Ships At Sea

I think this is the first time I have posted a writing by someone else here on my blog.  A friend emailed me this to me today and I felt compelled to share it.

These words are from Clarissa Pinkola Estes  (American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.)

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.


You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.


I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.


Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.


In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.


We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?


Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.


What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.


One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.


Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.


The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

Latest Painting


“Underwater Curtain of Life” acrylic on canvas, 8″w x 24″h —  by Clarissa Rizal — 2015

This is what happens when you spend a few hours with the granddaughter and daughter on a snowy afternoon with all kinds of other obligations to do but who wants to do them when baby, it’s cold outside!?

(Yes, it is true.  Unless otherwise noted, most of my work on my blog is for sale.)  Contact me if you are interested.


Remembering John Trudell


John Trudell – photo courtesy

The year I discovered the word and meaning of “Native” I was 15 years old.  It was then I discovered there was such a thing as racial discrimination and oppression.  I could not believe there was this concept that caused such turmoil and grief in the world.

Reflecting back upon my school years with certain teachers, I felt shock and hurt that certain instructors looked upon me as “lesser than”, which then led to anger because I realized that even though I was a bright, intelligent, fast learner that wondered why I wasn’t placed in the same academic category as my upper classmates, it was the discrimination of my race that kept me from advancing and being an equal!

When I realized this, I tempered my anger by getting educated about our First Nation’s people’s history across this continent.  I subscribed to the famous Mohawk newspaper from Cornwall Island Island Reserve in New York called “Akwesasne Notes” (1969-1996); it is there I read about many atrocities committed in the past and present day against the First Nations across this continent.  The historical accounts committed against the Native peoples near and far broke my heart.  I also read several books that had been recently published by First Nation’s authors as “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.”  I read anything I could get my hands on regarding the U.S. Government and the Native peoples no matter what tribe and, I kept up with the exciting news about A.I.M. (American Indian Movement). The newscasts on the TV  is where I first heard of Leonard Peltier,  Russell Means, and the legendary John Trudell.

Yes, believe it or not, I was politically involved in my own small way with the American Indian Movement.  It’s hard to imagine that I was so caught up in the politics that I remember times where I put my fist to the television image of our state capital in D.C.!

By the time I was 18, I made a distinct decision.  I made a choice to be an active politician working for our Native people, OR I was going to become an artist.  (Obviously, you know what I chose, otherwise I would not have a website about this work I do.)  I decided that I was going to keep the politics out of my art; there was no room for political art in my life.  I chose being a “clean” artist because I already knew politics caused me to be ill all the time.

I saw John Trudell once, in person.  He gave a lecture at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM in the spring of 1989.  Our poetry class instructor, Authur Zhe required us to attend John’s lecture.  We were in a small lecture room.  Though I was in awe, I felt extremely intimidated; there he was just 10 feet away sitting in a chair before us, in his long brown hair and tinted glasses.  I listened and hung on every word but I do not remember a word he said.  I just remember the feeling.

To me, John Trudell was legendary way before he passed because he represented the truly free man.  When a young man, he survived a huge tragedy; he became that caged bird that kept on singing!   He was the grey wolf scouting the caverns and valleys!  He was a common man walking amongst all peoples carrying a big heart.  Though I quietly kept him in my shirt pocket my entire life and never spoke of him and his work, I felt he represented one of the first Native men of our generation who broke free from the cage of oppression and wanted to free the rest of us!  Like Crazy Horse, Geronimo and Chief Joseph, I kept the representation of what these men meant to me close to my heart.

So when I heard that John Trudell passed away yesterday, the silence inside my shirt pocket above my heart ceased.  The silence wailed.  Who is going to be our spokes person to speak in defense of our Mother Earth, of our un-civilization, of the need to come back to our human being-ness?   Who? WHO!?

