Originally posted: November 2010
In early November Canadian master weaver Evelyn Vanderhoop provided a series of programs at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum. During her residency, Ms. Vanderhoop demonstrated the Naaxiin (or Chilkat style) technique of weaving to school groups and the public and conducted an in-depth workshop for teachers and experienced weavers.
Evelyn Vanderhoop is from Masset, British Columbia, and comes from a long line of Haida weavers, including her grandmother Selina Peratrovich and her mother, Delores Churchill. She is one of only a handful of weavers who have mastered the skills required for Naaxiin weaving.
Ms. Vanderhoop talked with over 200 people during her stay, including 22 elementary students and chaperones from Tera Schreiber’s Homeschool Group of Seattle, and 20 students and parents from Lorie Woods’ 5th grade class from St. Joseph Marquette, Yakima. She explained, “Ravenstail and Chilkat weaving share several varieties of twining and surface braiding, although they differ in pattern, construction, weight, and composition of the warp. Both are used for robes, dance aprons and other ceremonial regalia and both types of weaving originally used wool from mountain goats. Contemporary weavers now substitute sheep wool. Traditionally, ranking members of clans and house groups wore these robes during dances or when officiating at ceremonies.”
On Saturday morning, 13 experienced weavers and local teachers were treated to a rare opportunity to attend a hands-on workshop in this almost forgotten style. Each started a small weaving of their own, and many lingered into the afternoon to soak up every bit of knowledge from this living treasure and great ambassador of Canadian culture.
This project was supported, in part, by funding from the Center’s Title VI grant, US Department of Education, Office of International Education Programs Service.