Roberta Kirk, Warm Springs tribal member, led a four-day Plateau dressmaking workshop at the Museum at Warm Springs from Thursday, June 28th to Sunday, July 1st. The workshop, organized by Linley B. Logan, was part of The Evergreen State College Longhouse Northwest Heritage Program. Linley leads the organization of the program by working with tribal and native communities to develop artist in residence programs focused on cultural arts.
This Plateau dressmaking artist in residency received a great response. We hosted 18 participants who represented multiple generations and many interfamily groups. The youngest participant, Virgilena Walsey-Begay, is ten years old and she worked on her dress with her mother, Cece Walsey-Begay, and Virgilena’s sister in-law, Courtney Fasthorse. Virgilena danced in her dress at the Simnasho Hot Summer Nights Pow-Wow three days after completing it.
Our dressmaking space at the Museum at Warm Springs was at capacity, with folks spreading their dress material out on the board room table and the floor in the hallway. We ended up with a wait-list of 20 people who are interested in a future Plateau dressmaking workshop.
Roberta has great respect for all tribes and ways of cultural artistic expression: "I was taught our cultural value that when you are going into ceremony or you will stand before the Creator that you must present yourself in your best traditional attire."
The Plateau dressmaking residency proved to be a very powerful arts-in-action connector for community members. A number of the participants were making their dresses for family naming ceremony purposes. Many of the residency participants had great things to say about their experiences. One artist said, “This artist in residency is a blessing of wonderful days filled with laughter and love.” Another artist noted, “It was so beautiful to see the dresses come alive. Truly, each dress has the spirit of its maker in it.” Yet another artist noted, “Everyday held prayers, laughter, sharing, and cultural creativity.” An elder participant commented, “It was a thrill to see the young one sewing her shells on her own dress. I am inspired.” Another participant shared, “The artist in residency was a beautiful four days with family, friends and new friends.” One participant shared, “When I completed the last stitches in my dress, I cried. I mourn no more; my life has come together as well as our families. I am so proud to be released and lifted by my friends through making this dress in this artist in residency. Thank you to the organizers and leader of this artist in residency for providing a means of healing for me.” A healing song was shared by another participant for the healing tears that day.
Community members stopped in to the residency throughout the four days. One community member shared a comment about her visit via a social media post: “Lots of positive energy. You have done a wonderful thing to host this workshop for our people.” Another community member who did not attend the residency responded to the public posts, “The support for our regalia making gives us a better outlook on our traditional ways, that they will never die, that traditions hold strong, and it lets us walk as our elders did with pride to be Indigenous. Thank you for helping to keep this practice alive and well.”
The participants in the Plateau dressmaking artist in residency discussed the idea of organizing a Plateau dress fashion show with their dresses at a future Museum at Warm Springs event.
The Longhouse Education and Cultural Center and the Northwest Heritage Program are excited and very proud to be able to partner with The Museum at Warm Springs to develop and host such incredible, culturally powerful, and healing community-based artist in residencies in a native community. We are thankful to everyone who makes these residencies possible.
Migwech, Gunalchéesh, Nia:weh, We are Thankful.
Wood & Bone: Traditions in Carving
By Linley B. Logan
On June 11th-15th, the Journeys in Creativity: Explorations in Native American Art and Culture program held the Wood & Bone: Traditions in Carving artists in residence camp for seven Native American participants in Portland, Oregon.
The week started with an introduction to bone carving traditions, taught by local resident and Hawaiian transplant, Kaliko Yokoyama. Students were expected to use their unique tribal aesthetics and translate, carve and polish small bone, antler or Corian materials into small pendants using rotary tools, files and sandpaper. Traditional wrapping techniques to make cordage were used to help fix and string the pendants so that participants could wear their newly finished pieces of art.
After completing the two-day bone carving workshop, students transitioned to a three-day wood carving workshop, taught by Shirod Younker (Coquille/Coos). The students learned the basics of wood carving using traditional bent and straight knives. Each student was given a 12-inch block of fresh-cut red alder, roughly cut down to a small canoe.
Students learned the basics of rough stock removal and finishing techniques using the knives popularized by the traditional carvers of the Pacific Northwest. The basics of carving canoe models gave the students a unique perspective on the traditional design and science of making a replica West Coast Chinook-style canoe. The Chinook canoe style, designed to handle the rough waters of the Pacific, is believed to be more than 5,000 years old.
At the end of the last day, participants were each given a traditional bent knife and a rotary tool to help perpetuate their newly learned skills during potential future projects.
The Artist in Residence program is run by the Northwest Heritage Program of the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center.
The Longhouse team, in collaboration with the Museum of Glass, intends to add a cast glass studio to the Indigenous Arts Campus in the future. This series of studios will allow the Longhouse to greatly expand its capacity to offer academic classes and a wider variety of residencies in traditional and contemporary arts. In building the Indigenous Arts Campus, we are simultaneously creating the infrastructure for a planned MFA in Indigenous Arts in the future. The Indigenous Arts Campus will add new dimensions to Evergreen’s educational leadership as an interdisciplinary liberal arts college with a commitment to teaching across significant differences.
Multiple committed groups and individuals have generously contributed funding to the Indigenous Arts Campus studio development. Support for the Fiber Arts Studio came from the Ford Foundation, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, the Surdna Foundation, the Hearst Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Evergreen State College, seven Northwest tribes, and more than 165 individual donations. Funding for the new carving studio has been secured from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, and individual donors.
What We Do
We promote Indigenous arts and cultures through education, cultural preservation, creative expression and economic development—learn more.
The Longhouse supports Native artists and hosts Native art Sales and Exhibits throughout the year.
Fund your art project with the Grant Programs that we offer to Native artists in the Northwest—The 2019 Native Creative Development Grant is available to Native artists in Washington and Oregon.
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You can support Longhouse programming by purchasing merchandise. We offer a variety of gifts, including the beautiful Thunderbird Arrives wool blanket—co-designed by Louie Gong (Nooksack) and Longhouse staff, and produced by Louie Gong's Eighth Generation.