Santa Fe Indian Market Time


Wearing a Tammy Beauvois “beaded” dress and a pair of Chilkat armbands that she wove, Clarissa stands between her Chilkat curtains (she designed and printed), with her latest Chilkat robe behind her on the loom below “An Ocean Runs Through Us” Limited Edition Giclee triptych print – Photo by Juli Ferrerra

I had never heard of the Santa Fe Indian Market until August 1987; it was the first time I had seen so much fantastic art in all my life.  One of the first booths I had seen was the Alaskan gal Denise Wallace’s jewelry; of course there was a huge crowd around her booth like no one else’s because her astounding jewelry was like none other.  She was and still is, a celebrity.

Northwest Coast Native Tlingit artist Clarissa Rizal with Julia White from the Tulsa Artist Residency

Northwest Coast Native Tlingit artist Clarissa Rizal with Julia White from the Tulsa Artist Residency

The market opens early Saturday at 7am for those art collectors who are racing for that prize possession and enthusiasts who want to get ahead of the crowd.  I had heard several people from a number of institutions came by my booth that early but I was not available.  Directly after I spent 2 hours setting up my booth, directly at 7 I had to pick up my “Chilkat Child” who I had entered into the Juried Art Show; it took about an hour of waiting in line.  However, I was able to catch Julia White, the coordinator of the Tulsa Artist Residency, from which I was one of 12 artists across the nation who was chosen as a recipient of their inaugural residency fellowship to live and work in Tulsa, Oklahoma for a year.


Full view of Clarissa Rizal’s booth (day 2)  at the Santa Fe Indian Market 2015

I did my very first Santa Fe Indian Market in 1994 winning the Best of Show with my “Following My Ancestor’s Trail” button blanket wall mural which sold to a collector from Tuscon, Arizona.  I won about $5K in awards, sold my load of button blanket greeting cards featuring 9 of my favorite robes, and sold a Ravenstail headdress.  I walked away with a chunk of change; it was enough to put a down payment on a house!


Left side of Clarissa Rizal’s booth at the Santa Fe Indian Market 2015, featuring “Northwest by Southwest” button blanket robe surrounded by Giclee prints, and clothing/ceremonial regalia for children

The Santa Fe Indian Market is a zoo; it draws about 100,000 visitors from all over the world for the week before and after the Market.  Lots of traffic jams in Santa Fe during this time.  I don’t understand how artists can do this show every year.  I cannot do this show every year.  It takes me about 4 years to re-couperate which is why this is only the 5th time I have been an artist vendor at the market.  It’s a lot of work to prepare for the market, then we gotta set up at 5am to 7am when the market opens.  And when the day is done at 5pm, we gotta strike the set and pack it up, only to do the same thing the next day.  It doesn’t sound like much, but believe me, it IS!


Right side of Clarissa Rizal’s booth at the Santa Fe Indian Market 2015 featuring “Egyptian Thunderbird” button robe surrounded by Limited Edition Giclee and hand-silkscreened prints and the 5-piece Chilkat woven ensemble “Chilkat Child” all by Clarissa Rizal

I had a good time at this market.  It was the first time my booth faced the sunshine; I think that is why I enjoyed this year better than all the other years.  You see, when I come from a grey, damp place like Juneau, Alaska and land in the arid country of Santa Fe, New Mexico, it naturally puts a smile in my body.  Many of us Tlingits know what I experience!

And yes, all the items you see in these photos of my booth at the market are for sale, except the white curtains and the chilkat robe on the loom.   I invite you to contact me for prices and more information.


Cousins Likoodzi and Violet

Another pleasant aspect of this year’s Indian Market included being with my kids and grandchildren during the week.  There’s nothing like being a grandma.  And though I am not a great grandmother, I am learning how to become one…!


Israel Shotridge, Preston Singletary, Sue Shotridge (obscured) and Clarissa Rizal talk definition of a mentor – photo by Kahlil Hudson

The night before the market, several Tlingit artists gathered together for a dinner at my son’s house in Santa Fe.  We were discussing the logistics of creating a mentorship program for our artists back home, based on New Zealand’s Maori artists.  We asked ourselves enough questions, like “What does it mean to be a mentor?  How do you know you are a mentor?  What are the expectations of self as a Mentor and expectations from the apprentice?


Kahlil holds daughter Violet while the little old man “Hassie” runs amok!

