“A Weaver’s Tale” — A Poem by Carver Wayne Price

Jennie Thlunaut’s hands weaving closing up the black braids to the eye – May 1986

As we weave the fabric of our lives, working hard through all the days

Mixing colors into twine, cedar too for warp that’s mine

Our hands do hurt but I won’t complain; my students here I’m going to train

To be a weaver of the robe, that people know over all the globe

Our work we do for time will stand, side by side from my ancestor’s land

Their hands I see when I close my eyes; heads of grey, hands wrinkled and wise

Their training I feel all through these days, now I pass it on in so many ways

What I teach I hope and pray, they will learn and weave will stay

Long past my last earth day

My Grandchildren’s Grandchildren I hope will say

This robe I weave is from my land, taught to me by someone Grand

Our story goes on and we prevail; I’m here to tell you a weaver’s tale.

Written by Wayne Price in honor of our weaving tour visit in Haines, Alaska three weeks prior and in memory of our weaving mentor, the late Jennie Thlunaut – written 18 August 2013

Wayne Price wears the “Diving Whale Lovebirds” Chilkat robe recently woven by Clarissa Rizal – June 2013 – weavers Cherish Clarke, Sherri Atlin, and Georgianna Low are standing behind Clarissa and Wayne at the Adaka Festival photo shoot – photo by Ken Kaunshansky




Undoubtedly Under the Influence

Pasting pages with matte medium onto old recycled cabinet doors

Back in March I cleaned out the attic; 18 years of accumulated family, personal, business and theatre stuff were set in the driveway.  I let go of lots of stuff, however, I hung onto other things I felt I would use later.  About 10 years ago, I had saved three, wooden cabinet doors from a remodel.  I told myself that I would use them someday whenever I got into doing paintings for a living.  Although I began painting about 10 years ago, I never really took it seriously until lately when a number of things accumulated this past year one of them being the return of my friends Cecil and Rosalia Touchon.  Undoubtedly my contemporary works in paintings, collage and charcoals are influenced by Touchon.  Check out their work at Cecil Touchon.com

Once all three panels were covered with pages and were given a couple coats of matte medium over the entire surface, Clarissa sketches shadows here and there to give a 3-D appearance

Rummaging through my box of collage-making papers, I came across a book of international poetry published in 1961.  The pages were weathered; I liked the look – pasted them onto the gesso-ed cabinet doors which I will from now on will refer to as my “canvas.”  I then pasted a cut up paper print of my Chilkat robe design pattern called “Jennie Weaves An Apprentice.”  I edged each strip with a bit of golden yellow acrylic paint.  I am having fun.

I order most of my acrylic paints, canvas, matte medium, brushes, etc. from Artist Supply Warehouse (ASW); as far as I know, they have good quality products at the lowest prices.  If you find anything better, would you mind letting the rest of us know?  Thank you!

A better view of the 3_D shading example

After a bit of shading with a soft lead drawing pencil, I stood back and liked the effect; like wow, now I am really having fun! –  If I am not mistaken, this is my very first mixed-media collage on wooden cabinets done with this type of effect.  If you want to see more of this effect, make sure you visit Cecil Touchon’s website.  He’s an expert at this!

So far, so good, but not quite finished with this triptych

Each panel measures about 40″ high and about 20″ wide.  They are available for sale as a unit at the Alaska Juneau Public Market during Thanksgiving weekend in Juneau.

Tlingit Elder Frank Johnson

Tlingit Elder Frank Johnson in 1972 - photo by Richard Dauenhauer

I first met Frank when I was 16 back in 1972.  Gilbert Lucero (from Angoon, Alaska – originally from Salinas, California) was the director of the “Totem Center” (Juneau, Alaska), a place for young Native people to begin to learn more about their culture because at that time many of us didn’t even know we belonged to a distinct indigenous peoples.  In fact, I didn’t even know there was a word called “native.”  Gilbert had invited three men to spend a month teaching classes to young Native children; those three men were:  Cy Peck, Sr. (from Angoon, who taught the Native history and ways of being; Cy was also Gilbert’s mentor), Harry K. Bremner, Sr. (from Yakutat, who taught native song and dances; I became an apprentice), and Frank Johnson (from Sitka, who taught Native/Western politics).

I will always remember Frank as an uplifting, inspiring soul; he wore a permanent smile no matter what, even when he spoke of the injustice amongst our people and one another!  On the very first day of classes, when he first met me, his first words were:  “Hey, Harry (he enthusiastically waved Harry Bremner, Sr. to come over and meet me)…come and look at this nose!  You’ve got to meet this young girl and her nose!”  Embarrassed as I was with this scene happening in front of at least 40 people, the two men checked out my nose, laughed to their heart’s content and each gave me a big hug.   Little was I to know how these classes taught by these three men would impact the rest of my life!  Many thanks to Gilbert Lucero for all his work bringing these elders into our lives at that time period with the resurgence of Native ways of  being and doing.

