2021 Artists in Residence

Down from the Mountains: into the city

Cease Wyss and Jolene Andrew join Sharon Kallis in asking the following questions through a journey of connecting to our own ancestral cloth traditions.

How do the plants and fibres define a culture? A place? 

What are the similar teachings being reciprocated between two culturally distinct styles in weaving and other Indigenous technologies and design?

How do we identify the proper relationship to the land where we stand when we come from somewhere else?

 How do we inspire respect and awareness of our kinship to the plants and animals with whom we share this place?

And how – when our ancestors have come from afar – can we be local-focused makers and be good allies in supporting waking sleeping knowledge for Indigenous peers?

Jolene Andrew and Cease Wyss embark on a learning journey, learning about traditions in making ceremonial and functional everyday items from yellow cedar and mountain goat, and other elements from the respective territories and teachings. 

What they learn through the year influences and shapes the direction for community research and participatory events hosted by EartHand Gleaners both virtually  and  in two urban educational learning gardens. 

Collectively we wish to unpack how  allies can make space for traditional knowledge transfer and cultural development in community – so that all people in community can benefit from the teachings. We need to all understand the importance of autonomy and knowledge sharing to foremostly centre, respect,  and uphold knowledge to belong to the Indigenous community members, and benefit the community the most when it comes to sharing traditional knowledge.

A combination of online zoom talks/demonstrations and in-person park time will be shaped based on pandemic response  requirements.

Jolene Andrew is Gitksan Witsuwiten and has worked with The Urban Indigenous Community in the Lower Mainland for 18 years. Her specialization is in strategizing to build resilient communities through Indigenous approaches.  Community and systems engagement, community planning and designing initiatives, and organizational development are some of the ways she works in community.  She is also an artist and has a passion for land based practices to promote health and culture.

T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss is an ethnobotanist, media artist, educator, and activist of Skwxwu7mesh/Stó:lō/ Hawaiian/Swiss ancestry. She has been traditionally trained by Indigenous knowledge keepers and Elders. She has been a practicing media artist for over 25 years, producing work nationally and internationally.

Much of this residency will unfold in quiet ways; giving space for the personal work as required and also due to pandemic limitations on public gathering. Here is outline of what we expect to unfold.

Spring: Goat & Cedar, Willow & Wool

Fibre gathering and processing time.

 Cease and Jolene  with Tsawaysia Spukwus working with yellow cedar and goat wool,  gathered from molting mountain goats. Deepening knowledge base on pounding cedar and separating fibres, preparing goat wool for spinning. 

Appropriate moments for community learning through  labour assistance may be found.

Working with willow bark and local sheep fleece, these locally available materials from Barnston Island and Means of Production garden are explored as parallel urban-access fibres.

 Begin the steps for Willow harvested and processed by community members blended with wool in processing and weaving methods similar to the cedar and wool.

~A virtual artists talk will be scheduled in late April to talk about the project

Summer: Spinning it together-, seed fluff: fireweed, dogbane

Focusing on trillium fibre bed that grows dogbane and fireweed, a series of artists research time on site and sharing of experience with the public through spinning fibres.

Public events may include: a fireweed fluff sorting and spinning celebration, stewardship sessions of fibre beds, and plant walks of both Trillium and Means of Production.

Fall: Weaving Our Threads 

Cease and Jolene focus on the regalia they are each making for their family at this time and where appropriate that experience is shared with the community in whichever ways are feasible.

Fall Public events may include a final virtual artists talk and a series of virtual and live weaving classes and/demonstrations offered as both registered paid programming and as free online or in person demonstrations in the learning gardens.

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