Sealaska Heritage

NEWS_Artist-in-residence, apprentice to give presentation on Chilkat weaving

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Event free and open to the public

May 28, 2019

The award-winning Tlingit artist Lily Hope and her apprentice, Anastasia Hobson-George, will give a free, public presentation on Chilkat weaving and leggings they have been working on at Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI).

Hope has been mentoring Hobson-George this month at SHI’s artists-in-residence space, and the pair will unveil the final Chilkat weavings at the event.

The presentation will include an overview of the complex and traditional process of harvesting, prepping, spinning and hand-dying all of the materials that comprise Chilkat weavings.

The event is scheduled from noon-1 pm, Friday, May 31, at SHI’s clan house (Shúka Hít) in Juneau. Everyone is welcome. SHI will also live stream the presentation on its Facebook page.

Chilkat weaving is one of the most complex weaving techniques in the world, and it is unique to Northwest Coast cultures. Chilkat weavings are distinct from other weaving forms in that curvilinear shapes such as ovoids are woven into the pieces. The curved shapes are difficult and very time-consuming to execute, and a single Chilkat robe can take a skilled weaver a year or longer to complete. Traditionally, mountain goat wool and yellow cedar bark were used, and the process of harvesting the goat and bark and processing the materials were also complex and laborious tasks.

In recent years, Chilkat weaving was considered to be an endangered art practice. A few Native artists mastered the craft and are now teaching it to others, giving hope this ancient practice will survive. Hope learned to weave from her late mother, the acclaimed Tlingit artist Clarissa Rizal, who apprenticed under Jennie Thlunaut, one of the most celebrated Northwest Coast master weavers of the twentieth century who is credited with single-handedly keeping the tradition alive.

Like her mother before her, Hope has been active as a mentor in passing on the knowledge to new generations of artists so this ancient art practice is not lost. Her apprentice, Hobson-George, was one of 35 artists in Alaska this month to win an individual artist award from the Rasmuson Foundation. The funding will allow her to study and document rare Chilkat weaving techniques and to work with a master weaver to create her own piece.

The Hope/Hobson-George mentor/apprenticeship is supported  by Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.

CONTACT: Amy Fletcher, SHI Media and Publications Director, 907.586.9116,

Caption:  Apprentice Anastasia Hobson-George and her mentor, Lily Hope, in SHI’s artist-in-residence space in May. Photo by Lyndsey Brollini.

For a high resolution image, contact