Todd Devries first started weaving in 2001. Since then he has been perfecting his weaving techniques and quickly absorbing techniques from other weavers. Todd, also known as "Giihlgiigaa", his Haida name has been sharing his skills, and teaching other weavers how to master materials of their own choosing in a weaving circle in Vancouver, BC.
"Everything we need to know about weaving, we learn from the spider," Todd says. "You start with 4 warps or strands (the spider’s legs) and weave in a weft strand or weaver, and form the Haida cross, and then weave around the legs of the spider, as a spider would when spinning its own web. Around and around."
When Giihlgiigaa moved to Vancouver, BC in 2010, he started working for a small restaurant as a prep-cook and volunteered to perform a weaving demonstration at Stanley Park’s Northwest Coast Klahowya Village attraction. His work is on display and for sale at the restaurant, Salmon n Bannock. "Cooking and weaving seems to go together," says Giihlgiigaa.
Giihlgiigaa grew up separated from his culture, until in 1996 he reunited with his mother. And then in 2001, he started weaving with Cedar bark. Not until 2005 did he start weaving with the traditional Haida technique, demonstrated to him by Sherri Dick, and his style changed dramatically. In 2010, Giihlgiigaa learned some additional Haida signature techniques from Holly Churchill.
His favorite material is western red cedar bark. Since his vision of the old woman of the forest, and a Haida woman asking him to get her some cedar bark, he has had a different perspective on cedar trees.
At the restaurant, Giihlgiigaa’s hats and wristbands are on display. There are many more creations that could be made and added to the display, including placemats and head bands. Those items seem to be snatched up faster than he can make them.
Giihlgiigaa has noticed the interest people are having in weaving. The interest in sharing weaving techniques, materials, and general events about weaving is really motivating when you have a eager to learn group of weavers.
Also this year, some of the weavers have an interest in field trips to harvest weaving materials, both traditional and invasive plant species. These events will be posted on this blog as dates are firmed up, and more information is available.