That’s up to the rest of us.  It’s up to the rest of us to carry our torches higher!  Let’s see how the last few days, months or years of my life pan out.  Let’s see what happens now that our Trudell Crazy Horse Geronimo Chief Joseph continue to manifest the intent of their lives within this world!

Please, I invite you to read up on the legendary John Trudell from news article from Indian Country Today.  There are also about 79 videos you may watch on You Tube.  And about 10 years ago, the actress Angelina Jolie and her mother produced a documentary on John called “Trudell” that is also available on You Tube.

He led a remarkable life in his 69 years.  Remarkable. — Rest in Peace, JohnJohn…take as long as you need for a little while, and like your wife Tina did for you all these years, help us from the other side!

The View Out Back


From the back yard Looking North to the San Juan Mountains first hard frost, Pagosa Springs, Colorado – October 2015

Every day (that I am not in Alaska), the past 22 years I look to these Mountains out back.

I look at them as if they will move.

In a way they do move.

They move me.


First snow of the year, the view out back looking North to the San Juan Mountains, Pagosa Springs, Colorado – moving into December 2015

Hard to imagine living anywhere without the mountains.  I am about to do that for at least a year in Oklahoma.  How will I manage without these pillars of grounded strength?  We’ll see….


The Human Race: Growing Up A Mutt

It is my father’s birthday today; he would have been 86.  Happy Birthday Dad!

I reflected back upon my childhood growing up with men who were straight out of Japan, China, the Philippines.  Many came to Alaska the past 100 years, like my maternal grandfather who was Filipino/Tibetan, and directly after WWII, a flood of Filipino men came to Alaska, my father was amongst them.  These men married the Native women; they rarely married women who were not indigenous.

Most of the Asian men spoke broken English, though there were a few who knew no other language but their own.  A few learned the indigenous languages though everyone, including the indigenous people like my Alaskan relatives, were forced to learn English; and we were not allowed to speak our own.  So English was the “common” language that we all had to learn in order to communicate and “get along.”

Like I said, it was not until a friend mentioned his experience in Korea most recently where he was not even looked at, not acknowledged once they saw that he was a foreigner — that got me to thinking and reflecting back.  I wanted to “see” his viewpoint.

It is true.  They don’t look at you when they see you are a foreigner.

Basically, no matter what country in Asia from which they are from, they generally do not acknowledge foreigners.  Why is that?

It has been my experience, Asians tend to “stick to their own kind” — even in modern times.  Why make relationships complicated with cultural differences?  Relationships are already complex and we make it complicated when we inter-marry.  Even in the Alaskan Filipino communities, now that their own women come to the United States in this modern day, they stay away from any other nationality, they associate only with one another.

I remember how in my childhood, those of us who were “mestizos”  felt awkward being amongst the “pure-bred” Filipino kids and their families whenever there was a Filipino community event.  They didn’t really “look at us.”  At the time, we did not understand why we so-called “half-breeds” felt “funny” in their presence.   it wasn’t until many years later as an adult that I came to understood what that was all about.  While the indigenous people of our land were wide open yet cautious of the foreigners, when they gained our trust, they became a part of our communities.  Yet the Asians always tended to keep themselves apart.  Even though it was the Native women (who were married to the Asian men) who worked hard to raise funds to buy a building in downtown Juneau for a Filipino community to host their events, there is little to no acknowledgement from the Filipinos.  Asians have a very strong sense of pride.  It’s that strong pride that is a strength and it is the part that sets them apart.

Part of why they tend to “stick to their own kind” is because the Asian communities tend to be very tight.  They are community-oriented.  They take care of one another; they think in terms of helping one another excel, to help support one another, and to help rejoice.  If one grieves, they all grieve; if one has achieved something, they celebrate as if each individual achieved the honor.  They speak the same language.  They have the same sense of humor, their foods tie them together, they enjoy the familiarity.  They tend to steer away from the “different.”  If you are different, they are shy of differences, they are cautious.  They cannot relate, so why force relating?

