Maybe that is why we tend to have a deep appreciation and a sense of awe when we see a master work created by hand using simple tools and techniques. Maybe that is why so many fibre artists feel compelled to help preserve or revive skills that maybe lost in the name of efficiency or advancement.
The first nations people of the pacific northwest were noted for the fibre arts. They worked in cedar, mountain goat and dog hair. Blankets and other woven items were used in commerce as well as for personal or ceremonial use. Fibre art is an important cultural heritage for all people. We are lucky that it is being preserved, revived and in some cases reinvented without loosing its meaning.
Traditional patterns have been used in the border of weft stripes. As with other forms of traditional weaving the patterns have meaning and would tell a story about the blanket if we knew how to read it.
The thick yarn is spun using a large headed spindle attached to a wheel but in the past a spindle would have been used.
The set of pendant and earrings is a fine example of modern Chilkat weaving. The same technique is used to create large ceremonial dancing blankets. It is hand worked in on a simple loom using a complex combination of twining and weaving. Traditionally the warp would have been a blend of cedar and wool. The yarn would have been spun and plied without the use of a spindle.
|Salish weaving in progress on loom|
If you are interested in the Chilkat weaving you might want to check out "The Chilkat Dancing Blanket" by Cheryl Samuel, Pacific Search Press, 1982 ISBN 0-914718-69-X