northwest Coast art from locals as well as anywhere else along Southeast Alaska and West Coast Canada, though one can find antique woven grass baskets, carved ivory and baleen from Alaska’s far north. Owner Don Morgan says he has sold twice as much artwork since the first two weeks than he did in two months at his other location in the Senate Building just a couple of doors down from his new location!
Owner Don Morgan of the Haa Shagoon Gallery
Haa Shagoon is a Tlingit phrase meaning “Our Land.” Haa Shagoon features artwork from about 20 Alaska Native artists including Jnu Didrickson, Boyd Didrickson, Debra O’Gara, Kay Parker, Ray Peck, Brian Chilton, Irene Jean Lampe, Lily Hope and Clarissa Rizal, to name a few. Items available for sale include carvings of totem poles, plaques and masks, Ravenstail robes, aprons, headbands, limited edition silkscreened and Giclee prints, silver, copper and gold jewelry, pottery, etc.
Everybody’s talking: Artists Jnu Didrickson, Israel & Sue Shotridge, Don Morgan
Generally every day, Haa Shagoon features an on-site artist demonstrating their work; sometimes there are two or three artists, yet always at least one, Most of the artists are locals who live in Juneau, but on occasion Haa Shagoon may feature an out-of-town guest artist spontaneously dropping in and demonstrating for the day! Jnu Didrickson is a regular demonstrator working in carved wooden masks and silver jewelry.
Haa Shagoon Gallery is sandwiched between El Sombrero Restaraunt and the Alaskan Hotel on South Franklin Street, Juneau, Alaska
On special occasion Chilkat or Ravenstail weavers may get the notion to demonstrate the weaving technique, just so we can “get out of the house!”
A Chilkat weaving demonstration took place on Memorial Day weekend, Sunday, May 24th with (L-R) Lily Hope, Clarissa Rizal and Irene Jean Lampe
I have approximately $60K worth of inventory featured at the Haa Shagoon Gallery; they carry the most work I’ve every had in any gallery at one given time in the past 15 years. They feature a variety of my work created in the past 3 years including, 5-piece woven ensemble “Chilkat Child”, the “Egyptian Thunderbird” button blanket, the 6-foot “Totemic Theories” charcoal on canvas, “An Ocean Runs Through Us” limited edition Giclee triptyck, and a wide selection of limited edition Giclee prints.
Front entry of Haa Shagoon Gallery
Haa Shagoon does a 70/30 commission; when an item sells, the artist receives 70%, Haa Shagoon receives 30%. Most galleries do a 50/50 split. Contact Don Morgan if you are an artist interested in Haa Shagoon carrying your work, please give Don Morgan a call on his cell at: 907-209-1501
Clarissa reveals some of her tricks-of-the-trade, special suggested techniques and the “mistakes” in her recent Chilkat robe “Resilience” to the students in her One-day Weaving Class
Directly after Celebration, Sunday, June 15, 2014 in Juneau, Alaska, I conducted a one-day weaving class for weavers of all experience levels pertinent information gained from my apprenticeship in 1986 with the last traditional Chilkat weaver, Jennie Thlunaut; combined with my experiences as a weaver and teacher of this traditional art form over the past 30 years. Most of the information was directed towards Chilkat weavers though some of the information can also be applied towards Ravenstail weaving. This one-day class was to provide the spiritual aspects of weaving, tricks-of-the-trade and to inspire weavers to get back to their weavings!! It did not matter if weavers were students of mine or from another teacher; all were invited to attend.
Nila Rinehart helps Clarissa and Deana Dartt-Newton remove her “Resilience” Chilkat robe from the loom
One of the best aspects of this class is that we had approximately 20 students from all over the Northwest Coast as far North as Whitehorse, Yukon Territory throughout Southeast Alaska and into Alert Bay and Kincolith on the Nass River, British Columbia. For me, it was a hoot to have weavers introduce themselves to one another and begin the process of networking!
My assistant and daughter, Lily Hope shows Mary Ebona Miller how to strap just a headboard to the backside of a chair to use as her “loom” – Davina Barrill (orange shirt), Seattle and Donna Cranmer (Alert Bay, B.C.)
