My Father’s Day


Asiatic lilies and 5 red roses grace the headstone of my parent’s graves; William and Irene Lampe — June 2016

A few weeks before my father passed in December 2008, he requested that when I visit his grave, I put 5 red roses in the vase.  I asked why?  He told me:  “In WWII, 4 of my childhood friends were blown up in a tank; we all grew up together, we were best of friends.  I would have been amongst them in that tank had I passed the qualifications of joining the army; I was 1/2 inch too short…”

For Father’s Day this year, I placed 5 red roses to his grave.  In honor of my Mother, I added the fragrant, Asiatic Lily.

Alone in the afternoon misty rain, I stood wondering if I had ever visited graves alone before:  No.


The headstone of my maternal grandparent’s: Juan and Mary Sarabia — June 2016


Video Clip of Clarissa’s Chilkat Mask Dancing Celebration 2016


Clarissa Rizal’s Chilkat mask in the making; no eyeballs were woven for the allowance of the black warp to be cut so the wearer of the mask can see out — April 2016

Initially I wove this Chilkat mask with the intention of putting it in the Stonington Gallery’s show of Northwest Coast masks which opened on June 2nd; however, due to attending to immediate health issues this past Spring and other significant deadlines, I did not complete the mask in time.  Yet, I was determined to have the mask at least dance during Celebration, so during my few hours manning our booth at the Art Market, I finished the second part of the mask which was the headdress.

Click on the video clip (below) showing the dancing of the mask/headdress during David Boxley, Sr.’s dance group singing a great song and beat of their Exit song during Celebration 2016, June 11th.  Thank you, Stephanie Maddock for the video clip!


An Award Winner at SHI’s Juried Art Show 2016


Clarissa Rizal’s 5-piece dance ensemble “Chilkat Child” wins Best of Weavings category at the Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Juried Art Show — Below the ensemble is Clarissa’s daughter, Lily Hope’s Chilkat dance apron — June 2016


Surrounded by a painting by Alison Bremner, a carved and painted dance stafff by Archie Cavanaugh, Clarissa Rizal’s button robe “Northwest by Southwest II” wins Best of Sewing category at the Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Juried Art Show — June 2016


“Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat/Ravenstail Community Robe Update


Lily Hope and Clarissa Rizal hold up the first 6 of 54 5×5 squares — June 2016 — photo by Ursala Hudson

The Weavers’ Symposium 5×5 Weaving Class was held June 9th at the Walter Soboleff Building in Juneau, Alaska, 6 weavers (of the 54 total weavers) had already completed their 5″x5″ Chilkat or Ravenstail weaving for the “Weavers Across the Waters” Community Ceremonial Robe.  Those six weavers are as follows (L to R):  Stephany Anderson, Kay Parker, William White, Alfreda Lang, Sandy Gagnon and Dolly Garza, and below, Georgia Bennett!

Huge gratitude to all 54 Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers who are coming together to contribute their unique 5×5 for this exciting, historical project!

For detailed information on the “Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat/Ravenstail Community robe, please click here.


Georgia Bennett’s 5×5 recently arrived; She calls it her interpretation of “a humpback whale bubble net.” Photo courtesy Georgia Bennett — June 2016




Tlingit Clothing Designers Take Off on SHI Runway


L to R:  Models Ursala Hudson, Miah Lager with designers Deanna Lampe and Lily Hope; Sealaska Heritage Institute’s 1st Annual Native Fashion Show — June 2016

Surprisingly, yet not surprisingly enough, my youngest sister Deanna Lampe and daughter Lily Hope created 3 ensembles for the 1st Annual Native Fashion Show sponsored by Sealaska Heritage Institute at the Walter Soboleff Center in downtown Juneau, Alaska last night.  Deanna has been a beadwork and needle-point designer and artist for nearly 30 years; Lily has been a Ravenstail and Chilkat weaver for the past 10 years.  Both decided they wanted to try their hand at clothing design.  Deanna and Lily were two of the nearly 15 clothing designers in this first-of-its-kind fashion show in Juneau.

