Clarissa’s 1st TV Interview — New Mexico’s PBS “Colores”

Clarissa takes a photo of herself on the monitor above her right shoulder

Clarissa takes a photo of herself on KTOO Public Radio station’s monitor – Juneau, Alaska

who sponsors the weekly TV series called  “Colores” at PBS New Mexico.

When show organizer John Morris contacted me about being a part of the Antique Native American Art Show in Santa Fe, New Mexico opening August 17th, I did not know it would involve doing my first public television interview airing on Saturday, August 8th in Albuquerque, NM.  Modern technology made it so that the interviewer, who was in the television station in Albquerque, could interview me while I sat in the KTOO television sound room.  Technology sent the visual interview via internet along with me providing about 100 images of my work to the TV company who sponsors the weekly TV series called  “Colores” at PBS New Mexico in Albuquerque.

The interview will broadcast on the following dates:

Clarissa in the TV recording studio of PBS's local station at KTOO in Juneau, Alaska

Clarissa in the TV recording studio of PBS’s local station at KTOO in Juneau, Alaska

The episode with my segment will broadcast on Saturday, August, 8th at 4:00pm on Channel 5.l  PBS New Mexico who sponsors the weekly TV series called  “Colores”.

It will also repeat as follows:

Monday, August 10th at 9:30pm on Channel 9.1.
Friday, August 14th at 10:30pm on Channel 5.1.

Just a reminder that this is a segment not the entire show.  The way Colores! works is that each show is made up of approximately 3 segments.  Clarissa’s segment is about 5 minutes.  They will mention the Santa Fe Antique Native American art show during the program.

Thank you Tara Walsh and Joan Rebecchi at PBS New Mexico and the folks at Juneau’s KTOO for getting this interview together.

2nd Year at Adaka’s Fashion Show

Clarissa Rizal models her 7-piece dance ensemble created by 4 generations of women in her family

Clarissa Rizal models her 7-piece dance ensemble created by 4 generations of women in her family:  Clarissa’s Grandmother Mary Sarabia made the tunic for great uncle Leonard Davis, button robe designed by Clarissa and beaded by mother Irene Loling Sarabia Lampe, button work by daughter Lily Hope. (Photo by Minnie Clark)

This evening, the Adaka Festival sponsored the 2nd biennial Da Ze Tsan Fashion Show featuring traditional and contemporary designs from First Nations designers and artists, including a special sealskin collection from Nunavut, performances by Andrameda Hunter, Nyla Carpentier, and special guests.  I was asked to be one of the special guests to show the following ensembles:


Mariella Wentzell models Clarissa Rizal’s latest 5-piece Chilkat woven ensemble “Chilkat Child” which includes the headdress, robe, apron and leggings (photo by Minnie Clark, Yukon News)

At $20/ticket (Elders and youth $10/ticket), I was totally surprised to hear that the tickets were sold out the first day of Adaka a week ago, and the standing room audience proved it so! — Fabulous traditional and contemporary works walked this runway.  I did not include any photos here for several reasons:  I was back stage during the event so I did not take any photos.  These photos of my ensembles  were borrowed from Minnie Clark, Photographer. And if you want to see photographs of the rest of the fashion show, then be-friend Minnie Clark on Facebook.

Megan Jensen

Megan Jensen models Clarissa Rizal’s three-piece leather ensemble made for her mother Irene Lampe by beadworker Kate Boyan in 1981 — Clarissa inherited the ensemble with her mother’s passing in 2011 (Photo by Minnie Clark)


Wayne Price models the “Egyptian Thunderbird” button blanket robe designed and sewn by Clarissa Rizal – though you cannot see the design in this photo image, you can check out the robe at the Haa Shagoon Gallery in downtown Juneau, or you may see it during one of the Native American art markets in Santa Fe, New Mexico (August), the Lawrence, Kansas (September) or Tulsa, Oklahoma (October), or Los Angeles (November – check out my “Calendar” website page for details (Photo by Minnie Clark)


Clarissa Joins Local Plein Rein Painters

Using woodless color crayons, Clarissa does an abstract of Mt. Juneau beginning with the sky

Using woodless color crayons, Clarissa does an abstract of Mt. Juneau beginning with the sky

Would I have known how much I enjoy doing outdoor drawings and paintings of the landscape!?  I joined Juneau’s Plein Rein group thanks be to the encouragement of my friend Lis Saya!  My first outing was a couple of days after my birthday — best birthday present I ever gave to myself…!


