Weavers from throughout San Juan Island and Washington State will gather for the weekend to demonstrate how European and American Indian techniques melded to create woven objects and clothing unique to the Pacific Northwest.
The free program is scheduled Saturday and Sunday August 4-5 on the English Camp parade ground. A golf cart is available to transport disabled persons to and from the parking area. Call (360) 378-2240, ext. 2233 or 378-4409 for additional special access information.
Cowlitz Nation weaver Judy Bridges and renowned Washington State storyteller Karen Haas will join San Juan Islanders Roger Ellison and Anita Barreca, plus island spinners and weavers to show how it was done with all-natural fibers, including wild reeds.
The program is the fourthin a series ofprograms scheduled this summer that explore First Nations/American Indian stewardship on the San Juan Island environment and throughout the Pacific Northwest, Canada and arctic regions.
Future presenters in the series, co-sponsored by San Juan Island National Historical Park and the Madrona Institute, will include Washington State conservationist Roylene Rides at the Door; Craig Bill of the Washington State Governor's Office of Indian Affairs; and Dave Oreiro, vice president for Campus Development, Northwest Indian College, Lummi Nation. Stay posted to the park's web and Facebook sites for more information.
Weaving is a common element across many cultures from Eurasia to the Americas, Bridges said. The location of a culture determines the type of creations its members will make.
While white settlers used natural resources in some aspects of their lives, American Indian relied almost entirely on what was at hand, especially the cedar tree, known to them as the "tree of life."
Cedar served a purpose in all its forms. The bark could be pounded into cotton for clothing. Some American Indians also wrapped their dead in cedar.
Bridges began weaving because she wanted to pursue an activity that would reflect her native heritage. To her, weaving can be a spiritual experience. Throughout the basket weaving process, Bridges said, there are times when she feels connected to past basket weavers.
"I feel like I'm a part of the long line of people who have done this," she said.
Daub and wattle are building materials used in constructing houses. A woven latticework of wooden stakes called wattles is daubed with a mixture of mud and clay, animal dung and straw to create a structure.Pioneer weaving usually blended European techniques and native materials.
Ellison and Barreca not only will demonstrate these crafts, but will also invite visitors to try their hands. Participants also will have a hands-on opportunity to make and take home their own small crafts projects.