Chilkat Finishing Workshop

A Journey to What Matters Story by Lily Hope

chilkat

At any point in the last 150 years, fewer than a dozen Chilkat dancing robe weavers existed to make work for art collectors, museums, and most importantly for the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian and First Nations clans.

Mentor weaver, Jennie Tlunaut taught a workshop in 1985 to weavers outside her family, for the first and only time. One of those students, Clarissa Rizal, continued to weave and teach after her six-week apprenticeship with Tlunaut the following year. Many of Rizal’s students have continued to weave Chilkat ceremonial regalia.

With the help of The CIRI Foundation Journey to What Matters grant Lily Hope was able to bring together 23 Chilkat weaving students from around the country for a 2 week intensive finishing workshop. When the workshop was finished, the group successfully wove 16 child size Chilkat blankets that were all danced with previously woven pieces during a historic First Dance event and then all the robes were put on display at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum in February. The show was titled For Our Children: Chilkat Weaving in the lineage of Jennie Thlunaut and Clarissa Rizal. 

Read more about TCF’s A Journey to What Matters: Increased Alaska Native Art & Culture 

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