Costume design and fashion has always been an interest of nearly all my life.  My earliest memory of “dress-up” was when I was 6 years old; if the sun was shining first thing in the morning, I’d slip on a pair of my mother’s high heels and put on one of her dresses and I’d stand in the middle of the street saluting the sun!  I learned to sew when I was 15, with the guidance from Harry K. Bremner, Sr.  I made my first Tlingit dance tunics.  I sewed all my own clothing and then eventually sewed most of the clothing for my young family.  I was costume designer for two theatre companies in Juneau:  Perseverance Theatre and Tricycle Theatre and then in Colorado for the Pagosa Pretenders Family Theatre.  When attending the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, my work was selected for several fashion shows.  In the past 30 years I have also been a designer and maker of Tlingit ceremonial regalia, which in its own way, is also “fashion design” though none of us would admit to it!


The back sides: My daughters Ursala Hudson, Lily Hope and their childhood friend, Miah Lager; Ursala wears a wolf fur collar above a black/white  geometric summer dress trimmed with Ravenstail warp tipped with cones; Lily wears a brilliant blue satin dress trimmed with mother-of-pearl buttons and a cedar bark obi; Miah wears a jeans jacket with 2 large, beaded daisies at each lapel and a beaded Chilkat face back center, with a red wool skirt trimmed at the bottom with M.O.P. buttons  — Sealaska Heritage Institute 1st Annual Native Fashion Show, Juneau, Alaska — June 2016

Due to health issues that required my immediate attention this past Spring, along with other major pressing deadlines, I had to bow out of this show.  I intended on having three contemporary ensembles and was almost done with them, but all is not lost; I shall complete them for my exhibit with Sho Sho Esquiro this coming mid-October at the Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver!



Making Kits for the “Weavers Across the Waters” Robe

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Lily checks the measurement of the warp to make sure the length is correct — June 2016

Staying up till 3 this morning, Lily Hope, Deanna Lampe, Miah Lager and Ursala Hudson worked on making the 5×5 weaver kits to be made available for the class later on this morning starting at 9; these are for those who want an easier start for their contribution to the “Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat/Ravenstail Community Canoe Robe.  (For info on this project, see previous blog entry by clicking here)

These 5×5 kits include:  12 yards of Chilkat warp measured to correct length and width already attached to the “head board” (the ruler), the weft yarns including an ounce of black, an ounce of white, half-ounce of yellow and/or blue, a large-eye tapestry needle, and a 5×5 project instruction sheet.


Measuring the warp by wrapping it around a book and cutting the warp at one end, our natural-born comedian, Deanna questions Miah of why the photographer would want to take photos of this process — June 2016

Two years ago, Lily created the Northwest Coast Weavers Supply to provide Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers easier access to the weaving materials we need.  The merino weft yarns is spun by a company called Louet and not always are they hard to find at any yarn shop; the Chilkat warp is spun by Ricky Tagaban or Alena Mountford and the Ravenstail warp is supplied by Kay Parker.


The precut warp is hung on the weaving loom “header board” made of 12″ wooden rulers

The ingenuity of these kits is this:  because of the rubber band “lashing”, these “looms” can be placed around the back of a chair, around a purse (as shown below), the steering wheel of your car (when you are not driving, of course), and the tray table in its upright/locked position on board the jets.


Secured by a couple of heavy duty rubber bands around the back side and a large paper clip, this “weaving loom” can attach to a leather handbag (The COACH bag for example); the small balls of black, yellow, white and blue weft, scissors, tapestry needle and pattern, are or course conveniently placed inside the bag — These are handbags of Deanna Lampe and her niece, Lily Hope — June 2016

With the convenience of these ingenious “weaving looms” there is no excuse for not being able to weave small projects!  There shall be no excuse for the lack of time to weave Chilkat and Ravenstail in a weavers’ life.


There’s something about staying up real late making kits for the weavers of this community robe project…!

I am so excited about these little “weaving looms” I might have to buy an upright bag so I can weave while waiting for my food at the restaurant, or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, or while I am babysitting and the kids are asleep, or sitting at the beach enjoying the sunset, or out on the boat fishing, or on a camp trip, or, or, or….c’mon people use your imagination…!


The line-up of completed weaving kits for the 5×5 “Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat/Ravenstail Community Robe Project — June 2016



Learning While Teaching Chilkat Side Braids


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!


