Haida weaver wins Santa Fe fellowship

  • Jul. 8, 2011 7:00 a.m.

Weaver Lisa Hageman Yahgulanaas has been awarded a residency fellowship from the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts. The award includes a one-month artist residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute in August, including lodging, studio space and basic food, a $1,000 cash award, a complimentary fellowship booth at the 2011 Santa Fe Indian Market, recognition at the SWAIA reception, and an open studio night. The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts sent us the following information about Ms Hageman:Just a little more than five years ago, textile weaver Lisa Hageman Yahgulanaas sold fine home décor in her two stores in BC. Travelling around the world, she bought handmade items or fine ware, such as velvet throws, bedding or chandeliers from Paris or Italy, for inventory. Finding the beauty and precision in such exquisitely crafted items taught her that there was appreciation for an artist’s vision and expertise.Thinking about the arts and her own Haida heritage, Yahgulanaas soon began to learn about the Raven’s Tail style of weaving from her cousin Master Weaver Evelyn Vanderhoop, who revived Raven’s Tail by assisting her mother Master Weaver Delores Churchill in the weaving of a Chief’s Robe in their homeland of Haida Gwaii in 1991. This style, which predates Chilkat blankets, is one of the oldest forms of weaving in the world. There are no looms. Loose wool strands hang over a box frame. To weave a full chief’s robe can take up to a year.Yahgulanaas, who comes from a family of artists, is one of perhaps five full-time Raven’s Tail weavers on Haida Gwaii. When she completed her first full robe, she held a potlatch, not customary for women. But when a robe is completed it’s tradition that the robe be danced. Her cousin stood up and said Yahgulanaas had reached master’s level. “It was an honour for her to do that in front of the chiefs,” Yahgulanaas said, “especially when you see her work.”Now Yahgulanaas continues to weave on commission. In 2009, Yahgulanaas created the first entirely Z-twist warp and weft robe on Haida Gwaii in more than 150 years. The Z-twist warp and weft weave are defining traits of Haida textiles.As part of her SWAIA residency, Yahgulanaas would like to weave a textile using colours indicative of the Southwest, an idea she got hiking through the mountains in New Mexico. Traditionally raven’s tail textiles are always black, white and yellow. “When you weave enough, you can get to the point of incorporating ancestral designs but you can create new ones because you know the rules of raven’s tail. I think I am very firmly grounded now what makes a raven’s tail piece a raven’s tail piece. I can now branch out in terms of colour and in terms of design.”

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