By: Suzanne Yabsley
In costal Native culture, textile arts are women’s arts. For centuries skills have been handed down through generations of mothers and daughters in such a subtle, selfless way that only the artistry itself recalls the nameless artists. Today this crucial transfer of knowledge is in danger of becoming equally obscure, as decades of social upheaval and rapidly changing lifestyles have all but stopped the flow. Not many young women know how to make button blankets now. But Dorothy Grant and others are working to maintain the continuity and quality of this textile heritage. Older women artists are receiving recognition through exhibits and their skills are being sought after and studied. It is hoped that this effort will be successful. The extinction of so splendid a traditional artform as the button blanket would be a loss indeed.