The SouthWest Alaska Arts Group was happy to have hosted a series of four Native Arts workshops in Bethel funded by The CIRI Foundation.
Our region is full of amazing artists that create beautiful traditional art forms! Over the course of the last year, we gathered together to learn from some amazing instructors including: Trisha McIntyre who taught sewing fur baby booties; Golga Quki Oscar who taught how to sew dance fans and nasqerruns; and Kelly Lincoln who taught beginning grass weaving.
Common among each instructor was an optimistic and encouraging teaching style. Each class was so fun, and it was really apparent that the teachers enjoyed sharing their knowledge just as much as the students enjoyed the opportunity to learn.
These small, casual workshops created such a fun learning environment. Parents brought their kids into class, teachers made pie and other yummy foods to snack on, and participants shared different techniques between each other.
There is collective value in sharing ways of creating. Artists from the region are richly rooted in the land, culture, and place, and this creates works that are multi-level. Curated pieces are usually rooted in the ways of old,but can have surprising contemporary additions as artists continually grow and create new artworks.
It is important that the process of artists who practice traditional crafts is passed onto future generations. We cannot wait to see more work from these young, talented, students and to catch a glimpse into their unique artistic worldview.