Juneau Plein Rein members set up at Marine Park in Juneau, Alaska

Many years ago, Lis told me that she was not one who bought things though if she were to add up the amount of money she spent on experiences, she would be rich.  I told her that she is rich with experience!  Even though Plein Rein is not expensive, the act of going out into the country, setting up one’s easel and enjoying the scenery, the weather and what unfolds on your canvas is enriching…there’s something magical about it all…and I like magic!


Local musician and artist, Lis Saya works on a pastel of Mt. Jumbo across the channel on Douglas Island

Periodically, I will include posting plein rein images on this blog, no matter where I travel, whether it be to Yukon, Southeast Alaska, New Mexico, Colorado, etc.  I am blessed to have the privilege and mindset to have done all that I have done, do what I am doing and continue full steam ahead.  Even though I may not have a home just yet, my heart is my home, and my heart is full of love for what I do and what I am becoming, therefore life is good.


Mt. Jumbo in the distance beyond the gates placed on the tour ship docks; as if we will pay attention to these kinds of security measures…


Raven Buttonrobe Travels Russia

Raven Button robe is a collaboration of  designer Preston Singletary and sewer Clarissa Rizal

Raven Button robe is a collaboration of designer Preston Singletary and sewer Clarissa Rizal

A couple of years ago, I wanted to make some button robes, but I didn’t feel like designing them.  I guess I was just feeling lazy!  So I did what I’ve never done before – I asked another artist for designs!   I called up my friend Preston Singletary and asked him if he had any designs on hand that were suitable for button robes. He sent me two; one of the robes is now owned by Crystal Rogers Nelson and the other one is this one:  Raven.   Made with black and red wool melton cloth and some of the thousands of antique mother-of-pearl buttons I have been collecting for a good 25 years.  Little does Preston know that we are 2 of 11 Native American artists invited to submit something for an exhibit that is traveling Russia for over a year.

“Woven Together” is an exhibit intended to share a small part of Native American culture with Russians in the Urals. This will likely be the first exposure to Native American culture for many who visit the exhibit. Typically, the Consulate supports such artistic exchanges in order to encourage contact between Russians and Americans and to promote interest in the diverse people that inhabit the U.S.

Clarissa Rizal sorts  antique mother-of-pearl buttons for the Raven button -- a collaboration between designer Preston Singletary and button robe maker Clarissa Rizal

Clarissa Rizal sorts antique mother-of-pearl buttons for the Raven button — a collaboration between designer Preston Singletary and button robe maker Clarissa Rizal

The exhibit will travel to three cities in Russia – Yekaterinburg, Orenburg and Surgut. In all three cities there will be opportunities to show objects in display cases as well as on the walls.

Yekaterinburg is an industrial city and the capital of the Urals. Previously, they have hosted an exhibit of Native American photography.

Orenburg is a remote city in the south of the Urals that is simply interested in learning more about other cultures. This will be their first time hosting an exhibit the American consulate and they are very enthusiastic.

Surgut is a city located in a region that is home to the Khanti and Mansi peoples. The region is committed to preserving and honoring the cultural heritage and traditions of the Khanti and Mani peoples, and they are particularly interested in the Woven Together exhibit to learn more about Native peoples in the U.S.

Corners of "Raven" button blanket made by Clarissa Rizal designed by Preston Singletary 2015

Corners of “Raven” button blanket made by Clarissa Rizal designed by Preston Singletary 2015



Clarissa Rizal Announces Her New Website!

