A sculpture of a human wearing a Chilkat robe and cedar bark neckring by the late Tlingit carver Amos Wallace in 1964
While talking with the owner of the Haa Shagoon Gallery in downtown Juneau, in the middle of the conversation I suddenly turned around. I wasn’t even sure what I was looking for; just pure instinct led my eyes to this sculpture that totally caught my fancy. Why? I’m not sure, but as soon as I saw this figure I felt so compelled that it had to go home with a local, not a tourist, that I immediately called Amos’ grand-daughter and my friend, Donna Beaver Pizzarelli. With no answer and worried that a tourist would buy the sculpture, I snatched up this 8″ tall mold of a carving by Amos Wallace made in 1964 and I have it placed in a prestigious location: next to my weaving loom. This figure watches over me as I work. It’s great to have the company!
This small sculpture is a cast made of a plaster-like compound that gives it the appearance of wood or a stone called argillite. Manufactured by a company called Griffin’s Alaska based in Edmonds, Washington State between the years of 1964-67, they had a complete line of bowls and totems which are frequently mistaken for stone. Even the weight of this little guy feels like stone.
Amos Wallace was one of less than a handful of local Tlingit carvers here in Juneau, Alaska in the 1940’s until a few years before his passing in 2004. I grew up in the Russian Orthodox Church where he and his wife, Dorothy Wallace sang in the choir. It wasn’t until recently I discovered from his son Brian that Amos was of the Raven Moiety, T’akdeintaan Clan of Hoonah, which is also my clan! A gentle, soft-spoken man, his name was Jeet Yaaw Dustaa. Born in 1920, his older brother Lincoln Wallace, was also a carver.
Here’s an easy front clasp for button robes. Fetch one from JoAnn’s for about $5 (depending on size). One was enough for this robe however, if you have only smaller size, then think about using 2 or 3 “frog” closures for the robe.
Clarissa takes a photo of herself on KTOO Public Radio station’s monitor – Juneau, Alaska
who sponsors the weekly TV series called “Colores” at PBS New Mexico.
When show organizer John Morris contacted me about being a part of the Antique Native American Art Show in Santa Fe, New Mexico opening August 17th, I did not know it would involve doing my first public television interview airing on Saturday, August 8th in Albuquerque, NM. Modern technology made it so that the interviewer, who was in the television station in Albquerque, could interview me while I sat in the KTOO television sound room. Technology sent the visual interview via internet along with me providing about 100 images of my work to the TV company who sponsors the weekly TV series called “Colores” at PBS New Mexico in Albuquerque.
The interview will broadcast on the following dates:
Clarissa in the TV recording studio of PBS’s local station at KTOO in Juneau, Alaska
The episode with my segment will broadcast on Saturday, August, 8th at 4:00pm on Channel 5.l PBS New Mexico who sponsors the weekly TV series called “Colores”.
It will also repeat as follows:
Monday, August 10th at 9:30pm on Channel 9.1.
Friday, August 14th at 10:30pm on Channel 5.1.
Just a reminder that this is a segment not the entire show. The way Colores! works is that each show is made up of approximately 3 segments. Clarissa’s segment is about 5 minutes. They will mention the Santa Fe Antique Native American art show during the program.
Thank you Tara Walsh and Joan Rebecchi at PBS New Mexico and the folks at Juneau’s KTOO for getting this interview together.
It’s been awhile back that I purchased these so I don’t recall where I bought these little, red, valuable trinkets cut from antler, dyed red, sawed into the shape of fish and then embellished with circles and lines using a dremel tool. I figured I will use them one day for a button robe. Have any of you seen these guys; if so, where?