Originating from the Gitxsan, the Chilkat robe is now created by the Tsimshian, Haida, Tlingit and Gitxsan peoples. These robes made it to other nations via trade and marriage. The original robes were made from approximately 8 pounds of goat fur which was then hand rolled with cedar. This created a sturdy garment that would prove to last generation upon generation. Each robe can take about 9 months to 2.5 years to make. Today, the Chilkat and Ravenstail weaver number below 50 and this is an art that is at risk of becoming extinct.
There is no real definition as to how the artist came up with the forms in this art. I personally studied many robes to try to get a feel for the form and the flow of the art. This is the result. This is my homage to an artform that is so very beautiful and to the weavers of today who have taken on this lifelong journey.
This design is called Wihl Buun. Wihl Buun is my ancestral name and translates to the 'Splash made by the Whales's tail as it hits the ocean surface'. Wihl Buun is also my ancestral name. The model is wearing the draped kimono with a 4" white fringe.