Northwest Coast Tlingit graduation cap designed by Clarissa Rizal painted and modeled by Ursala Hudson --  2014

Northwest Coast Tlingit graduation cap designed by Clarissa Rizal painted and modeled by Ursala Hudson at her BA graduation — 2014

I have a new website with a few new tweaks to my blog, just launched last week on April 13th; I HAVE GRADUATED to a simpler, cleaner, and easy-to-navigate format to update:  It’s time to celebrate!  (Most artists that I know would rather spend their time creating instead of working on the computer, so the easier and faster computer time, the better for us all…!)

This is my fourth website since 1998; the first was created by my friend Cecil Touchon ( nearly 20 years ago when there were not very many Native American artists’ websites.

I have been blogging since July 2010, nearly 5 years!  Unlike the past blog entries randomly posted when I could fit in the work, I will post new blog entries 3/x weekly with this schedule:

  • on Mondays and Thursdays and Saturdays by 12 midnight (Alaska, Pacific or Mountain time — all depends on where my business travel takes me!).

Blog posts will include the usual latest projects, art business travel, tools of the trade, people, classes, health topics, etc., though to continue helping out my fellow weavers in a more efficient manner, I have added a new section to my categories (column on the right) called “Tricks-of-the-Trade.”

All photographs on my website and blog were shot by myself unless otherwise noted.

  • For over 20 years, most of the photographs of my button robes and my chilkat weavings were taken by professional photographer Jeff Laydon at
  • I make an effort to give credit to any other  photographers.
  • Thank you to my ceremonial robe models the late Russ Eagle and my grand-daughter Amelie Haas.
  • My friend Russ had been modeling for me for nearly 15 years until his passing in 2009.
  • Five-year-old Amelie had her debut this past March modelling my “Chilkat Child” 5-piece weaving ensemble.

I have begun formatting my photographs larger; people want to SEE!

  • I also will aim towards shooting more interesting shots, maybe at different angles
  • maybe I’ll even tweak them too, because I CAN!
  • Click photos on my website to enlarge; the blog photos are what they are
  • Ursala says I ought to buy myself a SLR camera to produce better photos, though at this time I cannot afford spending $500-$1000.
  • Blogs and websites are much more interesting with better photography and golly, shooting from my old iPhone I guess just doesn’t tickle anybody’s fancy does it!
  • Hold on, dear readers, the money for a real camera will come some day!

As time permits, I will be adding one more topic to my website:  a “Tributes” page to honor  mainly Tlingit elders who have helped me on my path as a full-time Tlingit artist for nearly 40 years.  My “Tributes” page will include those of have passed including:

  • grandparents, Juan and Mary Sarabia
  • parents William and Irene Lampe
  • very first mentor/teacher Tlingit chief from Yakutat, Harry K. Bremner, Sr. who gave me my very first sewing lessons along with Tlingit song and dance instruction, and
  • mentor/teacher of Chilkat weaving, Jennie Thlunaut
  • my apprenticeship with Jennie Thlunaut

Thank you to my daughter, Ursala Hudson for working hard last weekend to create and launch  my website by my deadline!  Check Ursala’s graphic design/web design work on her website at:

Starting A New Chilkat Robe


Clarissa begins preliminary sketch of her next Chilkat robe entitled “Egyptian Thunderbird” – © Clarissa Rizal – March 2015

I have started weaving my next Chilkat robe for the Thunderbird Clan.  This is all I am saying for now.  Stay tuned for periodic blog entries on this robe for this next year…!


Approximately 750 yards of 10 e.p.i. warp is needed for this Chilkat robe measuring 60″ w x 51″h – all warp prepared and spun by Clarissa Rizal


Clarissa’s weaving loom, balls of warp, weft yarns, warp stick and weaving supplies – April 11, 2015


The first 6 to 7 rows of a Chilkat robe are always done in white; this depth is to accommodate the fluffiness of the fur trim added to the top edge of a Chilkat robe. – Clarissa Rizal – April 2015


“Chilkat Child” 5-Piece Tlingit Dance Ensemble

Amelie dances “Chilkat Child” 5-piece Tlingit woven ensemble woven by Clarissa Rizal – 2015 – all photographs by Jeff Laydon of Pagosa Photography

In the Summer of 2012, I had a couple of weaving apprentices come live with me for a month.  All three of us started child-size Chilkat robes (with the intention that the child robe could also be worn by an adult as a dance apron).  Over the past 2.5 years with all the other projects, a couple of commissions, travel for weaving classes and gatherings, family, etc., I finally completed this ensemble.  I chart my time; it took a total of 5 months to weave this ensemble.  The only way to make myself get a job done is to give myself a deadline, usually the deadline is an art show, a dance performance, etc.  This time the deadline to complete the entire ensemble was by the Heard Museum Indian Art Fair and Market the weekend of March 6th this year.