My father was the youngest of the Filipino men who came to Alaska after the war and married an indigenous woman.  Although he became friends with the indigenous men, he continued his life-long friendships with all of the Filipino men.  Over the years, one by one, he buried his comrades.  Pretty soon there were only the offspring of these men he could relate to if any of them spoke the Filipino language.  He missed being able to speak his language daily.  He felt very alone and as each year passed, he buried himself in his gardening.  And although there were more Filipinos migrating to Alaska, they were young, arrogant men and women who he took no interest for whatever reasons.  He could not relate to them.   When my father died, an era died with him; he was the last.  None of his friends were there at his memorial, though all of his friends’ children and grandchildren were in attendance.  We all knew we were the offspring of a by-gone era.

Even though my nationalities are comprised mainly of Asian blood (Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian), I am not fully accepted.  They will glance at me and wonder what I am and once they find out that I am indeed part Asian, they rejoice that I am part Asian blood, but only for a brief moment am I acceptable;  still there is that arms-length distance because my blood, in their eyes, has been “tainted” with indigenous blood, and Jewish blood and Norwegian and Finnish blood.

And of all the Asian nationalities, I have found that the Filipino people are more accepting than any other.  The Filipino are more joyful, playful and not as harshly judgmental.  Though they still keep to their own and rarely “stray” to inter-marry, at least nowadays they will look upon you.

There is no way around it; I find that Asians are hard-core when it comes to identity.  It’s just in their blood.  And I understand them.  That hard-core identity is also in my blood.

I have no judgement about the way things are or were; it just was and it just is.  In my mind, combined with the awareness of simultaneous lives and if we go back far enough, the fact that we are a mixture of bloods, I figure we are all mutts, so when it comes right down to it, there is one human race, THEN there are nationalities of cultures.

“Rock the Cradle” Concert for Pagosa Charter School

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“Rock the Cradle” Poster design and layout by Ursala Hudson – painting by Ursala and her dad, Bill Hudson

Last year in 2014, my daughter Ursala Hudson decided a charter school in Pagosa Springs, Colorado was a necessary addition to the community, especially now that she had two little girls of her own and was thinking into the future about their educational experience.



During concert practice, Clarissa’s granddaughter Simone Haas takes her first shot at the microphone with the support of singer Jen Toggle

Ursala was home-schooled until she was 9 years old; by 8th grade she was President of her class; before she graduated she already started her own web design business.  It was only befitting she formed a Board of Directors, drafted up her outline, and submitted their application to the Colorado Department of Education with the hopes that they had met all their requirements and the DOE was inspired to assist her and a small group of other interested parents to begin their path towards the creation of this endeavor.  A few months later, they received affirmation of a three-year grant for research to visit other Charter schools in Colorado, and to help get their own act together to open Pagosa’s own charter school in the Fall of 2017!

This past spring, Ursala had mentioned to me that she and her dad were thinking of doing an awareness concert sometime this Fall for the charter school.  She asked if I wanted to re-write a cover tune and would I be willing to perform it.  I asked her what kind of re-write to what kind of song and before she could answer, I gave her an example and began to sing other words to the famous Beatle song “Hey Jude”….It began like this: “Hey Blue, don’t make it red, take a sad song and make it yellow…remember, the world was meant to be green, so we could be, completely mellow…”


A lemonade stand provided refreshments for concert-goers

The “Rock the Cradle” concert was held Saturday, November 14th at the Pagosa Center for the Arts; it was a benefit for the Pagosa Charter School to bring awareness to the community of Pagosa Springs that this school is in the formation process!

Big thanks to the Pagosa Center for the Arts for generously donating their space for this concert!