Learning to Appreciate City Life Through Live Music


Tulsa’s 3rd Annual Hop Jam (in the Brady Arts District downtown) Festival Map — Sunday, May 21, 2016

A block up the street from my north-facing window is a freeway with a billboard promoting all the art and music support in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  (Believe it or not, there are 40 art organizations in Tulsa with only a population of 200k.)  In large letters the billboard reads something like “A pART town” etc. etc… After living downtown in the Brady Arts District for the past five months, where there’s art throughout and live music 6 days/ week, I truly feel a “y” ought to be added with down right acknowledgement and no shame, so it reads like this:  “A pARTy town!”  How does a country-girl artist like myself who does quiet, meditative art, survive living smack dab in the middle of a pARTying city!?  Well, there’s the old saying that in my case is past tense:  it’s way bigger than me to beat, so I joined ’em!   I am not interested in beer, or alcohol for that matter; but the music?  Well, there’s nothing like really good, live, danceable music!  The Hop Jam provided just that!


Early morning volunteers haul big coolers to the designated tents of beer vendors on Main Street of Tulsa’s 3rd Annual Hops Jam

Yesterday was Sunday.  I woke up to the sounds of semi-trucks being unloaded; just after the crack of dawn at 6:30, volunteers began setting up for Tulsa’s 3rd annual Hop Jam.  Three blocks down Main Street and a block over have been blocked off for this big street party.  I’m glad I had one day’s notice to prepare my work day for a distracting day of beer vendors from all over the country and beyond, with live music blasting through layers of cement like only sound can do.  There’s no way I can Chilkat weave on days like yesterday.  So I set up my printing/shrinkwrapping area and got down on it!  I have learned to adapt to the consistent noise of city living.  Here’s how:

In downtown Tulsa, Sunday is one of two days that is fairly quiet; I’ll let you guess the other.  This past week, the outdoor stage venue across the street hosted 3 full nights of 3 different bands per night; and they were pretty dang good in comparison to what I’ve heard the past 5 months!  They play until 1:30am, sometimes 2am.  How have I adapted my work/sleep schedule?  I have learned that no matter how hard I try to sleep in, I am awake by 6, no later than 7am.  I work from 8am to about midnight, with a cat nap in mid-afternoon, after which I am good to go for another 6 to 9 hours.  With all the active pARTy-ers outside hanging to the grooving bands, the only way I can go to sleep is to work, work, work late until I can no longer think, and I drop exhausted with the blasting music finally drifting off into my subconscious dream time where I don’t care whether or not the band sounds good any more!  I calculate I get 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night from 2 to 6am on Tuesdays through Saturdays.   On Sunday and Monday nights, I get 6 hours.  That’s good enough; I ain’t complainin’.


Same street as the above photo…just a few hours later…

Growing up in rural Alaska, there are many things we miss out on, especially those of us born and bred in small, land-locked communities, which is most of the state except Anchorage and Fairbanks.   Concerts of big name musicians/singers are one of those things we don’t experience so what we don’t experience won’t hurt us, right?  We don’t know any better.  Well, not until we grow up and actually go to a concert by a real famous person(s)!   In less than two months, just before my 60th birthday, I have gone to two concerts, one by intention, Van Morrison, and the other I stumbled across last night, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, right here in the Brady Arts District of downtown Tulsa.   I am spending a year doing things, I have NEVER done!  Attending concerts of big-name musicians is one of them!


Tulsa’s Hop Jam program guide lists all the beer vendors

We’ve been told that during the Spring/Summer/Fall time in Tulsa’s Brady Arts District, there is live music every weekend at the Guthrie Green (just a block over) and even throughout the week in various bars or restaurants.  During this past month, all of us artists-in-residents are getting an earful, and from what we’ve been told, we haven’t heard nothing yet!   The “pARTy” is just getting warmed up along with the weather!


From the top of the northerly part of Main Strait looking 3 blocks to the band stand (in the distance shown in turquoise.).

After a productive day indoors printing the last of my edition of “An Ocean Runs Through Us”, I decided it was time to go mingle amongst the beer-drinking crowd; there were a few thousand people out there by mid-afternoon!  I took photos intended for this blog post, if nothing else.  And then I listened to a couple of bands.  I thought the bands were local boys, like most of the bands I’ve heard in this part of town.  I even thought “wow, these dudes act and sound like they are professionals…”  And then funny me, I discovered they ARE professionals!  Hello!?!?

