Indigenous Style Icon of the Week: Dorothy Grant (Haida)
Dorothy Grant was born in Hydaburg, Alaska and grew up in Ketchikan, Alaska. She is a Kaigani Haida of the raven clan from the Brown Bear House of Howkan. Among her family crests are: Two-finned Killer Whale, Shark, Berry Picker in the Moon, Two-headed Raven and Brown Bear.
In 1983 she began sketching Haida art onto clothing. As the idea developed, she was strongly motivated by non-native designers who were incorporating North West Coast native art into their clothing. She felt it was a poor representation of a beautiful art form. She decided to sharpen her design and art skills by attending the Helen Lefeaux School of Fashion Design in Vancouver BC, graduating in 1988.
In 1993 Dorothy Grant won the Best Professional Designer Award at the “Winds of Change” fashion competition held in Toronto. The event was sponsored by the Canada Council for Native Business. As part of the award, Dorothy traveled to France to take part in the Paris fall fashion event “Les Vendanges sur la Montaigne”. Her work was also featured at a special reception at the Canadian Embassy in Paris.
In 1994 Dorothy opened her first retail store in the prestigious Sinclair Centre in Vancouver, BC. In 2008, Ms. Grant moved forward with a 2,500 s.f. studio located in the heart of Vancouver, BC’s SOMA district. To compliment her wearable art, she presented original sand-blasted, hand-blown glass sculptures and ceremonial hats she was inspired to create. The studio also features art from other native artists.
Dorothy has been featured in books Totems to Turquoise: Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest, Haida Art, and Art of the Northwest Coast.
Fired by creative forces, Grant spins the 10,000 year old legends of the Haida into high style, fusing myth into each flawlessly designed and manufactured garment. Drawing from ancient stories, she translates age-old symbols and forms into equally timeless clothing. Her garments, ceremonial button blankets and spruce root hats are treasured by Haidas as expressions of living culture and may be found in art collections and various museums in Canada and the United States.
Posts tagged Textiles.
Rúrí’s 1974 design for a new Icelandic national costume.
Inuk Silis Høegh, The Top of the Iceberg, 2009. Reposting this because I still think it is so cool. Printed fabric and scaffolding turn the edge of Nordatlantens Brygge in Copenhagen - which houses a cultural centre for Northatlantic (Greenlandic, Icelandic, Faroese) arts, the Greenlandic and Faroese Representative Offices, the Icelandic Embassy and was a historic point of trade in Denmark from the outlying regions - into an iceberg. Inuk’s performance/installation Melting Barricades also followed this theme of bringing the Brygge into its own realm and emphasizing separateness of the cultures it represents from Denmark. But while Melting Barricades was militant and asserting a complete breakaway - turning centuries of feeling foreign within one’s own country around to the colonizer - the Iceberg is more peaceful and meditative, as if it drifted into central Copenhagen from the Arctic and carries with it burdens of geographic, climatic and cultural messages but never actively settling on one, and merely prompts viewers to make their own associations.
Kamiks drying in various stages of completion in Sisimiut.
Hildur Bjarnadóttir. A fun discussion of Icelandic craft and its relationship to fine art (much in line with Hannes Lárusson’s practices) - she fixed the antique spinning machine in a farming school in Ólafsdalur that had been unused for 50 years and used it to produce these long johns.
“Færøerne”. Turistforeningen for Danmark, 1951. Edited by Kristjan Bure.
Gardar Eide Einarsson.
Nina Beier. More textiles used like paint this time colourblocked. Especially fun because they are all discarded garments, so discussing memory and utilitarianism and art-in-the-everyday also.
Images from the second Nordic Fashion Biennale in Seattle with the theme of “Looking back to find our future”. These from the Greenlandic brand Inuik are displayed to obviously reflect a major focus of the idea of historicizing Greenland by referencing the Qilakitsoq Mummies. Inuik reinterprets Greenlandic essential outside clothing into minimal sportswear with touches of sealskin and leather.
I finally found the other two pages to this (missing the more recent male half). The evolution of Greenlandic national dress. It changed significantly as Greenlanders moved south after emigrating from Canada across the Davis Strait and polar bear furs were not necessarily in the more relatively mild/varied southern climate. And then from the influence of Europeans. The colourful women’s national dress today started in the mid-1800s when Europeans brought colourful fabrics and beads, and the practical extreme weather clothes of today are often synthetic fabric anoraks - but still with seal kamiks.