There are many events sponsored by other organizations outside of SWAIA’s (Southwest Association of Indian Arts) annual Indian Market, including an offspring of the Indian Market called IFAM which takes place for two days at the “Railyard”; there’s an artist supply market at the El Dorado Hotel de Santa Fe; there’s Dorothy Grant’s fashion show and of course, numerous gallery openings!


The 2015 Institute of American Indian Arts Scholarship Dinner and Auction

The Institute of American Indian Arts Scholarship Gala is held the Wednesday before the Santa Fe Indian Market (Saturday & Sunday); the place is packed with prominent artists, arts organizations across the country including representatives from NMAI (National Museum of the American Indian), NACF (Native Arts & Culture Foundation), art historians and collectors.  I was invited by NACF to be a guest at their table since I had recently won this year’s fellowship.


Who were these people who shared a delicious meal at the IAIA Gala dinner table?

Nearly 22 years ago when I first had a booth at the Santa Fe Indian Market, the only Northwest Coast artist represented was a totem pole carver, Reggie Petersen from Sitka, Alaska.  He said he had been doing the market for nearly 20 years with no other comrades from the Northwest except clothing designer, the late Betty David, and he was so happy to finally see “another Tlingit!”  Although we had never met, he hugged me as if I were the last person on earth!  lol.  His wife, 4 children and he would make it an annual sojourn where they would take the ferry from Sitka to Seattle, then drive to Santa Fe and back again.  He always had a log that he was carving smack dab in the middle of the Santa Fe Plaza.  He said this was one of the ways in which he received commissions for totem poles.  Lots of work being a full-time artist with 4 children.

Haida basket weavers Diane Douglas-Willard, her daughter Jianna and Dolly Garza are vendors at the market too.  Diane says she has been a vendor at the Market for 20 consecutive years.


Tlingit photographer Zoe Marieh Urness and her twin sister with a visitor at her IFAM booth BEFORE the Santa Fe Indian Market

One of the hardest things about being a vendor at the market is that I don’t have time to take a break and visit all the other artists let alone attend all the other activites such as the main-stage performances or the fashion show.  However, the day before Indian Market began, my daughter Lily and I took a jaunt over to the Railyard where the IFAM art show was happening.  We saw several Northwest Coast Native artists including Peter Boome and Zoe Marieh Urness!


Coast Salish artist Peter Boome making a sale with customers at his IFAM booth

I admire the small city of Santa Fe for its unique architecture, dramatic style in clothing, furniture, jewelry — everything for that matter!  Even its people!  Check out the Trader Joe’s de Santa Fe!  Holy—now THERE’s a mixture of all kinds of folks in a middle-class store!  Simply entertaining to watch who shops there.

During the early morning of the first day of the Santa Fe Indian Market, a large group of young protestors marched through announcing their disagreement with the government continuing to pollute the Southwest environment and then lying about it.  I was surprised there was a demonstration yet proud that the younger generation has stepped up to the plate.  It is a good thing to bring awareness to the general public about atrocities to our human race and its well-being.


Sure felt good to see demonstrators for a worthy cause during the opening day of the Santa Fe Indian Market

And then directly after the demonstration, there was this guy across my booth standing with a black, worn-out umbrella.  (He sure looked familiar! Lol.)  The sun wasn’t even at its hottest yet, though he was prepared for anything.  That’s the message for you folks today:  be prepared for anything!


Is that Israel Shotridge under the umbrella on Palace Avenue in Santa Fe, New Mexico during the Indian Market


Antique Chilkat Robes in Santa Fe

Chilkat Robes

Lily Hope with her youngest daughter, Ella at the show opening of Chilkat Robes featured at the Antique Native American Art Show at the El Museo de Santa Fe in the Railyard District – August 17, 2015

Two months ago, when my daughter Lily called me and asked if I wanted “Chilkat Child” to be featured in a Chilkat exhibit featuring antique robes in Santa Fe directly before the Santa Fe Indian Market, at first I thought it impossible to get together an exhibit in that short amount of time, yet I jumped in anyway, because I’ve learned that in an artist’s life, anything can happen!


“Diving Whale” Chilkat robe – I understand the whales depicted in this manner are the humpback whales as opposed to the killerwhales of Southeast Alaska

According to John Morris and Kim Martindale, the producers/directors of this annual exhibit of Antique Native American Art Show and Sale, all proceeds from the sales in this specific exhibit of Chilkat robes are donated to the New Mexico PBS station in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The Chilkat exhibit was a special feature during the Antique Native American Art Show held at the El Museo de Santa Fe in the Railyard District.