The two bands I totally enjoyed were the “X Ambassadors” and (especially) “Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.”  I gravitate towards bands that have great vocals and harmonies of which both bands employed.  Edward’s Sharpe’s band has 12 musicians; more than half of them sing which adds to a wonderful listening experience.  If you guys don’t know the sounds of Edward Sharpe and his band, then get onto YouTube, and introduce yourself to a great band — you’ll recognize their sound cuz the’ve been on the radio the past several years.   I’m a new fan!  They have combined the sounds of Appalachia, gospel, rock and roll, jazz with that touch of spiritual sharing of the human heart blasted with the energy of youth!  Here’s a link from KEXP radio station in Seattle where they play a bit subdued cuz they’re in a radio station studio, though nevertheless with heart and soul; please listen through the last song they play on this video clip; it’s so sweet:  


Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros closing song on stage at Tulsa’s Hop Jam Beer and Music Festival 2016

Last night, after Edward Sharpe’s band ended, I walked with great appreciation back through the dwindling thickness of the crowd and I noticed I was amongst people who were no where near my age; they were all younger than my youngest daughter!!!  LOL.  In the dark, we all look the same age, but when we are out in the light,…hahahaha!  If anything, I think I have just started to enjoy my city life surroundings.  With all this music everywhere, I am reminded that I totally enjoy live music no matter what genre.  It is in this enjoyment that allows me to make the best of my city living conditions.  I have to adapt so I can survive, so I can continue doing what I damn well love doing!  It’s all good…I’m getting into the groove of city living via live music!  Halleluia!





Tulsa Artists’ Coalition 5×5 Show & Sale


Clarissa’s first two chalk pastels on canvas board — May 2016 — working in chalk pastel is new to Clarissa; she experimented with the medium first on the large canvas before tackling the smaller canvas (foreground)

It’s been the custom for me over the past few years that I donate some piece of artwork to a non-profit for a worthy cause; usually it’s a painting, or a print, but this time I tried my hand at something different because I had left all my paints, charcoals, etc. in my studio attic in Colorado.  I’d never worked with chalk pastels, and I was intimidated because I didn’t know if I could pull of creating something that I liked; Imagine that?  I doubted myself?   But, I didn’t have time to lose; I volunteered to donate an art piece for the Tulsa Artists’ Coalitions’ 5×5 Show and Sale and the deadline for submissions was in just two hours!  These two images I did in a matter of two hours.  The larger took about half hour; the smaller one took about one and a half hours!!!

So what is the Tulsa Artists’ Coaltion’s 5×5 Show and Sale?


“Toasting the Saguaro” (or “Wendat Tlingit Visit Saguaro” — pastel by Clarissa Rizal — May 2016

Since 1999, the 5×5 has shined as an example of artists supporting artists–last year over 250 pieces measuring 5″x5″ in a variety of media were generously donated by artists from around the region and across the country.

On the day of the even, art buyers line up early outside the TAC Gallery for the opportunity to purchase their favorite 5×5 creation for $55.  At 5:55pm, doors open and the fun begins!  The show opens tonight, Friday, May 6th at the TAC Gallery in the Brady Arts District in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma!

(There’s always a big long line for a couple of hours before the show opens, I kid you not.  Now for us Alaskans, waiting for a couple of hours before an art show opens is NOT in our DNA!  If we waited in line outdoors for any event, we’d be soaked to the bone, or freeze to death, or even possibly eaten by a bear, so we are not conditioned to stand in line for nothing!!!)

The excitement and support from artists and the art-buying public for this unique event has been tremendous.  IN addition to raising critical funding for TAC, the 5×5 provides buyers with an opportunity purchase, quality, affordable art while providing artists the opportunity to display their talents before the thousands of art patrons who visit the Brady Arts District each month.

100%of the proceeds from the 5×5 directly benefits local artists through the TAC Gallery.

About TAC:  TAC has supported local artists for 30 years by providing exhibit opportunities for emerging artists and artists who work may not fit into a traditional commerial gallery.  TAC is proud to be a pioneer in the Brady Arts District—one of a handful of independent artists and art groups that initially established the neighborhood as an arts district.  TAC has held opening receptions Frist Friday since 1996 and worked with the Brady Arts District Business Association in establishing what is now known as the First Friday Art Crawl.

TAC is an all-volunteer, independent non-profit arts organiaation, with the majority of funding from memberships and the 5×5 event.



