Aug 072014

Thomas Cannell, Thunder Mountain, 2009 Photo: Janet Dwyer

At The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford British Columbia, near Vancouver, a new exhibition of First Nations prints by fourteen Coast Salish artists runs until September 7, 2014.

Record, (Re)create: Contemporary Coast Salish Art from the Salish Weave Collection. The show, organized by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, presents works from a private collection in a diverse range of traditional and contemporary media and techniques.


A model of the future Audain Museum of Art, now under construction in Whistler

The former director of The Reach in Abbotsford is now the director of the Audain Art Museum in Whistler. The building is expected to open in 2015.

Apr 142014

Weaving by Robyn Sparrow, Krista Point and Debra Sparrow Marpole Safeway on Granville Street, Vancouver Photo: Ann Cameron

A retail and condo development at Granville Street and by Westbank Developments has showcased the fine weavings of Musqueam artists Robyn Sparrow, Krista Point and Debra Sparrow as part of the Safeway façade on Granville Street at 70th Avenue.

Debra Sparrow says in her artist’s statement: “I am honoured to exhibit my weavings in this space; a space where my ancestors, the Musqueam of the Coast Salish, have lived since the beginning of time. Not far from here, along the Fraser River, we gathered our supply of salmon; today we gather here to buy it.”

Other art works have been commissioned for the large site from Susan Point and Thomas and Kelly Cannell.


Apr 142014

Wearing the Star Blanket, Meghan O’Brien with her artist sister Avis Photo: Ann Cameron


At the Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver, Meghann O’Brien’s Star Blanket was presented to the public in March in a program devised by artist and Chief Beau Dick.

An interview with Meghann O’Brien about her work was aired on CBC Radio One, and can be heard at

Mar 042012
Diane Willard, Berry Picking Basket with Lightning Design

Diane Willard, Berry Picking Basket with Lightning Design

In Seattle, the Stonington Gallery is exhibiting Weave: Contemporary Northwest Coast Weavers. Among the artists are Chief Janice George, Isabel Rorick, Debra Sparrow and Haida artist Diane Willard.

A weaving demonstration will take place on Sunday, March 11 at 2 pm.

The show continues until March 30 2011.

Feb 092012
Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler has a program of on site artists working in the Centre’s Great Hall every Sunday in February. Weaver Allison Burns teaching Squamish Nation traditional wool weaving on February 5, Holly Joseph creating Lil’wat Nation Regalia on February 12, Aaron Nelson-Moody with Squamish Nation Repousse Copper Design on the 19, and Heather and Richard Ashley Joseph teaching pine needle basket weaving on February 26th.

For more information see

Dec 072011
Fido fleece. A painting from the 1840s or '50s shows a Salish woolly dog.

Fido fleece. A painting from the 1840s or '50s shows a Salish woolly dog.

A recent article in the journal Antiquity, reported online in Past Horizons, adventures in archaeology, recounts the results of scientific studies at the University of York in England on the historic textiles of the Coast Salish First Nations. The protein composition of 25 samples of yarn was examined to determine their animal source. Samples were taken from eleven textiles in Smithsonian Museums’ collections. The results mostly confirm the Coast Salish oral tradition about the use in weaving of the hair of the wool dog. The textiles examined showed that wool dog hair mixed with goat wool was used in everyday textiles, with goat hair alone used in ceremonial textiles. None of the examined blankets was made solely of dog hair.

Research head Dr. Caroline Solazzo stated that the Salish peoples’ practice of “raising dogs for fibre production was a unique cultural adaptation.” For centuries the white wool dog was bred and raised separately from the short-haired working dogs. With closer European contact from the mid-nineteenth century, the wool breed was lost to interbreeding by 1940.

Contemporary and historical Salish weaving can be viewed at Vancouver’s Museum of Anthropology, and other museums. Don’t forget to look in the storage drawers at MOA, under the Salish displays. For more information and references, see

Oct 092011

 At Whistler’s Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, an exhibition Weaving Wisdom opens on Friday October 14 2011. “This collection of contemporary and traditional cedar woven pieces is the largest public display of its kind. Weaving is a spiritual process that continues today as a result of the guidance, inspiration, and dedication of many in our Nation.”

On the afternoon of the same day a traditional blessing ceremony for the Chief Mathias Totem recently donated from a private collection.

See The Beat April 2011. For more about the Cultural Centre see

Nov 262010
Debra Sparrow Coast Salish Ceremonial Dress  Commissioned for the 2010 Olympics  Photo: Kenji Nagai

Debra Sparrow Coast Salish Ceremonial Dress Commissioned for the 2010 Olympics Photo: Kenji Nagai

A public program called The Power of Weaving will take place at the Bill Reid Gallery in downtown Vancouver on Saturday, November 6 2010, from 2 to 4 pm. Textile artists Debra and Robyn Sparrow will demonstrate Coast Salish weaving and spinning techniques. Hear about their discoveries of old pieces in various international museums and their journey as contemporary weavers. They will also talk about the symbolic meaning of geometric designs, the mesmerizing effect of the whorl on the spinner, and the power imbued in weaving. This program is included with the cost of admission to the gallery. For information call 604 682 3455.

Nov 242010

John Beard demonstrates Ravenstail weaving. Photo by Jaime Valdez

John Beard demonstrates Ravenstail weaving. Photo by Jaime Valdez

Seattle’s Burke Museum at the University of Washington is holding a weaving demonstration on Friday November 5 to Sunday November 7 2010. Evelyn Vanderhoop will show the Naaxiin technique of weaving in connection with the exhibition Weaving Heritage: Textile Masterpieces from the Burke Collection, at the Burke Museum until February 27 2011.