Pagosa Springs Charter School Board of Directors at the admissions table:  Ursala Hudson, Megan Riddle and Laura Hamilton

The benefit concert was produced and directed by Ursala and her father, Bill Hudson.  They gathered together a group of volunteers and put together a band of local musicians to play for free:  guitarists included Steve Sarkis, Steve Summers, Greg Millioto, and Bill Hudson; drummer D.C. Duncan, key board Venita Burch, and bass player Jarrett Hebert.  Lead and back up singers included Lisa Saunders, Jen Toggle, Chris Haas, Greg Millioto, Bill Hudson, D.C. Duncan, Geoffrey Andrews, Ursala Hudson, Jen Sarkis and Clarissa Rizal.


In the audience, Jen Sarkis and Drie Young with their baby boys Shaydon and Wyatt

The concert was a huge success, standing room only, unfortunately, people were turned away at the door!   On behalf of my daughter, Ursala Hudson and the Pagosa Springs Charter School Board of Directors, thank you to all who came to the concert!  Truly, the support is appreciated!


Chris Haas, Ursala Hudson, Jen Toggle, Geoffrey Andrews and Lisa Saunders

About the Pagosa Charter School:

“The Pagosa Charter Initiative is a non-profit group dedicated to providing a public elementary school option to families in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

Our vision is to form a school that will foster creative, self-sufficient children with inquisitive minds. We are committed to providing an alternative learning environment that nurtures and engages our community’s children through outdoor education, hands-on projects, and community involvement, while continuing to align with state educational standards.

We believe that exploring subjects through participation in natural environments not only strengthens student achievement, but also inevitably supports community vitality and healthy environments. The opportunity to observe, solve problems, and participate in real-life scenarios fosters life-long learners who are socially responsible, and have a strong sense of purpose. Click here to read our core values.

The group was formed in December of 2014 by several dedicated individuals wanting to invest in our community and children through education. Please contact us if you are interested in helping out, and/or join our mailing list to keep up-to-date with our progress.”


4 Guitarists and the drummer, L to R: Bill Hudson, Steven Summers, Greg Millioto, Steve Sarkis and D.C. Duncan

For more information on the Pagosa Charter School, check out their website at:


Check out the stature of these guitarists…LOL…!


The familiar audience of little people!!!


Bill Hudson, Jarrett Heber, Jen Toggle, Ursala Hudson and Jen Sarkis


Greg Millioto on lead guitar, D.C. on drums — doesn’t get any better than that in this town of Pagosa Springs


Professional singers Lisa Saunders and Geoffrey Andrews sing a most recent Disney duet “A Whole New World”


Chris, Jenn, Ursala, Jeff


Big sister Amelie Haas hugs her Simone during a break between songs


Check out this passion and fun of singing and performing…!


Brothers Ross and D.C. Duncan perform a poetry skit


Clarissa’s youngest daughter, Ursala Hudson, President of the Pagosa Charter School


Chuck Pyle: Colorado’s “Zen Cowboy” Passes at 70


Musician, singer, song-writer, Chuck Pyle

I am saddened today to hear of Chuck’s passing.  While I was still in Alaska last weekend, I happened to be telling a friend about Chuck, and I thought that when I would return to Colorado, I would give him a jingle and see where he would be playing and maybe if the timing were right I could go hear his new songs since it’s been about 10 years!  Obviously, I am just a bit too late for that opportunity.

The first time I heard of Chuck Pyle was in 2003 when he sent us his Press Release packet and latest CD’s to review for our Whistlepig House Concert gig in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  I remember the afternoon very well:  my (then) husband was just recovering from appendix surgery enjoying the afternoon sun in my studio while listening to Chuck’s recently released album “Affected By the Moon.”  Grinning, after listening to his first cut, we immediately said simultaneously, “Let’s book this guy!”  After his first performance at our house concert, we hosted him to play our house concert again a year later.  The last time I saw him was during a house concert he was playing near Seattle, Washington in 2005.  Surprised to see me in the audience he grinned, and like any of us who met Chuck, we will say “he treated you as if you were one of his best friends.”  Chuck had a pure spirit.  My condolences to his wife, son, relatives, concert hosts and all his friends!  We’ll be missing him!

