Massett artist wins two awards

  • Sep. 29, 2010 1:00 p.m.

Winning a BC Creative Achievement Award for First Nations Art topped off a great summer season for Massett-based textile artist Lisa Hageman Yahgulanaas. She is one of six First Nations artists who will receive a $2,500 prize and the use of the BC Creative Achievement Award seal to signify her creative excellence. She says the award is given for an artist’s body of work, but she believes it was the geometric patterned Raven’s Tail robe she worked at the Haida Heritage Centre in the summer of 2009 that had the most impact on the jury. The robe is called the Hageman-7idansuu Robe and is the first entirely Z-twist robe to be woven on Haida Gwaii in over 150 years. Ms Hageman Yahgulanaas explains that Haida weavers used to prepare all their wool by spinning it counterclockwise between their palm and their thighs – a technique known as the Z-twist. This technique is still used by weavers for the warp of a woven piece, but the wool for the weft is usually purchased. All purchased wool is spun in a clockwise manner known as an S-twist, but ancestral weavers used nothing but the Z-twist. Ms Hageman Yahgulanaas credits the spinning of all the weft wool to Cindy Davies of Queen Charlotte, who she says has a formidable knowledge of wool and dying techniques. The robe was also featured at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in Vancouver during the Time Warp exhibit and is now part of Chief 7idansuu Jim Hart’s chiefly regalia. Ms Hageman Yahgulanaas will attend the luncheon presentation of the awards later in October. Another accolade she received recently was an award of excellence at the UBC Museum of Anthropology’s first World Art Market – an indigenous art fair modeled after the world renowned Santa Fe Indian Market. Her Woven Sea Robe, a piece that combines ancient Raven’s Tail techniques with modern button blanket applique work, was awarded the top prize in the textile category at the mid-September event. The shark design on the robe was created by Clayton Gladstone Jr. and the applique, fashioned out of ultrasuede, was fabricated by Dean Auchter. Ms Hageman Yahgulanaas says it is the third mixed-style robe of its kind ever made; the first was done by her cousin Evelyn Vanderhoop and the second by her sister Tracy Auchter. The robe was sold to Yosef Wosk for a price of $18,000 at the fair. Mr. Wosk invited her to present the story of the robe – which was inspired by her time spent commercial fishing with her father Bruce Hageman and her family – at the formal unveiling of the reflecting pool originally designed by Arthur Erickson 35 years ago for the UBC Museum of Anthropology. When she arrived at the event, she realized who her patron was. Mr. Wosk, a well-known philanthropist and scholar, funded the completion of the reflecting pool. She said it was a great honour to be part of that event and to see the newly completed renovations to the Haida House longhouse as well. Ms Hageman Yagulanaas recommends everyone go to the MOA on a rainy day to watch the ever-widening drops as they expand across the new pool.