Lily demonstrates weaving tricks-of-the-trade to (L to R): Karen Taug, Crystal Worl, Irene Jean Lampe, Nila Rinehart and Crystal Rogers
Donna Cranmer begins weaving her next project of several projects!
Donna Cranmer’s daughter, Gwinti checks out cousin Marley’s work.
Ricky demonstrates an easier method of “dressing” your loom to Karen Taug, Nila and son, Laine Rinehart
Juneauites Crystal Worl takes notes as Crystal Rogers shows Stefanie Sidney (Whitehorse) how to anchor down her heading cord
Vanessa Morgan (Kincolith, Nass River, B.C.) and her child-size Chilkat robe with her starfish/frog clan Clarissa translated into Chilkat design
The next generation of weavers – watch out for them: Crystal Rogers, Crystal Worl, Stefanie Sidney and Amber Baker (Pelly Crossing, Yukon)
Verna Hunt (Alert Bay, B.C.) shares the color and type of yarn she uses for her weavings with Laine Rinehart (Juneau)
Melissa Rinehart (Seattle), Verna and Laine all analyze another type of weft yarn
Ricky Tagaban (Juneau and Charlene Baker (Pelly Crossing, Yukon) share weaving techniques
Angoon weavers Shgen George and Jackie Kookesh share weaving information as they look at Shgen’s newly-hung warp for her first Chilkat roge!
Ricky inspects Shgen’s Chilkat octopus bag – Shgen holds another octopus bag in her hands
Weavers are taking a breather before our potluck feast!
Thank you to all the weavers who came on this past Sunday morning; it was great to see you all together and many of you meeting one another for the first time. Gunalcheesh!
Anna Beaver’s ashes in a box covered by a cloth embellished with a small beaded “T’naa” by Anna when she was a child
The first time I met Anna Beaver was during a portrait documentary project that her daughter Donna Beaver Pizzarelli and I were photographing during Celebration 2004 in Juneau. A gracious, generous, thoughtful woman who not only brought us food during our crazy three days of photographing dancers in their regalia all the while we forgetting to eat, but also she beadworked name tags for the four of us who were collaborating together on this project: Liana Wallace Young, Rhonda Mann, Donna and myself. Since then, I hadn’t seen her much except now and then when we would run into one another at an art fair selling our wares.
Beadwork and doll-maker, Anna Beaver – photo by Donna Beaver Pizzarelli
Hand-made dolls by Anna Beaver – photo by Donna Beaver Pizzarelli
Clarissa, Anna Beaver and Rhonda – Auke Bay 2005 – photo by Donna Beaver Pizzarelli
We took a small catamaran to the back side of Douglas Island, a place called “Hilda Creek” where Anna and her family would harvest foods from the land and sea
The last time I saw Anna Beaver was just three weeks before she passed away on Sunday, July 14th. Rhonda and I had heard she was not doing well and I was scheduled to jump a ferry to Skagway to head up to Whitehorse the next day so we thought we better get a visit in. Rhonda, Donna and Donna’s sister, Delores Weathers and I sat around for at least two hours at Anna’s bedside telling young women dumb stories gossiping about ourselves…we shared, teased and we laughed until we cried. Anna could hardly get a word in edgewise, though she was very happy.
family members and relatives gathered inside
Anna seemed like she could go either way; she could get better or she could be “letting go.” This time she “let go.” Upon hearing her passing, I was in my room in Whitehorse preparing to teach a few more tricks-of-the-trade to my students; I had to sit still and gaze out the window. In one day two of my friends’ mothers passed away this same day just within four hours of one another. All time stood still for those moments as I remembered too my own mother, Irene Loling Sarabia Lampe. Our mothers are special people. We miss our mothers. Till the day we pass, not a day goes by without thinking of them and every now and then we can “feel” their presence. It’s a fine day.
Anna Beaver’s children L to R: Delores, Debbie, Darlene, Donna and Darren
Click here to read Anna Beaver’s obituary in the Juneau Empire . Anna was the daughter of Amos Wallace, T’akDeinTaan Clan originally from Hoonah, Alaska who was a famous totem pole carver and silversmith (amongst many other talents). Click here to read Amos’ obituary in the Juneau Empire
Rhonda, Clarissa and Donna
Tom Jimmie, Jr. sang a Kaagwaantaan song
Anna’s sister holds a bouquet of a dozen white roses
A plate of some of Anna’s favorite foods were “sent” with her ashes – this is a tradition of many tribes throughout Southeast Alaska – we believe we keep alive the spirit of the departed one by “feeding” them. We want to let them know we will remember them. They “assist” us from their place as we acknowledge and continue to appreciate them from here.
