‘I present a brand new canvas’: High fashion meets Haida tradition in Yukon hat-making workshop

‘I present a brand new canvas’: High fashion meets Haida tradition in Yukon hat-making workshop

Reconnecting with tradition and custom seems completely different for everybody. For Dorothy Grant, it is about merging conventional Haida craft practices with progressive trend strategies. 

“Custom versus innovation is one thing that I’ve been practising and doing for the previous 40 years of my creative life,” stated the internationally famend Haida dressmaker.

Grant, who’s member of the Raven Clan of Kaigani Haida, was the primary dressmaker to mix high fashion together with her Haida tradition.

‘I present a brand new canvas’: High fashion meets Haida tradition in Yukon hat-making workshop
Grant is a member of the Raven Clan of Kaigani Haida. (Sissi De Flaviis/CBC)

Over the past week, she facilitated a standard hat-making workshop on the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse, the place 9 Yukon First Nations girls realized Grant’s distinctive strategies. 

“I see these girls are simply hungry for one thing new. It is like I present a brand new canvas for them to create their very own paintings on it,” stated Grant.

Sewing a hat
Every participant made their very own hat from begin to end, together with shaping the material into the standard hat form, stitching borders, and designing, reducing and including the decorations. (Sissi De Flaviis/CBC)

The five-day workshop was based mostly on the standard Haida painted basketry hat from the northwest coast tribes. Though the form is conventional, the educating included just a few of Grant’s private trend secrets and techniques and new strategies, she stated. 

“It is fairly a course of, but it surely’s virtually therapeutic as a result of you may actually end a hat in [a few] days,” she stated.

“Additionally simply with the ability to construct one thing with your personal two fingers from begin to end is a extremely nice feeling. I feel that is what I am educating these girls, that they’ve the power to do this.”

Thelma Sawyer sewing a colourful hat brim.
Thelma Sawyer, member of the Ta’an Kwach’an Council, stitching the colorful hat brim. (Sissi De Flaviis/CBC)

Grant additionally creating conventional merchandise might be therapeutic, for individuals processing points and traumas skilled as Indigenous individuals.

“All of us come from the same place and possibly upbringings,” stated Grant when speaking concerning the workshop’s individuals. “We have all had points and traumas. I feel that should you can put all of that into some artistic course of like this, it helps with coping with all of these issues.”

Dorothy Grant overseeing a workshop participant
‘It is an honour to move on my expertise, as a now millionaire, to those girls as a result of it is like they’re so hungry for one thing new. And that is very progressive, but it surely’s based mostly on custom,’ stated Grant. (Sissi De Flaviis/CBC)

The individuals had been sponsored by their respective communities: Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Ta’an Kwach’an Council and Gwichʼin.

sewing a killer wale
Every hat is supposed to be distinctive to the artist. That is why Shirley Dawson sewed a crest to commemorate her grandfather’s clan, a killer whale. ‘It is a part of my clan. It is a part of who I’m,’ she stated. (Sissi De Flaviis/CBC)
Drawing a feather
Elizabeth Moses selected to incorporate a feather design due to a imaginative and prescient. ‘In my imaginative and prescient, I had gone up the mountain. On the prime, my grandfather touched my face with a feather,’ she defined. (Sissi De Flaviis/CBC)
two participants helping each other at the hat making workshop
Dawson stated the setting on the workshop was ‘very constructive and really supportive’ to the purpose individuals had been sharing supplies and serving to one another all through the method. (Sissi De Flaviis/CBC)
Hat and regalia combination
Grant has made a reputation for herself within the trend trade internationally for her infusion between innovation and conventional designs as proven on this conventional hat and regalia set. ‘No one is greater or higher. I’m the identical. I come from humble beginnings in Alaska,’ stated the artist. (Sissi De Flaviis/CBC)
lady cutting a tensil
Tania Pope, from Ta’an Kwach’an Council, designing a white-and-red butterfly for her black felt hat. (Sissi De Flaviis)
posing for a photo
Moses, fourth to the appropriate, stated this was a lifetime alternative. Not solely was this her first time studying and making a hat, it additionally occurred by coincidence. Moses was visiting the Centre when noticed the group on the artists’ studio. Fortunately there was one spot out there and he or she was in a position to be a part of because of her Gwich’in First Nation sponsoring her. (Sissi De Flaviis/CBC)
Posing the finished hats after the workshop
The week-long workshop ended on Monday July 25, a day earlier than beforehand anticipated. The 9 individuals and Grant celebrated with a brief photoshoot session exterior of the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre. (Sissi De Flaviis/CBC)

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