Meghann O’Brien, Vancouver, Canada
Meghann O’Brien lives in British Columbia, where she creates miniature baskets made of yellow cedar bark, and textiles in the Ravens Tail and Chilkat style traditions. Her journey to become a weaver started in 2007 with a strict traditional apprenticeship with the weavers Kerri Dick, Sherri Dick, and William White. In her work she explores notions of time, space, genetic identity, and the true meanings and origins of Northwest Coast art. Her work also explores the notion of weaving as a gift from the plant and animal spirits, rather than an object or form conceived of by the human mind. The weaving art forms that she and her mentors work with are ancient practices developed by their ancestors from the northern section of the British Columbia coastline. Indigenous peoples created textiles with these techniques, and used the resulting garments as ceremonial regalia that were worn by high ranking chiefs and matriarchs amongst the Haida and Kwakwaka’wakw. The techniques used to create them are unique in the world of weaving, especially with Chilkat. Chilkat weaving is an incredibly complex weaving technique. It is unique in that the artist can create curvilinear and circular forms within the weave itself. A Chilkat blanket can take a year to weave.