Journal

Kindred Artists of the Week: Lily Hope and Ricky Tagaban

“I love that the things I make will have their own life once they go out into the world.”

Presenting our Kindred Artist of the Week series! We are big fans of all the artists we work with and we are so excited to share their stories!

This week’s featured artists are a powerful pair of skilled weavers, Lily Hope and Ricky Tagaban, who will be block printing Chilkat designs at our First Friday party!

Who are you?

Lily Hope (Tlingit) Raven T’akdeintaan clan. I’m a mother of five and full time Creative.

What do you do?

I weave Chilkat robes, teach weaving classes, mentor apprentices, write and perform poetry, tell indigenous stories professionally, and facilitate monumental collaborative weaving projects. 

Who/what inspires you?

I’m inspired by mothers who understand the urgency to create art in our few free hours, and I’m inspired by artists who go full-bore into their work. Like Amy Meissner, Alaskan textile artist, and Rothko, Pollock, and Bearden. I’m also inspired by my textile teachers who maintained the integrity of technical and spiritual skills in Chilkat weaving, like Kay Parker and my late mother, Clarissa Rizal. That’s the whole thing. How do I dive fiercely into the art and maintain the integrity of 400-year old techniques, while simultaneously balancing creative hours and parenting. Letting them all feed the art making. 

What’s your favorite moment in the process?

My favorite moment in the process is two-fold: the initial mind creation of a new work, helping it simply gestate, and then the final outcome of that art-being now existing in the world. People say I’m a natural born mother. Maybe. I birth and raise children, and I birth large artistic projects. All who will eventually thrive without me. This is the heart work, and the greatest lesson in allowing. 

What’s a trick of your trade, or a piece of advice for other artists in your medium?

For any artists working in indigenous textiles or performance art, or ANY medium, I’d say identify and follow your strengths. Find the few things that spark joy in you, that fill your love tank, and practice those. Practice those daily. The universe will support you. 

What’s next?

What’s next!? A top secret project being released in June. And spearheading a collaborative Giving Strength Robe for the AWARE shelter here in Juneau, assembling the works of over 60 contributing weavers. And a second Chilkat robe to be completed by September this year. You know, like any artist, I’m cramming the good work into a life already rich in love and family.

Who are you?

I recently dreamt about a powder pink Polaroid camera that produced black & white photographs. Whoever posed for a photo had their ancestors standing behind them. My ancestors are Métis, Belgian, Italian, Spanish, Filipino, and Tlingit. I'm L'uknax.ádi from Diginaa Hit, and Wooshkeetaan yadi from Xéitl Hit.

What do you do?

I mostly do Chilkat weaving. I also super love Tlingit beadwork. I perform in drag and fish and scour thrift stores for kites.

Who/what inspires you?

My drag mom and close friend Gigi Monroe/James Hoagland. Lily Hope, BIG TIME. Nina Simone. Sidney Poitier. Daaljíni, Khaaswóot, Clarissa Rizal, Della Cheney, Ed Kunz Jr.

What’s your favorite moment in the process?

I love not knowing what a piece will look like but I start weaving anyhow. I also love that the things I make will have their own life once they go out into the world.

What’s a trick of your trade, or a piece of advice for other artists in your medium?

Do your art every single day, especially if you don't feel like it. Be kind to yourself.

What’s next?

My biggest dream is to eventually only spin & weave mountain goat wool.

See some of Ricky's incredible work here.

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