We Are the Ocean [ Ensemble ]
Merino wool, silk, cedar bark, Ravenstail- and Chilkat-inspired 52″ ceremonial regalia ensemble, 2021.
We Are the Ocean is an ensemble comprised of a collar, apron (entitled Tidal), and shawl (entitled Woman as a Wave). The collar and bottom edge of the shawl are twined using a basketry technique to bring delicacy to the regalia, made specifically to emphasize the wearer’s feminine essence. In place of the sea otter fur that traditionally lines the top of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavings, the merino weft yarns were used to crochet the collar and shawl’s neck lines, bringing forward and incorporating a European craft practiced by both my maternal (Tlingit/Filipino) and paternal (German) grandmothers. The high neck of the collar gives tribute to the Western aesthetics that have forever influenced the indigenous cultures of our lands; with grace, we embrace that which cannot be undone, and use our new form to be better. The apron’s pattern was studied and graphed from an old Tlingit cedar bark basket, and represents the tides of our lives, as our lessons continue to arise in a revolving cycle, yet made of new debris. The repetitive pattern of the shawl represents the infinite connectedness of our sisters, mothers, aunties, and daughters. Blue lines break up inverted rows, representing the “past”, “present”, and “future”, acknowledging these concepts as irrelevant constructs that fall away when we commune with the Divine. The entire ensemble is worn to evoke the innate spirit of the Woman as an ethereal deity, that resides within us all.
Crochet, basketry twining, mother of pearl, leather, steel cones.
Photography by Kahlil Hudson