Click here to read the Denver Posts’ obituary and the video clip of Chuck Pyle singing one of my favorites of his:  “Colorado.”  Starting off with his car crossing the New Mexico into Colorado border, the scenes in the video are from my neck of the woods in downtown and surrounding areas of one of the most beautiful places in Colorado:  Pagosa Springs.

Traditionally, as any of you who know me personally, I am not a fan of cowboy music.  However, I became wide open to the sounds of the West after hearing Chuck’s music.  Please do yourself a favor and introduce yourself to Chuck Pyle and his music, please visit his website at:

You can listen to a few of Chuck’s songs on You Tube.  I just listened to a sweet “growing older” song called “Now Everything Does”  Click here.

A Celebration of Life honoring Chuck Pyle will be held on Saturday, November 14 beginning at 11:00 AM at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Hwy 105 in Palmer Lake, Colorado 80133

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Chuck Pyle Memorial Fund. Donations can be sent to:

Chuck Pyle Memorial Fund
PO Box 726
Palmer Lake, CO 80133

Clarissa’s Halloween Costume


Clarissa wears her 2015 Halloween costume (all photos by Lis Saya)

It’s been a few years since I went out on the town for Halloween.  It was once my favorite “holiday.”  A costume designer since I was a little girl, Halloween was at the top in dressing up for any occasion!  This costume came together by “accident.”


The pink, pleated cape has an 11-foot “wing span”

I borrowed the headdress from my daughter’s friend, Drie Young, who is a clothing designer and currently sells vintage clothing on eBay at Ghost Rabbit.  This fantastic cape was borrowed from my daughter who had recently received it as a gift.  The plastic pink necklace was borrowed from my grand-daughter.  A few months ago, I was in a second hand store and bought a pair of black, faux leather, hi-top, 8″ platform boots with tons of buckles.  All the accessories were from my own personal stock.  I put together this costume in 5 minutes.  Voile’…when others saw my costume and the dance I did in this cape, I was told that I could have won several Best Costume awards at various venues around town had I known about them…!


Feathered head dress, glittered rhinestone eyelashed mask, beaded Mother-of-Pearl inlay earrings, black lipstick, plastic hot pink necklace, beaded/buttoned black leather fringed belt, a pair of old cashmere gloves worn down to the skin, turquoise beaded cuffs,with purple pink glued-on nails, accessorize the normal “beaded” dress

I even performed wearing this costume during the closing ceremony dance of the “Clan Conference” at Centennial Hall last night.  Though I wore my traditional beaded dance tunic over this cotton dress.  Elder David Katzeek saw me walk in during the traditional dancing and he immediately motioned me to come up and dance with all the dancers!  It was a kick!  Nobody knew who I was and that is always the best part of Halloween!  Because I was wearing 8″ platform boots, I was 5’10” and nobody realized that I was Clarissa Rizal…hahahaha!  So much fun!

Though after I had gone out on the town dancing to various live bands, I realized that I totally enjoyed being taller.  I realized that the Western world was made for people who were about 5’7 to 6′ tall.  In fact almost everyone is about that height.   Alas, I am back to being 5’2″.  Sigh…


On a cold, surprisingly dry Halloween night in Juneau, time for some warm seaweed salad!





“Sharing Our Knowledge” Clan Conference 2015

In the opening ceremonies, Bob Sam places Chilkat robe over Ed Kunz's shoulders

In the “Warming of Hands” opening ceremonies, Bob Sam places Chilkat robe over Ed Kunz’s shoulders

On the evening of Wednesday, October 28th, clan leaders welcomed participants in the “Warming of Hands” ceremony to kick off another Clan Conference of Tsimpshian, Haida and Tlingit Tribes and Clans.  The audience included academics and artists from throughout Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.  For the third year, Chilkat weavers, Ravenstail weavers, cedar bark weavers and spruceroot weavers gathered together to demonstrate and present their work in the lobby of Centennial Hall in Juneau, Alaska.