Clarissa’s interpretation of this robe: the unusual black background lends itself to show the diving “White Raven” amongst the floating entities

16 Chilkat and 2 Ravenstail weavings were exhibited in this show, 4 of which were contemporary pieces created in the past 10 years including:  1 Ravenstail robe woven by Delores Churchill, 1 Chilkat tunic and 1 Chilkat/Ravenstail robe by Cheryl Samuel, 1 child-size Ravenstail ensemble by Lily Hope, and 1 child-size Chilkat ensemble by myself.  The other 13 were antique Chilkat robes from private collections; most of them in great condition.


As opposed to all the other antique Chilkat robes in this exhibit which were collected in the 1800’s, these two Chilkat robes were collected in the early 1900’s

“So many “relatives” in one room…!”  That’s the way we Northwest Coast Native peoples feel when we see all these elders!  I could have demonstrated the weaving of Chilkat on my loom smack dab in the middle, but I didn’t!  How would I be able to stand the energies!?  How would I be able to respond to all the visitors in a normal, coherent manner?  I would be “drunk” with ecstacy being in their presence!–so it was best we demonstrated off to the side of the exhibit!


Lily and Ella Hope stand with Lily’s Ravenstail/button robe ensemble “Little Watchman”

A couple of months ago, our Alaskan Lt. Governor Byron Mallott asked me who my weaving mentors were.  I had never been asked that question before; and I was doubly surprised by the fact that I don’t have any (living) mentors anyway!  There is no one older than our generation that knows how to weave!  Like we are it!  HOWEVER, I have first-hand experience in the power of spiritual transference of knowledge “through the veils” of time and space.  My mentor and teacher is still Jennie Thlunaut even though she passed in 1986.  So when I speak of the presence of our “elders” in these robes, I speak not only of the weaver who wove the robe, but all those whose DNA have become a part of the robe because they wore the robe!

Chilkat Robe

Clarissa has seen at least two other renditions of this robe; this one being in the best condition than the others

Based on suggestions, there is a proposal underway to bring this collection (all or part or additional) to a few museums across the continent.  Some have suggested New York and Los Angelos; I of course suggested that the robes “go home” for a little while and be shown in Vancouver, B.C., Seattle, Washington and Juneau, Alaska.  Who else but our own people would appreciate being amongst “relatives” not seen for awhile OR have not ever met in person!?


Canadian Chilkat and Ravenstail Weaver, Cheryl Samuel’s latest Chilkat robe (left) and Chilkat tunic (right) – Bill Holm wears the Chilkat tunic in the small photograph between these two weavings

I am working with a coordinator to see if these robes will indeed go on tour; if so, I will keep everyone posted through this blog, through my email contacts and through my Facebook page.  In the meantime, please do stay tuned!


Clarissa demonstrates Chilkat weaving opening night of the Chilkat Weaving Exhibit featured at the Antique Native American Art Show & Sale


Lily Hope and mother Clarissa Rizal demonstrate weaving at the Chilkat Weaving Exhibit

Chilkat Robes

Weavers Cheryl Samuel and Clarissa Rizal discuss a passionate subject: keeping our health as we get older!

Chilkat Robe

Close-up of “White Raven” amongst the floating entities


Clarissa Rizal’s demonstration space with Chilkat robe, drum and elk-hide chair


Lily Hope’s “Little Watchman” and Clarissa’s “Chilkat Child” 5-piece woven ensemble had the honor of standing amongst 18 antique Chilkat robe “relatives”


Kim Martindale and John Morris were the Curators of the “Chilkat Blankets – Artistic Masterpieces” exhibit during


Clarissa Selected for Tulsa Artist Residency, Oklahoma

Beginning student in Plein Rein, Clarissa paints at Eagle Beach, Juneau, Alaska - July 2015

Beginning student in Plein Rein, Clarissa paints at Eagle Beach, Juneau, Alaska – July 2015

Native Art Markets are good venues for certain artists who have sale-able works.  I have yet to experience myself to fit into that category as my work appeals to a certain type of art collector or historian.  However, art markets allow me to put myself out there and see who “bites.”  The bites are  folks who may be interested in buying my work later on, or they know of someone else who is, OR they are folks like those from the Tulsa Artist Residency who invite me to submit an application for a one-year residency starting in January 2016 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Of 300 applicants from across this nation, I was 1 of 12 who were selected.  Whoa!  This was quite the  competition.  Read the press release just received from TAR announcing their first 12 inaugural residencies: 

Though I will be living in Tulsa for the entire year of 2016, I will still be traveling for business.  I’ll post my 2016 calendar later on this year; stay tuned!