Back side of Chilkat Child dance robe – Size 3T – woven by Clarissa Rizal 2015

I used four shades of blues, three were hand-dyed by myself, the variegated blue was dyed by a company in Sitka, Alaska.  I used one shade of blue just for the braids.   To distinguish the braids from the weavers, it was Jennie’s trick-of-the-trade to use two different shade of blues, one for the weaving, one for the braids!  Also, I included curlique shapes in the design form; they represent seaweed, yet also I just wanted to see if I could actually weave the tight curls; they are not necessarily easy to weave, so believe me (which I rarely use that phrase), weaving the curliques in the leggings and the apron were a challenge!

Chilkat Apron & Leggings

Close-up of Chilkat dance apron and Chilkat/Ravenstail dance leggings – Size 3T (fot small child) – woven by Clarissa Rizal – 2015

I also used three different shades of golden yellow and two shades each of the white/off-white and black.  The fringe on the apron, headdress and leggings were trimmed with .22 bullet shells, and all the pieces are trimmed with sea otter fur.  Except for the robe, all the pieces were lined with leather with twisted fringe.


“Chilkat Child” torso (hat and upper front part of Chilkat robe – woven by Clarissa Rizal – 2015

Thank you to my 5-year-old grand-daughter, Amelie Soleil Haas for being such a natural-born model.  She was easy to work with, took instruction well, and made my little “Chilkat Child” look better than ever!


Grand-daughter Amelie models “Chilkat Child”, with the weaver of the ensemble, her Grandma “Rissy” Clarissa Rizal – March 2015

Folks wonder how I get so much done:  Most people who see me out there in the world being friendly and cordial and seemingly always traveling, wonder how I have time to work…well, there’s an explanation for that:  when I hole up inside my studio for about 7 months out of the year, I do nothing else but work, work, work–produce, produce, produce.  I have a zilch social life; I don’t watch TV except Netflix movies while I am preparing bark, splitting wool, spinning or grooming warp, and I don’t entertain because I don’t have facilities or room to entertain.  I tend to be goal-oriented.  I like setting goals and achieving them.  And as any of you who know me well, I have always had many, many goals to achieve, all at once; there are things to take care of, things to design and make, places to go, people to connect with and bills to be paid!  My motto:  “Getterdun!”

However, once I am “out of my rabbit hole” and in the world, I am truly out there, but nevertheless doing work, just a different kind of work.  It’s my “social work” which generally involves helping with the grandchildren, spending time with friends, networking, traveling to do shows, or teach classes or apprentices, buying supplies and equipment.  This life is the way I make a living.  It’s been this way for 39 years, it’s too late to get out of it now!



Using Leftover Chilkat/Ravenstail Weft Yarns


The Hope grandchildren, Bette, Louis, Mary and Eleanor  model hats made by  Grandma Rissy!

After 20+ years of weaving Chilkat and Ravenstail robes, I have accumulated left over weft yarns in shades of whites, blues, yellows and blacks, not quite enough for any significant weavings, so I decided to put these yarns to use.


Grand-daughters Violet, Simone and Amelile–Chilkat hats made by Clarissa Rizal – Winter 2014-15

Nearly 40  years ago, instigated by the need for beautiful, ear-flap hats to keep the wind, rain/snow and cold out  for my own children,  I became a hat maker and there are a few folks out there who still have their winter hats that I made.  Those hats back then have my design trademark at the top of the hats:  the star or starfish, as shown in these photos.  Now that I have grandkids, I am back to making these hats…happily, I have come full circle…!