My son-in-law, Ishmael Hope has a wonderful blog featuring various Native elders of present including those who have passed.  Ishmael is an excellent writer; he has recently posted a blog on the Clan Conference, featuring Tlingit elder Frank Johnson.  Ishmael has several blog entries featuring Frank Johnson.  Check out writings including Frank at:  http://alaskanativestoryteller.com/blog/

The Canvas Hosts a Poetry Block Party Street Fair

10am Saturday - let the fair begin...! (High school art teacher, Miah Lager's "collage poetry" booth) Notice the banners, they are made of collage materials

The Canvas Community Art Studio and Gallery hosted the first “Poetry Block Party” street fair last  Saturday, April 30th beginning at 10am to 3pm.  They received permission from the City & Borough of Juneau to close off Seward Street between 2nd and 3rd Street (which is where The Canvas is located).  The theme of this year’s block party (as they may continue as an annual event), was the writing of poetry through artistic means, whether it be the written word, visual arts, or performing arts.

Miah demonstrates the collage-making "poetry"

Most of the businesses within 2nd/3rd Street block (and 2 blocks down or around the corner) participated in the event.  They include Silverbow Bakery where you could participate in the “Baking” Haiku Contest; Big Brothers/Big Sisters poetry chain; Nana’s Estates theme hats; Capital City Weekly’s found poetry; The Plant People poet tree; Copy Express fill in the blank poems; Juneau Public Library Haikubes (“Scrabble” poetry), poetry books, library card registration and prize raffle; The Canvas word necklaces, mixed media poetry paintings, window word painting and crazy quills; Art Photography write photo-inspired poetry; Memuluck Furs beading and sewing; CHOCO in the REACH window “Tailored Words” poetry through fashion; Nail Jazz airbrushed temporary tattoos; Wells Fargo coin toss poetry; Nana’s Attic decorate hats and visors with the Hat Lady; K3Radio/UAS Media Club record poems to be read on the radio and turn in Scavenger Hunt cards for prizes; Juneau Arts & Humanities Council sidewalk chalk art contest; Hearthside Books receive 15% off all Poetry Books during the Block Party; Jewel Box drop off a “proposal poem” by 3:00pm for a chance to win a Jewel Box gift certificate; and DJ Manuel music all day, freestyle session.

Sidewalk/street art

Creating poetry writing wands

Love and friendship bubbles

The DJ played awesome tunes...especially for hula hooping

The street fair also included activities for adults...!

Performances throughout the day included the Hula Hoop Collective, Free-style Session with DJ Manuel, Spirit Lodge Drumming, The Kinetics (hip hop dance group), and Open Mic hosted by Woosh Kinaadeiyi Poetry Slam.

There were a few food vendors including the "Urban Eskimos" Gallery selling Kettle Korn and the classic Cotton Candy

Restaurants and food vendors included:  Silverbow Bakery’s beer garden; Chef Stef word cookies; Lola’s Filipino BBQ and desserts; Wild Oven organic artisan bread; Glory Hole alphabet soup; Pie in the Sky trade an original poem about pie for a free cookie; and Urban Eskimo kettle korn.

Painting body poetry

"Scrabble" poetry - roll the words and create a line of poetry (as seen in the photo below), then write your line down on a paper "leaf" and tie it to the tree for everyone to read...

An example of a line created from Scrabble poetry...

For more information on the Canvas Community Art Studio & Gallery in Juneau, visit their website at:  http://www.canvasarts.org/

Guiding Northern Lights Into Ocean’s Black Hole

“Standing like a strong man on black waves

she claws brilliant bands of yellow, green and blue;

pulling down, she guides bands of light from a dark heaven

into a wide black hole at her feet

where the illumined ocean is filled by its shaft moving straight through to earth’s core

into shaped petals making full the heart, preparing to bloom with a form left to wonder

In time soon, real soon”

This dream I had during the last of two nights staying at a friend’s house boat in the cove a few minutes East of Hoonah.  It was October 30, 2003.

I stood on the ocean waves between the cove and Hoonah.  I could see Hoonah off in the distance with its city lights illuminated and reflecting off the dark ocean ripples…the dark sea rolled easy, glassy waves; it was night.  The Northern Lights above rippled almost in unison with the gentle roll of dark waves.  I reached up and clawed at the a band of northern lights which made its way in my direction, so I guided them into a black hole about 18 inches wide at the base of my feet.  Imagine yourself in my shoes; it was quite an exhilarating experience.  When I awoke, my eyes were wide open, staring into the early morning hours, my body vibrating.

Some day I will create a piece of art based on this dream; maybe a button robe or a painting, maybe do a print of the painting – or all of the above!  The illumined heaven of light and creation are endless!