Ursala Hudson is a weaver, printmaker, painter, photographer and writer and is of Caucasian, Filipino and Alaska Native descent. She says her upbringing in Tlingit culture and traditions in tandem with the dominant Western society have cultivated her interrelated worldview and esoteric philosophies on life and art-making. She oftentimes finds herself in cross dialogue with schools of thought and aesthetic preferences, provoking further inquiry and driving the creative process.
After a career in freelance graphic design, Hudson began a fiber-art practice centered around Indigenous couture fashion designs that draw from the calculated, bold, and innovative practices of her digital art background. She primarily works in the hand-twining wool-around-wool artform of Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving styles from her ancestral homeland in southeast Alaska. Hudson has come to find that weaving ceremonial regalia offers her a voice to uplift her communities and reclaim sovereignty in an Indigenous future. The materials, designs, patterns, finishing techniques, and sources of inspiration expand a narrative of Tlingit interaction with the landscape and outside cultures.
For Hudson’s LIFT project, she will weave a full collection of regalia, with each piece crafted according to the techniques, customs, design principles, and spiritual practices of Northwest Coast Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving. Non-traditional treatments and techniques such as basketry twining, crochet, and tailoring, as well as materials such as feathers, flax fibers, and metal beads will be used as accents. In addition, the design will revolve around and accentuate the way “modern women” wear clothing, as a relatively new convention in Alaska Native art. The full collection of garments will be created to empower and uplift the contemporary Indigenous Woman.
In a time when our indigenous sovereignty has been greatly challenged, with a patriarchal social structure repeatedly reinforced, we must find ways to reintroduce a reverence for matriarchal contributions.
—Ursala Hudson (Tlingit)