Fireweed Case

Photo by Kyra Kordoski

Fireweed Case
Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé (Upper Tanana)
2021
Seed beads, bugle beads, porcupine quills, moose backstrap sinew, melton, cotton fabric, nylon thread, chipboard, adhesive
On loan from the artist

In 2016, I attended a month long artist residency in Sointula on Malcolm Island, British Columbia. While in residence, I gained a greater respect and understanding of the magic that is the Northwest Coast. I was given a handful of feathers, mostly eagle, from a hotel owner on the Island. She had collected them from the beach and held on to them for many years. It is a great honour to receive an eagle feather, let alone several. I, too, held on to the feathers for many years but knew that one day I would present them as gifts once more. After the exhibition is complete, I intend on gifting the feathers.

For this exhibition, I created a series of four feather cases. The feather cases depict Yukon flora. Counter clockwise are: birch, subalpine fir, fireweed, and lupin. The birch tree represents winter and holds the largest eagle feather. I have a special relationship with birch because I use it as a medium. My family has a long history with birch for basket and canoe making. The birch tree is special and therefore I wanted to represent it as the largest and most predominant case holding the tallest of feathers. The subalpine fir represents fall and the familiarity of home. The fireweed represents summer and Mother Earth’s resiliency. And the lupin represents spring and new birth.