Grandma Rissy has nicknames for all her grand-children: SikiKwaan, Ajuju, Wasichu, and Inipi — Chilkat hats by Clarissa Rizal – Winter 2014-15


3rd Year Attending Heard Museum Indian Art Fair & Market

Israel & Sue Shotridge

Sue and Israel Shotridge enjoy one another; Clarissa Rizal’s “Chilkat Child” won Best of Class at the Heard Museum Juried Art Show, Phoenix, AZ – March 2015

Doing art markets alone is not as much fun, however if you get along with other artists who may want to do the show alongside with you, like Sue and Israel Shotridge, it’s so much more fun!  We had a blast!  This was their first year at the market; this is my third year.  We were two of 600+ Native American artists featured at the Heard Museum Native Art Fair and Market usually held the first weekend in March; this was the Heard’s 57th year.  Sue and I were not quite a year old when they first started this fair!  There were also a few other Northwest Coast Native artists at the Fair, though not many of us:  Dolly Garza, Diane Douglas-Willard, and Zoe Urness.


Shotridges and Rizal combine their “gallery space” in each of their 10′ x 10′ booths at the Heard Museum Indian Art Fair and Market, March 7 & 8 – Phoenix, AZ, 2015

To be a part of the fair, the application process starts each year in July.  To qualify, you must be at least 1/4 Native American with proof of your CIB (Certificate of Indian Blood), there’s a $25 application fee, the largest, 10’x10′ booths are $500, you must provide a resume’, and 10 images of your best work within the last 3 years.  It’s easy for myself because I have established a large body of work over the past 39 years, though for emerging artists, the application process may be intimidating; however, keep your faith in yourself, put your best foot forward, and if you have nothing major to show for yourself, then get on the ball and produce some work before the Heard Museum deadline for application!  Get it together, step up to your plate that’s waiting to “feed” you!  It’s up to you!


Israel Shotridge drums and sings a clan song to an audience in his booth at the Heard Museum Native Art Fair & Market, Phoenix, AZ – March 2015

A select group of the booths at the Heard are 10′ x 10′.  The Shotridges and I took down the canvas wall that divided our booths; we wanted to be able to converse and especially have more light AND give buyers and opportunity to “step into our gallery.”  —-  These shows can be a lot of work.  It took three hours to set up my simple booth below.  It took three hours for the Shotridges to do the same.  Yet there is a simple pleasure in the accomplishment of making our space look inviting, and in our opinion, it really is like setting up a temporary outdoor “gallery.”


Clarissa Rizal’s “little gallery” art booth at the Heard Museum Native Art Fair & Market, Phoenix, AZ – March 2015

Outside of winning ribbons and with the intent you will sell some work to help offset not only your costs but pay some of your bills for the next few months, one of the best parts (for me) about doing shows are the variety of people we meet from all walks of life and the invites to other shows and events, or invites to artist retreats or residencies, and not to mention the up-and-coming artists who look to you for guidance and advice.  Generally speaking, I think people like to be needed; it gives us another sense of self-worth!


Recent glassblown pieces by Tlingit glassblower Preston Singletary at his annual art show held the same week as the Heard Art Market, at the Blue Rain Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ


Jeremy Frey won Best of Show for his magnificent basket, Heard Museum Juried Art Show, March 2015


Carver Israel Shotridge and Glassblower Preston Singletary


Sue Shotridge takes a photo of the award-winning bentwood box carved by her husband, Israel Shotridge — Heard Museum Juried Art Show and Market – March 2015


Clarissa Rizal and Sue Shotridge sport their cedar bark hats woven by Haida artist Merle Anderson – March 2015


Beadwork close-up by beadwork artist Marcus Amerman – (I am partial to the Chilkat emblem in dead center!); Heard Museum Juried Art Show & Market, March 2015


Marcus Amerman’s beaded “Smithsonian” piece at the Heard Museum Native Art Fair Juried Art Show, Phoenix, AZ – March 2015


Adrian Wall’s sculptures in blown glass and stone at the Heard Museum Native Art Fair & Market, Phoenix, AZ – March 2015