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Friday, November 30, 2012

New Northwest Native Art Gallery Opens Just in Time for the Holidays

Handmade Native American cedar and
button blanket ornaments make a
wonderful addition to a holiday tree
at Coast Salish Creations
(Photo: Paul Niemi)
I'm never one to let the holidays make me crazy.  My family gave up gift giving years ago, so we could focus on the real meaning--the religious and sentimental aspects--of the holidays.  Recently, a new career job came my way, and I am very blessed to have it. I couldn't be more excited about it because it gives me the opportunity to reach a wider scope of people in a way I never have before.  It has made me "mad" busy, but that's okay!
No matter how busy things seem to be, I always have time to learn more about Native American art--reading, collecting and hitting every new art gallery that hits the scene.  Usually, I have to travel 90 miles south to Seattle or 50 miles north to Vancouver to find quality Native art.  The search in my own backyard is over since SiLowLeetSa (Doralee Sanchez), a master weaver, artist and educator from the Lummi Nation near Bellingham, Washington is opening her own new gallery in a wonderful location with easy access for visitors!
Coast Salish Creations, located at 424 W. Bakerview Road (near Northwest Avenue) will have its Grand Opening on Saturday, December 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.   The day will be filled with music, free frybread, art demonstrations and a contemporary fashion show with gorgeous designs by Althea Wilson. Sanchez, who has been making art her entire life is thrilled that she has finally arrived at the point in her life where she can fulfill her dream of opening an art gallery.  Years of work, schlepping her stuff from show to show, selling at Pike Place Market on Seattle's waterfront finally caught up with her and she decided she wanted a place, close to home, close to family and her people where she could set down her load (and vast inventory!) to make art full-time.
Sanchez, who comes from long line of Lummi artists, represents the work of 21 people from mostly the Lummi and Nooksack Nations.  She hopes to add more art from other Northwest tribes. Her passion is educating both Native and non-Native people about the value and beauty of tribal art and wants people to know the "gifts" that regularly come out of the Lummi Reservation. 
Handsewn pouches made from wool
Pendleton blankets and Lummi cedar baskets
are a few holiday gift items at
Coast Salish Creations
Speaking of gifts, if you are holiday shopping soon and want something truly unique, the gallery offers many items from $5 up into the thousands.  My personal favorites are the sweet and impeccably-made miniature Lummi baskets, small zipper pouches that Sanchez sews herself from wool Pendleton blankets, beautifully made woven cedar and button blanket tree ornaments, as well as woven cedar hats by artists such as Ethel Warbus.  One even comes with its own woven mannequin head for just under $700!
Coast Salish Creations will offer classes in various disciplines, including basket and hat weaving on an ongoing basis.   Sanchez's goal is to open the gallery up to young people to nurture their abilities, spark new ones and teach them that their utilitarian "art" has value and much beauty to the world beyond the reservation.

Watch a video about the Grand Opening of Coast Salish Creations HERE:


1 comment:

david neel said...

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