Yarrow Vaara and her mother Suzi Williams attend the opening ceremony “Warming of Hands” the night before the Clan Conference 2015 begins

During the four days that followed, nearly 100 presentations and workshops were staged, with a Thursday luncheon to honor philosopher, actor, clan leader Walter Porter, and evenings dedicated to traditional music and dance, oratory, poetry readings and a Friday-night dinner honoring the late scholar, writer and poet Richard Dauenhauer.


Chilkat robes and one Ravenstail robe (woven by none other) await the time to dance

The Clan Conference was the latest in the series of what has become the premier scholarly gathering for historians, academics, elders, clan leaders, artists and youth who are involved in the study and documentation of Southeast Alaska Native history, culture and language.


Elder carver Nathan Jackson (R) and his right hand man, Steve Brown

Earlier Clan Conferences were held in Haines & Klukwan (1993), Sitka (1995), Ketchikan (1996), Sitka (1997 and 2007), and the last four in 2009, 2011, 2013, and this year were all held in Juneau.


Master of Ceremonies Harold Jacobs tells a humorous introduction of elders Percy Kunz (L) and Marie Olsen (R) — Notice Harold’s Chilkat top hat!

Previous gatherings were organized by the late Andrew Hope III.  For the 2007 conference, Hope was joined by curator Steve Henrikson (University of Alaska/ Alaska State Museum) and anthropologist Sergei Kan (Dartmouth College), who served as co-organizers.  Since Andy Hope’s passing in 2008, the most recent clan conferences have been spearheaded by his brother, Gerry Hope, along with a couple of his best friends Dick and Nora Dauenhauer, and long-time friend Peter Metcalfe, collegues Alice Taff and Sergei Kahn, and Andy’s son Ishmael Hope.


Hans Chester lends support to elder Selina Everson giving the closing prayer at the “Warming of Hands” ceremony

For more information:


Norma Shorty, Florence Sheakley, Emma Shorty and Connie Munro


Ricky Tagaban, Clarissa Rizal and Suzi Williams discuss the differences of using the traditional mountain goat wool (in Suzi’s hand) as opposed to the merino wool


Scholars Aldona Jonaitis and Eric Holzinger visit a couple of the weavers who are demonstrating at the Clan Conference including Suzi Williams, Yarrow Vaara, Ricky Tagaban, Jean Lampe, Lily Hope and Clarissa Rizal


Yarrow, Suzi and Ricky share their knowledge of weaving and spinning techniques


Yarrow Vaara shows the side braids of “Copper Child” 5-piece Chilkat ensemble (woven by Clarissa Rizal)


Lily Hope has had a long day at day one of the Clan Conference


Ricky Tagaban tugs at a piece of mountain goat hide and tells us that it is easier to spin short pieces of mountain goat wool than longer pieces of merino wool for our warp


Irene Jean Lampe tells a weaving story to local weavers Karen Taug and Catrina Mitchell


Suzi Williams gives a presentation on the spiritual aspects of Chilkat weaving


Buddies Tong Tengs (maker of Chilkat cones) and Preston Singletary (glass blower)


Eric Holzinger and Bob Starboard examine the original carving and the digital 3-D replica of identical dance staffs


Two up-and-coming-elders Harold Jacobs and Fred White


Deana Dartt, Native American Curator at the Portland Art Museum presents the outline for PAM’s first Tlingit art exhibit slated for 2017 — other Museum staff panelists also include Steven Henrikson, Kate Bunn-Marcuse and Barbara Brotherton


Ricky Tagaban and Michael Hoyt discuss the latest cultural presentation at the Clan Conference while “Little Watchman” and “Chilkat Child” listen up!