Hilda Creek in the background, Anna’s ashes, bouquets, food and lost of love were spread into the ocean
White roses accompany the ashes of Anna Beaver – photo by Donna Beaver Pizzarelli
Appropriately, the opposite clan the T’akDeinTaan, Anna’s father’s clan song was sung by Irene Jean Lampe accompanied by Tom Jimmie (T.J.), Jr.
- Donna Beaver Pizzarelli’s (yellow pants) and friends, Rhonda Mann (blue pants) and Clarissa Rizal (red jacket)
Donna and her husband, Al Pizzarelli
Clarissa and her ukelele – which, by the way, was purchased at Hawaii Music Supply…
Who woulda thought I’d be playing Tlingit songs with the sounds of a ukelele? Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later…!
I learned this song in 1972 from Harry K. Bremner, Sr., who then was in his mid-80’s. He said I had the rights to sing this song because our clan, the T’akDein Taan Black-legged Kittywake had branched down from the Coho Clan on the Alsek River near Yakutat – the Coho who are the owners of this song.
Here I sing with the ukelele accompanying just a shortened version.
The following is a shortened version of a T’akDeinTaan song written by J.K. Smith; my sister Irene Jean Lampe discovered this song on an old recording of clan elders. I play a shortened version (without any of the words):
My very first song I wrote called “Shifting Shanks” – It’s influenced by “spaghetti western” sound, like a combination of “cowboys and indians” – the song is about not being aware of our Western privileges; we have so many freedoms many other countries do not have…we are born with “silver suspenders…”
Irene and William Lampe - December 1955 - my mother is pregnant with her first daughter, Clarissa Rizal Lampe
Irene passed away last year on the 4th of July; she was 86 years old. This is the first Mother’s Day without her; somehow as much as I tried to feel okay about this day with my family members, I couldn’t help but feel melancholy – it was always such a special day when our mother was alive. And even though I am not only a mother of 3 but a grandmother of 4, I’m not in any mode to celebrate myself in that role. I must look for another element…I’ll celebrate my daughters as mothers.
Half of the dorm room; notice the hummel and ukelele on the wall - playing music helps survive the academia and four walls - the other half of the room is occupied by my Italian roommate
24 years ago, after my last child was born, I took a few classes at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe – it was my way of “getting out of the house” without taking any responsibilities with me except those that I carried in regards to schooling. Then I was not interested in achieving a degree so I took fun classes. However, I’ve raised my family on my art income without a back-up “real” job and I thought it’s time to get my Bachelor of Fine Arts; in this way I have the balance of the Indigenous and Western credentials. Why is it important to have that balance? To gain more understanding of the complexities of living in a cross-cultural world.
The Center for Lifelong Learning at the Institute of American Indian Arts
At first, I scoffed at the concept of having to take the requirement classes in Drawing I & II, Geometry, Intro to Indigenous Studies, Contemporary Art, Native Art History I & II, English Composition I & II, etc. — yadda, yaddie, yaddue! Like golly, Holy Moses, do I have to take stuff I pretty much already know!? Friends of mine thought that with my status as a full-time artists for three decades, I ought to be a teacher at IAIA, not a student! Often I had wondered what the heck am I doing wasting my time getting stupid credentials. Yet, I’ve discovered how much I DON’T KNOW and how much fun it is to go through the assignments and learn additional stuff! We humans are so doggone arrogant and funny!
Easy walks on IAIA campus
At IAIA, we either gain weight because of the astounding food at the cafeteria, or we lose weight because IAIA is an easy campus to walk. Up on a mesa, it has 360 degree views of spectacular skies and faraway mountains. Although a biting cold in Winter, it’s sunny about 395 days of the year. And for those of us coming from Southeast Alaska, well…although the countryside lacks the dramatics of the big spruce, hemlock, alders and cedars, there is an ancient silence in the high-country deserts of the Southwest. As any of us Indigenous peoples know, go out onto the land and feel its gifts. There is the everlasting to appreciate.
