EXHIBITION:Tradition Keepers: A Women’s Exhibition
This beautiful basket is called “Transition” because Deborah Head has been weaving with Red and Yellow Cedar over her career of teaching, weaving, and honoring her culture and traditions. She is both Tlingit and Haida, so working with cedar was from her Haida side. When she starting learning the Tlingit Spruce Root Style, she can’t explain it, but her hands just knew what to do. Like many artists who pick up the culture of their ancestors, they are always with us and live on through the process. It is known that the Tlingit Spruce Root Weaving is an endangered art form. People are not harvesting the spruce roots like they once did and the teachers who passed down the traditions to their daughters, nieces, granddaughters, etc. are slowly becoming fewer and fewer. Deborah is humble when she says that she is still learning, as she is already a master weaver. She is the epitome of a Tradition Keeper. She is a master weaver who learns from master weavers. She apprentices under those who can share their wisdom, techniques, and the old ways. Deborah is actively getting out around the islands to harvest, prepare, and share the resources with other weavers who will keep the knowledge, the traditions, and spirit of the ancestors alive.
This basket was created in a Button Robe Bowl style. By learning her Tlingit Spruce Root Weaving style she is empowered to keep this revival of language, song, spruce root basketry alive and thriving. We are honored to share the works by this master weaver, Deborah Head.