At the Walter Porter Memorial luncheon held on the first day of the Clan Conference, Byron Mallott talks about his childhood growing up with Walter in Yakutat


Lance Twitchell gives an introduction of the film he directed/produced on Nora and Dick Dauenhauer


At the Richard Dauenhauer memorial dinner held the second night of the Clan Conference, the audience watches the film about the Dauenhauers by Lance Twitchell


Long time friend and collegue of Dick Dauenhauer: Walter Krauss provided some humor of the courtship of Dick and Nora Dauenhauer over 40 years ago


Ishamel Hope recites a poem written by Dick Dauenhauer


With Clan Conference organizers Peter Metcalfe and Gerry Hope, and presenters Ishmael Hope and Lance Twitchell, Steve Langdon remembers Dick Dauenhauer


Sergei Kahn remembers Dick Dauenhauer


Dick’s beloved wife, Nora Dauenhauer takes a bow


In her partial Halloween costume and make-up, Clarissa Rizal stands between two Alaskan scholars: Father Michael Oleska and Sergei Kahn


Clan Conference organizers (?, Kathy Ruddy, Alice Taft, David Katzeek, Harold Jacobs and Sergei Kahn) allow Ishmael Hope to give the the closing speech during the Clan Conference wrap-up


Newly-Remodeled Digs


The apartment is being remodeled; yep, good light creates better work!

It’s been over 4 years since I’ve lived in a place that has running water, sewer and sufficient heat.  It will be luxury living when I work in this space!


The layout of the apartment

I was so excited about having my own home again, even though I had all kinds of other business work of deadlines, I couldn’t think of anything else but to do the layout of my space.  For those of you who know me well, you know I like interior (as well as exterior) design work.  I spent 6 hours measuring all my furniture and equipment, then drawing the pieces to scale (1 square = 1 foot), and then doing the layout.  I did several layouts until I came to this one that I felt good about.

I forgot to label the zigzag as the Japanese soji screen which is seen when walking into the apartment hallway looking towards the livingroom.


close-up of the work space

For a year I am privileged to live in a bright, spacious, warm space with a real kitchen and real bathroom(!)  provided for me by the Tulsa Artist Residency while I work, work, work on many, many projects.  Thank you George Kaiser Foundation and TAR for choosing me for this opportunity.  Truly, Gunalcheesh, ho, ho!




Tools of the Trade: Ultimate Rack for Prepared Wool

An antique clothes drying rack gifted to me from fellow artist Cecil Touch almost 20 years ago

An antique clothes drying rack gifted to me from fellow artist Cecil Touchon almost 20 years ago

I have used this antique clothes drying rack to hold prepared wool for nearly 20 years when my friend Cecil Touchon gave it to me.  It’s collapsible, easy to store, lightweight yet sturdy.  I prepare all my wool and cedar bark before I begin spinning the Chilkat warp needed for a robe.  This type of rack comes in very handy.  It has many “spokes” to the wheel that stem out from the center as shown in the photo above, so I can prepare enough wool for at least 600 yards of warp.

“Northwest By Southwest II” Buttonrobe


A very similar version of the original robe of the same name minus the #2 of “Northwest By Southwest II” button robe, recently completed by Clarissa Rizal

This is a photo of the original buttonrobe entitled “Northwest by Southwest” made in 1999.  This is my most favorite button robe I’ve ever designed and made.  This past summer, my son-in-law gave me some of the same background fabric that he found while searching for blankets on eBay.   This same fabric I bought nearly 30 years ago in Santa Fe, New Mexico,  so I was absolutely thrilled to have enough to make a second “NW x SW” button robe, hence the name “NW x SW II…!”

Clarissa irons "NW x SW II" button robe with her brand new "Rowenta" Steamer Iron

Catch a close-up of the fabric detail as Clarissa irons “NW x SW II” button robe with her brand new “Rowenta” Steamer Iron

If you are interested in purchasing this robe, just give me a holler!  I will have this robe available for sale at the Clan Conference in Juneau next weekend, October 28-November 1st.  If a happy buyer does not snatch it up during the conference, I will have it available for viewing and sale at the Haa Shagoon Gallery in Juneau.  Remember:  Christmas is coming!