International Women’s Dayblog
Today we honour and appreciate women around the world. For time immemorial, women have held together our existence through their multifaceted and collective brilliance. On this particular day of celebration, we pay homage to one of the most remarkable and renowned westcoast weavers of our time: Isabel Rorick.
Isabel was born in 1955 and raised in her ancestral home of Old Masset on Haida Gwaii. She comes from a long line of weavers, including her great-grandmother, Isabella Edenshaw; her grandmother, Selina Peratrovich; her mother, Primrose Adams, and her aunt, Delores Churchill. In 1982 Isabel made her first hat under the guidance of her mother and the other astounding women in her life.
Across the diverse range of cultural groups native throughout this continent, there are a number of distinct styles and motifs typically found in basketry. Isabel uses the Haida language of form to incorporate many traditional designs into her baskets and hats. Basketry techniques were also used by women to make mats, cradles, bags and some huge baskets which acted as traps for catching Salmon. All of these served a variety of practical or ceremonial purposes.
Isabel’s work can be found in many private collections, as well as museums, including the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Royal British Columbia, the Vancouver Art Gallery, Seattle Art Museum, New York State Historical Association, and the British Museum in London, England.
In our tribute to Isabel, we recognize all the women throughout history that have nurtured and passed down the traditions of basket weaving. Thank you for your strength, resilience, for your voice and immeasurable, unquantifiable value.