A Visit to the Burke

Demonstrating weaving at the Burke Museum on my mother’s full-size robe loom.
This video about the Bill Holm Center features a short clip of Lily and I getting pumped on the observations of an “old” Chilkat robe — but also explains why the Center is so dang awesome! An amazing resource to have as an indigenous person.

Lily and I were fortunate enough to visit the Burke Museum in Seattle, Washington in place of our mother, whom was awarded a research grant from the Bill Holm Center before her passing.

We also offered to demonstrate weaving Ravenstail and Chilkat on two separate days, and gave two lectures on basic history and current practices of traditional and contemporary Northwest Coast textile weaving.

The staff at the Bill Holm Center was amazing to work with during our visit — Haliehana Stepetin (Unangax) and Justin McCarthy (Yup’ik & Tlingit) assisted us in viewing anything in the [massive] collections that our hearts desired, shared findings and speculations from other artists and anthropologists that had visited before us, and inspired us in new ways with their own creative thought-processes and personalities. We shared long conversations and drives with Katie Bunn-Marcuse (Center Director) and Bridget Johnson (Assistant Director), who were mainly tasked with organizing our stay and making us welcome… but I think we were having much more fun with them than either of us had anticipated.

Helen Carlson and John Nicholson from The Legacy Ltd gallery picked us up from the airport and shuttled us around during our brief 4-day trip. I sure hope it’s not the last time we get to see them.

Chilkat weaving templates
Insanely large Tlingit spruce root baskets in the Burke collections
A small Chilkat apron with the cutest faces and most perfect circles, by Evelyn Vanderhoop. In the Burke Museum collections.
Intricate Chilkat ceremonial weaving (photographed upside-down) with puffin beaks. This was at one point a single woven, and then cut into two pieces to wear as leggings. Around a hundred years old; in the collections at the Burke.
My sister Lily, inspecting a perfect Chilkat nose on the front of an old tunic. Back is pictured below.

The entire experience was exhilarating… from visiting with the works of our ancestors to eating delicious Pho in the University District, being tended to by an generous crew of individuals to being humbled by the amount of knowledge we’ll never grow to old enough to learn… I am filled with immense gratitude and everlasting inspiration.

(L to R) Lily Hope, Bill Holm, Ursala Hudson
(L to R) Lily Hope, Justin McCarthy, Ursala Hudson, Bridget Johnson