Monday, December 14, 2009

Shareholder Spotlight: Diane Willard Weaves a Legacy of Fine Haida Craftmanship

Diane Douglas-Willard attributes her basket weaving trade as a vehicle not only of self-expression, but also one that has allowed her countless travels and friendships.

Willard, a shareholder rooted in Ketchikan, Alaska learned the art of basket weaving 25 years ago from Delores Churchill, in Hydabyrg. “Nana Elsie used to come sit by me in class and visit Delores in Haida,” says Willard of her early weaving memories.

Now over 20 years later, Diane has participated in numerous events including the highly regarded Santa Fe Indian Market. With over 1200 artists in attendance each year, getting a spot is no easy feat. Artists from all over the country are juried in based on their submissions. As of August, Diane has attended 9 times. Beyond the mere honor of being asked to attend, Diane has won a variety of awards, including a Standards Award last summer for “Upholding the standards of heritage”.

Proficient in a variety of mediums, Diane contributes her knowledge of Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving to the community by teaching at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage. In addition to teaching, Diane manages a gallery in Ketchikan that is owned by Marvin Oliver.

Her art and teaching style reflect the inspiration gained from her family.
“My Husband Larry has been very supportive from the start. He gathers my cedar bark for me! Also my children Gianna and Dustin and my Mom and Dad have been very supportive. Each and every one of them including my Nana have encouraged me all along the way.”

Her Aunt Katherine is also a source of inspiration for her as well as the future generations of weavers.

Keeping herself immersed in her weaving, Diane will be attending the 52nd Annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market in March. Look for her at the table she shares with her sister in law Carol Emarthle- Douglas. “We have a lot of fun!”

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