The Weavers Across the Waters Robe
The Weavers Across the Waters Robe was the first ceremonial robe known of to be intentionally contributed to by numerous Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers, spearheaded by the late Tlingit artist and weaver, Clarissa Rizal. The robe was first danced in the summer of 2016, completed in 2017, and is now housed in the new “Weavers’ Studio” at the Evergreen Longhouse campus in Olympia, Washington. It is to be worn by a dignitaries for NWC Canoe Gatherings and/or also to be worn in ceremonies during the maiden launches of traditional dugout canoes.
The idea for the collaborative robe was originally conceived by Clarissa and her dear friend and fellow Chilkat weaver, Suzi Williams. Clarissa passed away before the borders of the robe were completed; her daughter, Lily Hope led the completion of the bottom row and bottom border the winter of 2017.
During the robe’s creation, it became clear that collaborative robes such as these do much more for the Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving communities than manifest spectacular works of art; they offer space for self-expression, open dialogue, expanded skillsets, spiritual growth, and an increased sense of community.
Spirit Uprising was founded in the wake of Clarissa’s passing by her sister, Deanna Lampe, and her two daughters, Lily Hope and Ursala Hudson. The mission of this organization is to preserve the integrity of Ravenstail and Chilkat weaving by promoting excellence, educating students, and supporting weaver communities internationally.
“My goodness, we share in the excitement and most likely all of what I feel too in the completion of this robe!
… Being the creator (or “mastermind” as my Mother would have put it) of this community-based project, would I had known that when I have receive each of these priceless 5×5 woven Chilkat and Ravenstail weavings, I would feel such honor and a privilege to hold each one in the palm of my hands!? Would I have known that I would feel such pure and raw power in each simple image!? And would I have known that I would feel such intense protectiveness as I hand-carried these in my carry-on luggage; like worse than when I am transporting a robe that I have designed and made!?!? — In the purity of this power, I feel immense grace and lovingness; I feel such excitement and peace; I feel strength and healing; I feel the connectedness of all beings through the anticipation of connecting all of these weavers’ weavings together.”
Della Cheney, Suzi Williams, Lily Hope, Vicki Soboleff, Margaret Woods, Veronica Ryan, Catrina Mitchell, Chloe French, Annie Ross, Stephany Andersen, Karen Taug, Dolly Garza, Nila Rinehart, Teahonna James, Ursala Hudson, Edna Lamebull, Courtney Jensen, Sandy Gagnon, Kay Parker, Marilee Petersen, Alfreda Lang, Georgia Bennett, Willie White, Pearl Innes, Koosnei Rainy Kasko, John Beard, Joyce Makua, Michelle Gray, Gabrielle George, Sally Ishikawa, Darlene See, Douglas Gray, Peter McKay, Shgen George, Debra O’Gara, Marsha Hotch, Irene Lampe, Davina Barrill, Yarrow Vaara, Mary Ebona Miller, and Clarissa Rizal.
This list of weavers was compiled by Clarissa Rizal prior to the robe’s completion, several months after Clarissa’s death. A few more squares were added to the bottom row upon finishing the robe’s borders. If your name is missing from this list, please contact us and we’ll be sure to add it. Gunalchéesh!
Read more about the Weavers Across the Waters Robe — the collaborative robe project that inspired the Giving Strength Robe, led by Clarissa Rizal:
“Weavers Across the Water” First People’s Fund, November 28, 2016
“Juneau Chilkat & Ravenstail Weavers Gather with a Special Robe” Clarissa Rizal’s blog, August 30, 2016
“Weavers complete Chilkat and Ravenstail robe to be first used in Glacier Bay ceremony” Juneau Empire, August 24, 2016
“ Collaborative Chilkat and Ravenstail robe nears completion” KTOO recorded story, August 23, 2016
“Robe Update” Clarissa Rizal’s blog, August 17, 2016
“Robe Update” Clarissa Rizal’s blog, July 13, 2016