Sweatlodge skeleton at IAIA; in use during the late Fall/Winter/Spring - what other 4-year accredited college are you aware of that conducts sweatlodge ceremonies?
There is a footpath for runners and walkers alike on campus. I don’t remember how many acres belong to IAIA, but it’s enough to continue growing. Hopefully, as IAIA grows its campus, the designers will always keep in mind our need to be connected to the earth, especially for many of us who are missing our homelands and require being outside — feeling the earth beneath our feet and enjoying the horizon.
Courtyard of the sculputure building at IAIA -- If I am not mistaken, this monumental, marble sculpture is by Craig Dan Goyesun - behind bars, the courtyard gate was locked. I thought this an interesting image.
IAIA is a unique environment. I hadn’t come to appreciate its qualities until this past Fall Semester. There is an Indigenous Studies department that was added to the “normal” Western curriculum of IAIA. Some of the classes from this department are requirements for a BFA. As mentioned earlier, I resisted taking the requirements, yet I discovered how much I don’t know and better yet, I discovered how much I want to learn! I am actually considering achieving a Minor in Indigenous Studies. We’ll see what transpires within this next year.
The Chama River near Abiqui, New Mexico - October 2011
I commute from my studio home in Colorado to IAIA. The 3-hour drive is one of the most scenic in North America (2nd best to that drive from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory to Haines, Alaska!). The drive enables me to relax, listen to Van Morrison’s “Listen to the Lion” and books on tape.
The Chama River with first snow - December 2011
I drive through Geronimo’s Apache homeland and “Georgia O’Keefe” country. Although the high-country desert is a vast difference from the rainforest of my homeland in Southeast Alaska, I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the beauty both environments have to offer. I am privileged to have the option to experience these kinds of freedoms in America.
Looking towards "Ghost Ranch" of Georgia O'Keefe country during first snow - December 2011
Many years ago, my mother and father, Irene and William Lampe, encouraged me to get a degree; they said it’s the way to “get ahead” and understand living in the Western world. My mother said that back when she was young if she had the grant opportunities we have now, she’d have gone to school and she often wondered what her life would have been like. On behalf of my parents, I’d like to thank the following Grantors for their support:
* Chugach Heritage Foundation * Sealaska Heritage Institute * Tlingit & Haida Central Counil * Huna Heritage Foundation * Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) and * FAFSA
The soft light of Irene Loling Sarabia Lampe
As many of us have experienced, or are presently experiencing, it is not easy watching our parents get older. It’s not easy for them either. Remembering my weaving teacher, Jennie Thlunaut’s words back in 1985 when she was 95: “…don’t get too old! Don’t get too old!” As she was trying to get up off the couch, “You cannot get up,…or walk anymore!” As she looked out at all of her students her thick glasses made her look like an owl: “…you cannot see anymore…!” She struggled with her false teeth flapping in her mouth: “…you cannot even talk anymore…!”
Two nights ago my sister and I were in sitting with our mother, Irene Loling Sarabia Lampe. At one point, Mom said the same thing as Jennie. She also said she is getting tired of living and just wants to go now. We don’t blame her. Since our father passed in December 2008, our mother has sorely missed him; this of course, has made her living a little bit less palatable. They were married almost 54 years.
My mother was the youngest in her family. After the passing of her brother Robert Sarabia and her sister Sue Belarde over 10 years ago, she remarked that she was the only one left in her family; she felt very alone. Yet, just a year before the passing of our father, my parents got to experience the birth of their first great-grandchild, Elizabeth Deanna Hope. Then 6 months later, they met their 2nd grand-daughter, Violet Sol Hudson. I hadn’t seen that kind of happiness since my own children were born. My mother will meet the next grand-daughter, Amelie Soleil Haas next month as she will be here for a two-week visit with her parents. We look forward to the celebration.
My Mamma naps and dreams of another time and place where she is no longer slow, bent and in pain
Out of the sky blue, my mother asked me when I’m going to cut my hair. I told her “after you are gone..” She curtly replies “Why are you going to wait until AFTER I am gone!? I want to see it now! I want to see all the curls you once had when you were a little babe…!”