Klarissa’s Kool Klean Kanteen Kontainer

Necessary cold or hot drinks Kontained in Klarissa's Kool Klean Kanteen

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!

Clarissa Wins Tulsa Artist Residency


Grandma Rissy with Mamma Lily holding Louis – Sandy Beach, Douglas, AK  – July 2014

I will be moving away for a year starting January 2nd.  Moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the entire year of 2016.  It will be the first time:  1) living in a city bigger than 60,000, 2) living away from any family, relatives or friends (like nobody there knows me), 3) living away from nature as I will be living right down town in the Brady Arts District

I am 1 of 12 inaugural  artists from across the U.S. who will be essentially paid to live in Tulsa, given a brand new apartment with the option of a separate studio.  Click here to read about the TAR and the other 11 selected artists.

Although I am excited about “living on my own” away from everything that I love, I know that I am going to especially miss my grandchildren!


Clarissa in Antique Native American Art Show

Clarissa's grand-daughter, Amelie models "Chilkat Child" to be featured as 1 of 18 Chilkat robes to be exhibited during the Antique Native American Art Show

Clarissa’s grand-daughter, Amelie models “Chilkat Child” a 5-piece handwoven ensemble to be featured as 1 of 18 Chilkat robes to be exhibited during the Antique Native American Art Show

The Antique American Indian Art Show launches at El Museo in Santa Fe’s Railyard with an opening night gala on August 17th (6-9pm) benefiting New Mexico PBS. Show dates run from August 18-20th (11am-6pm), featuring a special Chilkat Blanket exhibit – (they say) the most extensive collection ever presented!

Lily Hope, Delores Churchill and Cheryl Samuel are a part of this exhibit as well.

Come check us out on opening night Monday, August 17th; we’re gonna dress up and meet the Native Art Market crowd!

Read about the producers of this event by clicking here!

An Afternoon in Taku Harbor


Most likely the longest swings in the Northwest Coast at least 50 feet up; the girls swing as if it’s “normal…”

My father was a local fisherman for many years.  He started out in the early 50’s up in Kodiak and Kenai until Rudy Govina told him that the “women are better” in Tlingit territory, so my father sailed his seiner to the Glacier Bay area which included Haines, Excursion Inlet, Hoonah Gustavus and on the outskirts, Juneau.  Though now and then I remember him talking about Taku Harbor.  He never took us there; he said it was not suited for humans because it was too far away for a man with a family.  He wanted us little kids to be safe.  I never knew where or how far Taku Harbor was, I just knew that it was South of Juneau “all the way down till you almost hit the land straight in front of you but immediately make a left and then it’s up there a little ways and make another left…”  uh, huh…those were the instructions from a fisherman, I kid you not, long time ago.  So those directions are exactly what we did on the MV Princeton Hall sail…!


James Crippen catches himself a bull kelp; now what’s he gonna do with it?

Not much goes on in Taku Harbor.  There’s an old cabin once inhabited by the late Tiger Olson, an elder who made a living doing his own thing.  There’s a cabin run by the Forest Service too that people can rent by the day, week, month.


Unbeknownst to the rest of us, James plays the digeridoo so it was only natural he make one out of the bull kelp

As a full-time artist, I go through intense periods of a face-paced life.  This Summer was an extreme example of that.  I generally work at least 12 hours a day, though up to 18 hour days depending on whether or not a deadline (or several deadlines) is approaching.  I never live the same day, month or year, twice.  There is no routine other than “what next?”.  Just when I think I have got a routine down, there’s always something that disrupts it.  I used to get bent out of shape when something changed; after many, many years, I have learned to go with the flow.  It’s the nature of the beast.

So what does jumping a sail for a day have to do with being an artist?


Alice Taft tries her hand (or ought I say “mouth!?” at playing the digeridoo…!

Sailing with folks I know but haven’t spent any time with is an excellent balance for spending a lot of alone time creating works holed up in my studio for days, weeks and sometimes months.  In Colorado, my life is a high contrast to my time in Alaska and Yukon (and anywhere else outside of my studio doors for that matter).  I have no social life in Colorado; there’s a reason for that.  I made it that way because it’s the only way I can get any work done.  Frankly, I need a break from people, places and things!

I grew up on the ocean, and as a young girl I went fishing with my father.  There’s comfort and serenity being on the ocean.  It’s a time of relaxation, rejuvenation and inspiration.  It’s one of the ways I tone my energy down a few notches so I can quiet down and get to know myself!  Lol.


