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Springtime: Beginnings and Change

49 Writers - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 5:00am
We Alaskans tune into weather, seasons, subtle shifts in light, and most recently, the dramatic arrival of Spring. Change is in the air – you can smell, see, and feel it. What will you do with your extra hours of light?
Here at 49 Writers, summer is a time to plan, reflect on our past year, and map out fall programs. It’s a natural time for change.
Poet and 49 Writers Executive Director Erin Coughlin Hollowell has garnered just about every award/grant that Alaska offers. She’s done an excellent job as the administrator of our organization. First and foremost, she’s a poet and needs time to write. We’re sad to announce Erin is stepping down from her position so she can write more but look forward to reading her new work.
Thank you, Erin, for sharing your talent with us, and for working with us over many weeks to ensure a positive transition! We wish you the best as a writer and in your new part-time job (fewer hours than shepherding an ever-growing, state-wide organization) at Storyknife – a new writer's retreat for women in Homer.
We've decided to appoint Jeremy Pataky, current Board President and founding board member, as Interim Executive Director of 49 Writers. Along with being a published poet and writer, Jeremy earned a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Foraker Group. He served as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountains Center for nearly five years, where he led a major, successful capital campaign, forged enduring partnerships, established new programs, and grew the budget and staff.
Jeremy has worked as a consultant for the last few years and has coordinated the Rasmuson Foundation Artist Residency Program since 2013. We're thrilled to have him at the helm during this transition period. Jeremy will assume his new role on May 1st when he steps down from his current board position. Stay tuned for exciting opportunities to help grow the literary arts in Alaska!
Speaking of change, have you heard about the new instructor for 49 Writers’ Tutka Bay Writers Retreat? Due to the birth of his first child, Rick Moody won’t be able to travel this summer. Lucky for us, Lucky for us, American Indian and American Book Award winner Debra Magpie Earling will lead this year’s retreat. Our retreats are held at Tutka Bay Wilderness Lodge, one of a handful of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. Early bird registration is open until May 1. 
Happy Spring!
Joan Pardes, Juneau
49 Writers Board Member  
Categories: Arts & Culture

Calling All Chilkat and Ravenstail Weavers

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 3:37pm

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:

I 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 some of the specifications.  However, just in case you cannot read my handwriting, and you want more information because you’d really like to commit, I will also reiterate the specs herein as follows:

Each weaver is requested to weave a 5″ x 5″ square in Chilkat and/or Ravenstail style to donate as part of a community ceremonial robe.

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 1, 2016!   Email address:  clarissa@clarissarizal.com   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:  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.

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″)

DEADLINE to commit:  May 1, 2016  Email Clarissa with your commitment (suggestions, etc. are welcome too, especially at this time):  clarissa@clarissarizal.com 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.

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!

Categories: Arts & Culture

The “Chilkat Mask”

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 12:18pm

“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

 

Categories: Arts & Culture

“Chilkat Storyteller” Doll

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Wed, 04/13/2016 - 11:34am

“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

Categories: Arts & Culture
 

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