Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Ceremony to release a robe from the loom

One of the many things I love about Haida culture is the appreciation of finely made works of art. Evelyn Vanderhoop, a master weaver, has finished a robe in the Naaxiin style, a replica of an old Haida robe now in the museum in Victoria, B.C. It is the only robe she knows of (and she is a serious researcher, having visited many museum collections to examine old robes) that features a box design on it, so I talked with her about the piece during my recent trip to Haida Gwaii.

The community is having a ceremony to release the robe from the loom, and dance it into the Haida world, before the robe leaves for the purchaser's home in the United States. The ceremony will be held at the Haida Gwaii Museum, reminding us also that museums can play central roles in communities, cherishing and making material heritage accessible.

I wish I could attend the ceremony, and want to say congratulations to Evelyn on the completion of a masterpiece.

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