Calling All Chilkat and Ravenstail Weavers

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Invitational design specifications for the “patchwork quilt” or “Granny Square” Chilkat/Ravenstail Robe Project — Collaborative community design concept by Clarissa Rizal; Canoe Community concept by Suzi Vaara Williams

Dear Northwest Coast Chilkat and Ravenstail Weavers:

We invite you to participate in a very unique project which will provide a Chilkat/Ravenstail ceremonial robe to be worn by a dignitary of a hosting community for NWC Canoe Gatherings and/or also to be worn in ceremony during the maiden launch of a traditional dugout canoe.  Imagine this robe will be worn for many generations of canoe gatherings and maiden voyages!  When the robe is not traveling, it will be housed in its own private, glass case in the new “Weavers’ Studio” at the Evergreen Longhouse campus in Olympia, Washington State.  Longhouse Executive Director Tina Kuckkhan-Miller, and Assistant Director Laura Grabhorn are very excited about this project.

If you are interested in participating and donating your time to weave a 5″ x 5″ square, the above illustration provides you with the visual concept.  The information below provides you with clear instructions:


Project:  A  NWC Weavers’ Invitational  to create a collaborative and unique Chilkat/Ravenstail robe for the NWC communities who host Canoe Gatherings and/or are launching the maiden voyage of a traditional dugout canoe in Washington State, British Columbia, Southeast Alaska and Yukon Territory.

Who is Invited:  This invitational is open to all Indigenous Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers representing all the distinctive tribes of the Northwest Coast.  The invitational is also open to non-Indigenous weavers who are clan members of a NWC tribe via adoption and/or marriage.  Weavers of all levels of experience, from beginner to expert, are invited to contribute!  There are only 54 sections on this unique, one-of-a-kind, Chilkat/Ravenstail robe; if you want to be a part of this historical event, jump in now while you can and commit via email, text or Facebook to Clarissa Rizal by May 15, 2016!   Email address:   or text her at:  (970)903-8386   or Facebook:  Clarissa Rizal

Limited number of weavers:  There will be 54 5-inch squares which = 54 separate weavers.  45 of the 54 squares will have 1″ fringe at the bottom.  9 of the 54 squares will have 18″ fringe; these 9 squares will be placed at the very bottom edge of the robe.  If you want to be one of the 9 squares with the 18″ fringe, let me know.  Please refer to the illustration for visual image.  The borders of the entire robe will be woven by Clarissa Rizal after she has laid out the entire 54 squares and sewn them together.  Total approximately measurements of the robe will be 68″ wide x 56″ high (includes fringe)

The Warp:  You will need approximately 12 yards of Chilkat warp.   To keep the thickness and body of the robe consistent, use only Chilkat warp (w/bark), natural color and spun to size 10 e.p.i.  Please DO NOT USE Ravenstail warp.

The Heading Cord:  Instead of a leather cord (like we use in Chilkat weaving), use two strands of your Chilkat warp, this 2-strands of warp instead of leather cord is a technique used in Ravenstail weaving.  The Chilkat warp heading cord will then become a part of your weaving so in this way we avoid any tied knots on the top left and right of your heading cord.

The Weft:  merino or mountain goat wool, size 2/6 fingering weight, in any shades of the traditional colors of black, natural, yellow and blue

The Design:  Weave anything to do with the canoe world; suggestions are to weave symbols of nature, animals, mankind (i.e. mountains, ocean, rivers, lakes, canoes, paddles, faces, claws (though no human hands:  Instead of four fingers, weave three fingers and a thumb)

In addition with your weaving, please provide two things:  1) a brief 100-word max Bio in Word Document and, 2) a photo of yourself with your weaving either finished or in progress  (200 d.p.i./5″ x 7″) —-  I will be providing this information to the Evergreen Longhouse who will be housing this robe when it is not traveling.  I also imagine there may be a small publication (of the robe with all the weavers ) someday printed for each one of us; and why not!?  It would be fun!

DEADLINE to commit:  Extended to May 15, 2016  Email Clarissa with your commitment (suggestions, etc. are welcome too, especially at this time): or text her:  970-903-8386 (yes, area code is 970)

DEADLINE for completion:  Postmarked by July 15, 2016   Remember:  Along with your weaving, please include the brief bio and a photo of you and your weaving. (see specs above) If you complete your weaving by the dates of “Celebration” and you are in Juneau, you may hand-deliver your weaving to Clarissa anytime during the month of June, otherwise mail your weaving insured to Clarissa’s address:

Clarissa Rizal, 40 East Cameron St #207, Tulsa, OK   74103


“TOUR” SCHEDULE (for the robe) 2016:  

1).  Hoonah, Alaska:  Master carver of dugout canoes, Wayne Price from Haines, Alaska is carving two dugout canoes for the Hoonah Indian Association.  The opening ceremonies will be the maiden voyage of both canoes from Hoonah to Glacier Bay for the dedication of the recently built longhouse on the shores of Glacier Bay on Wednesday, August 24th.