Heading back to the MV Princeton Hall

I’ll be heading back to my studio in Colorado the first of September.  I’ve had quite the Spring/Summer in Alaska and Yukon; I am privileged to be able to choose a life as such.  No, it is not perfect, however, I am happy dong and being what I do and be.  It’s a good life.  Especially when I have the once-in-a-lifetime to board a boat I’ve admired since a little kid playing at the docks:  the Princeton Hall.

A Day Sail on the MV Princeton Hall

MV Princeton Hall

The famous MV Princeton Hall, Aurora Harbor, Juneau, Alaska – August 2015

This was the sail of my lifetime.  Just a one-day sail.  I grew up seeing this classic wooden boat and had always admired the lines and grace by which it sailed.  50 years later, and with an overnight notice, I had the opportunity to drop all else and jump the sail.  I had also made a decision that when I board this beauty, I would begin my journey into learning how to speak the native tongue of my mother’s:  Tlingit.  Little did I know that almost every adult on board either spoke the language fluently or they were learners and teachers of the language!

Princeton Hall

Bessie Coolie, Nora Dauenhauer, her daughter Della Florendo, and Marsha Hotch

It was obvious to me that I am to learn my language as the syncronicity of me being aboard the ship of language instructors cannot be denied.  The women above are keepers and sharers of the language.


Additional visitors on board this day sail of which I did not catch the names, however, I had to show the galley!


Norma Shorty (3 young gals I did not catch their names), Kathy Ruddy


Kathy Ruddy, James Crippen, his boss ?, and Alice Taft

Kathy Ruddy is the owner of this wonderful ship; she invited every person on board for this one-day sail.  She provided a brief history of the making of this boat built in Sitka by a crew of woodworkers under the guidance of Andrew Hope I in 1942 commissioned by the Presbyterian Church as their missionary travel took them to every small community in Southeast Alaska for 20 years (until the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system came into being).


“The History of Fort Durham in Taku Harbor” by Wallace (Wally) C. Olson


Sailing south under the Juneau-Douglas bridge


The southern tip of Douglas Island called “Marmion Island” which as a child in the 60’s my father would take our entire family and camp out just to the right of that tiny peninsula – there was once a small cabin directly at the tree line; instead of camping in a wall tent, we camped in the cabin


The bow is filled with visitors as we come into Taku Harbor


Taku Harbor


Bessie Coolie tells Norma and I that her father was born here in Taku Harbor; she had never been to his birth place until this day


The bow of the beautifully-crafted MV Princeton Hall docked at Taku Harbor


Pulling away from Taku Harbor, we sail into the famous mist as we turn into Gastineau Channel


This is where the sky meets ocean and we are the “in-betweeners”


James Crippen whittles away at a piece of alder wood


So above not necessarily so below


More Alaskan ocean and sky scenery


More fabulous landscape of sky, mountains, mist and sea…


Sailing down Gastineau Channel: Douglas Island on the left, and the town of Juneau at the base of Mt. Juneau on the right


Returning to space A-2 at the Aurora Harbor, Juneau, Alaska


Comedians Grandma Suzi and Cashe Creek Charlie


Retired Juneau police officer Ben Coronell allows Grandma Suzi to sit on his lap, while his wife Penny laughs along with everyone else

Sharon Shorty is Grandma Suzi and her comedian partner is Duane Gastant’ Aucoin as Cache Creek Charlie.  They both live in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.  These photos were taken during the last feast during the 3-day “HaaKusTeYea” Celebration at the Teslin Cultural Center.  Generally, I write a dialogue to accompany the photographs in my blog posts.  In this case, I just let the photographs speak for themselves.  All I can say is that not only were the comedians totally outlandish, and I laughed hard till I cried, I totally enjoyed watching the “victims” laugh like had never seen them laugh!  Grandma Suzi and Cache Creek Charlie are excellent medicine.  If they ever come to your neck of the woods or you go to theirs, catch them!


It was a good feeling to see our Tsimpshian carver David Boxley, Sr. laugh as hard as he did — and we laughed to will cried…!


Alias Duane Gastant’ Aucoin and Sharon Shorty from Whitehorse, Yukon are Charlie and Suzi


David dances the “grouse mating dance” while Grandma Suzi can’t contain herself…!


The “grouse” chases after his chosen “mate.”


the audience laughed as long and as hard as they…!


Creek Charlie pulled fashion designer Dorothy Grant up from her chair and made her get on her back like a rag doll and exclaimed “I am wearing Dorothy Grant…” (as opposed to “I am wearing A Dorthy Grant!”