lisa hageman

About Yelth Koo / Raven's Tail Weaving

Nations world-wide traded from the earliest times. Indigenous nations on the Pacific Coast traded berries for eulichon fish oil, seaweed for mountain goat wool, canoes for copper, for example. I believe that the robes created by Weavers along the coast were highly-valued and traded in generations past. It is my personal belief that through trade, intermarriage and exploration, new inspiration would have been instilled in artists after exposure to the creations of other nations or tribes. As a weaver and having an avid interest in textiles of all nations, I have explored weavings both by physical examination and by way of the written documentation and photography. I have spent many years becoming solidly grounded in the guidelines of Raven's Tail Weaving so that my foundation of artistic expression might be strong. It is only by being knowledgeable of the fundamental principles and cultural dictates of my chosen art form that I believe that I might venture into new expressions of my weaving and expand the known horizon of Yelth Koo. It is my personal belief that while it is important to be appropriately respectful of the masterfully created art of the past generations, it is equally important to acknowledge that people are not static. Thus art can reflect ancestral precepts but also reflect new change and innovation.

Weavers create because
we are compelled to.
Hand in hand with my commitment to Raven's Tail Weaving is my commitment to drawing attention to this art form specifically and to the art of weaving in general and thus hopefully educate people in the process. Women who weave could never be paid nearly enough for their creations to be commensurate with their time. Weavers create because we are compelled to. Weaving is also usually a solitary undertaking. Weaving is usually done in living rooms, kitchens or studios while alone and quiet. Only once a weaving is finished is it seen publicly. This is in direct contrast to the built-in publicity that most North Pacific Coastal totem pole carvers and canoe makers have by virtue of the scale and public location of their creations and thus they have an already educated audience in regards to the laborious nature of their art. The high price associated with these art forms is not questioned. I have experienced a great ignorance displayed in many people's response to the pricing of Raven's Tail Weaving. I come from a family of weavers who solely weave in order to make a living. I wove the Hageman-7idansuu Robe predominantly in public in order to educate people. After beginning the robe in a family longhouse, I moved my weaving frame and the robe to the museum at Kaay'Llnagaay and wove in the Welcome House for the next four summer months. Though behind a cordon to prevent the natural inclination of the curious to touch the weaving, visitors were free to sit and watch and ask questions. I adapted to being able to respond with respect to some rather naive questions while keeping the pattern in my mind and continuing to weave. It was very interesting to note that the meditative, peaceful state that I can experience while weaving was often experienced by the onlookers. Many tourists and locals returned repeatedly if able in order to watch the progress of the robe and to offer the kindest encouragement. It made the robe feel like a community effort for the weaving can be arduous physically and mentally. The encouragement was uplifting. I weave standing so it was often a relief to sit and converse with those who expressed the most interest in learning more. It was repeated on numerous occasions that people had had no idea as to the hours involved in creating a weaving. People who came to commission pieces no longer questioned the price and better understood weaving as an Art.

Yelth Koo or Raven's Tail Weaving was held in the highest regard due to the painstaking nature of its creation. It denoted that its wearer was a person held in the highest of rank, respect and cultural importance.