Naaxiin Canoe Cape in Progress

Canoe Cape

When I was preparing for The Time Warp, exhibit, I felt that I needed to challenge myself with a garment that would push me beyond my current knowledge. So I came up with a cape that would open in the front and conform to my shoulder shape. I used my knowledge of both the Raven's Tail and Naaxiin techniques. I started it as I did with my tunic. After the heading rows, I needed to add warps immediately and abundantly. Here is where you get away from the exact counts of the raven's tail techniques.  The warps are added to adjust for the form of the neck and upper shoulders, not to the count of a design. I will be adding photos every few days so you can better understand how us naaxiin weavers "draw" with our warp and wefts.
The shoulders, I am adding warps, where rows meet and under three strand braids.

At this point I have done the front and the shoulders. This wave design goes all around the front and back.
Now I want to challenge myself to "draw" a canoe. I have always done the conventional and stylized naaxiin classic designs. This will be my first figurative shape.

At this point I am weaving back and forth and coming in three warps in each time I turn at the outside edges. This creates the upper slopes of the future canoe. I have a drawing at scale of the canoe that I will be "drawing" with the warp and weft.

I am getting close to the final upper shape of the canoe, the bow and stern are similar, but not the same. This upper line had to be adjusted, as the slope went too deep. So I did have to go back and take rows out and get it, "right".
I have completed the white three strand braided twine and then the black three strand braided twine. These rows are essential for smooth lines to the canoe's upper edge.
 The bow is happening by bringing the three strand braid over black and white two strand weaving joins. Every join and turn incorporates the braids. The braids cover the joinery and smooth the line. This tight area clearly illustrates the capabilities of the naaxiin techniques for 'drawing' shapes.

The upper bow is drawn by weaving back and forth with the black two strand wefts within the shape established by the upper white area. The bottom edge of the bow is also being created by moving in every few warps as the weaving moves down. The white side area does not have to be created yet. It can be moved down after the three strand braids finish the lower line of the bow.
The stern needs to be started and brought up to speed with the bow. It is important not to get too far ahead on one side. Our traditional designs are binary and it is always good to stay in balance while weaving the design.
 I have reached the area were the black two strand weaving will go back and forth creating the body of the canoe. The white outside areas also will have to be brought down on the outside of the bow and stern.
The bows lower edge needs to be filled by the white side weaving.
 It is starting to take shape. The three strand braids are being woven as the joins of the black and white areas.
 The black three strand braid and the white three strand braid are woven around the bottom of the canoe.
Another white three strand braid row and then a black three strand braid row was entered to delineate the area that the row of coppers will be woven. On the left side I have started creating the top of a the coppers by creating the black background, going back and work with a black two strand wefts. Notice my place holders. There will be ten coppers.
I want the copper tops to have a curved appearance so I form this curve with the black background top wefts. This is like creating the triangle's in my first naaxiin project. It could also be a start to a row of eyes. The reason I chose to put a row of coppers below the canoe, was to illustrate the story of Chief Edenshaw moving to Massett. Chief Wiah wanted to show him how wealthy and powerful he was while welcoming this chief, so he had people throw coppers before his incoming canoe. He acknowledged the chief, but held his position as head chief of Massett. Later it was witnessed that Chief Edenshaw danced for Chief Wiah later in Wiah's big house.
Now the fun begins, I am adding the three strand braids; black, goldy copper and blue. I want the coppers to be blue because copper and copper containing minerals were used for the blue dye. I also wanted to surround it with a shiny metal thread. The metallic thread was springy and difficult to weave with, I had to handle its tension gently..
Oh what a tangled web we weave. As you can see it gets complicated. Lots of braids mean lots of time attending to them. Naaxiin is not a fast technique no matter how fast a weaver you may be.

The top of the coppers are being created. This is very slow work. All the shapes are being created by starting the black two strand weaving until the blue green shield (not forgetting to bring the braids down vertically) the blue green weavers travel to the next black field is joined and then the black weavers continue to travel left to right to the next copper, etc. Lots of joining, braiding and weaving from the left to the rignt edge. Then I start the next row weaving from the right edge across to the left edge. Whew.
The top of the Copper is delineated with the top of the T. The T was a very special symbol for the Haida. Working the copper properly was essential for the artist. It was the backbone of this very prestigious object. So of coarse I am careful in putting it in with the green and black braids.
To finish the copper bottoms I first go back and forth with the blue/green weavers, coming in one warp every turn.The braids are brought around the bottoms and spliced and brought to the back to end them. Then the black background shapes are woven. This can be done one copper side at a time. Slowly the braids for the coppers finish the bottom edges.
Black, white, white, and black braids finish the black background. Ten coppers line up under the canoe.

No comments:

Post a Comment