2).  Sitka, Alaska:  Master carver Steve Brown and the Gallanin Brothers are carving a dugout in Sitka, Alaska.

3).  Vancouver, B.C.:  Robe will be part of an exhibit for four months at Sho Sho Esquiro and Clarissa Rizal’s exhibit called “Worth Our Wait In Gold” at the Bill Reid Gallery, Vancouver, B.C., opening Tuesday, October 18th

If you have any information on definite dates for canoe gatherings and maiden voyage of a traditional dugout canoe, please contact Clarissa or Evergreen Longhouse in Olympia, Washington.

NAME OF THIS ROBE:   “Weavers Across the Water” — Thank you, Catrina Mitchell…!

THE ROBE’S HOME:   As I mentioned above, when the robe is not traveling, it will be housed in its own private, glass case in the new “Weavers’ Studio” at the Evergreen Longhouse campus in Olympia, Washington State.  Longhouse Executive Director Tina Kuckkhan-Miller, and Assistant Director Laura Grabhorn will be the travel coordinator’s for this special robe.

COMPENSATION:   As of May 2nd, nearly 40 weavers have committed to this project.  Not one of them asked about compensation.  This is remarkable; it shows the purity of our weavers’ intentions and commitment to our identity and cultural heritage.  Though, I am looking into finding a benefactor who is willing to help support this project.  I’ll keep everyone posted.

SUGGESTIONS, COMMENTS, IDEAS, ETC.:  I encourage and solicit your input.  Please be brave and just communicate with me; no worries.  AND if you want to partake, this is “our” robe! 

How did this idea sprout?  Well you gotta know about Suzi and Clarissa chats:  This project was an idea which stemmed from a chat between Suzi Vaara Williams and I on March 4th.  I mentioned that I  kept seeing everything in “Chilkat”; and Suzi was talking about all the knitting and weaving projects she has got going and asked if I remembered the crocheted “Granny Square” blankets from the 60’s.  Immediately instead of crocheted colors of yarn, I saw a different kind of “Granny Square” blanket — I saw the Chilkat and Ravenstail woven ceremonial blanket!  And when I exclaimed to Suzi my vision, right away she added with glee:  “Oh, oh, ohhhh!  And the robe will be worn during the canoe gatherings up and down the coast!”

We hope you join us in creating this one-of-a-kind ceremonial robe woven by present-day weavers for our present-day canoe gatherings and traditional dugout canoe maiden launches.  This robe will travel for many generations.  Please represent your community and be a part of this historical project.  We appreciate your time, energy and talent!  Truly, Gunalcheesh!

The “Chilkat Mask”


“Chilkat Mask” in shades of blue — Clarissa Rizal — 2016

During my “spring break”, for the first time ever, I actually took a real spring break, like an actual, much-needed vacation. During the vacation I hugged and played with my grandchildren, visited my kids, romped around the desert with my friend Rene, and in between when nobody was looking, I wove this Chilkat Mask!  Yep, it can be worn as an actual mask.  I wove it with the same shades of blue weft yarns I dyed a couple of years ago and I am using the main bulk of the blue yarns for my most recent Chilkat robe called “Egyptian Thunderbird.”  This mask will be in an exhibit  of Northwest Coast Native masks at the Stonington Gallery in Seattle, Washington opening Thursday, June 2nd.  Most of the masks at this show will be in carved wood, or in jewelry, and I doubt very much there will be a mask like this one that is woven; we’ll see.  My “Chilkat Mask” may be the first of its kind, I don’t know.  Come on down to the Stonington and let’s see!  I’ll be there!


cloth-covered wires were inserted, hanging down with the warp, only in the central part of the Chilkat mask …this is to give the mask some structure with flexible capabilities to form to any human face — “Chilkat Mask” by Clarissa Rizal — 2016


“Chilkat Storyteller” Doll


“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.


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


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