Lois Chichinoff Thadei

Lois Chichinoff Thadei

Weaving is the core of my creative expression. Guided by ancient hands and echoes of voices recently passed, I manipulate materials – the pieces determine their own dimension and form. I offer only the hands, while others are the heart and soul of my work.

                                                                                    -Lois Chichinoff Thadei

Lois Chichinoff Thadei is Aleut, born into a Tlingit and Haida community in Southeast Alaska, and an original voting shareholder in Sealaska Corporation (Juneau). She is a part of the 4th generation of Aleut artists displaced from the now- depopulated community on Unga Island in the Aleutian Chain.

Chichinoff Thadei’s family is brimming with artists: her father, Louis Thadei, Jr., was a self-taught collagist; her aunt, Johanna Chichinoff Paddock Snyder, was a designer and skin sewer; her brother—Fred Lauth—is a cedar carver.

Chichinoff Thadei’s woven work is dependent on the seasonal cycles, when different materials become available in nature: winter is for weaving Ravenstail from cedar bark and grasses, and firing pottery in her home studio. Summers are spent curing grasses in the traditional method, as well as firing raku and hand building pottery.  The grasses– Scripus Americanus and Elymus Mollis—are harvested with the aid of apprentices or fellow weavers from the ecologically fragile series of bird resting sites between Cook Inlet in Alaska and California. Each site is part of the great Pacific coast migratory flyway and part of the artist’s migration as an Aleut woman harvesting grasses.  Weaving materials are harvested based upon how much can be taken, given the growing conditions.  The weavings made from these grasses honor her Aleut heritage while displaying appreciation of these indigenous wild materials.

Her paintings and prints are inspired by the Alaskan landscape, ecosystems and animal life.

Lois has recently been working in copper to make her “Ring of Fire” jewelry series, and other series.