As a respected artist and elder, Barb Marchand had long had an interest in the history of her ancestors, their traditional language and the legends which connected her to the landscape and its inhabitants. This has led her to immerse herself in the study of the traditional Syilx language in an effort to gain a better understanding of the stories and history of the Okanagan First Nations people and in doing so, also her own history.
Fall 2019, Barb will engage Sqilxw Apna members and community participants in harvest, preparation and material making workshops for the creation of weaving fibres and paper. She will discuss her marsh arts practice as a contemporary Indigenous material maker. Elders, adults and students alike will benefit from the enthusiasm Barb has for the marsh and the functional materials that come from it.
Working with cattails has been a part of Barb Marchand’s practice as a cultural artist since she was a young woman asking elders questions about material. Marchand grew her practice as set designer and costumer at Senklip Native Theatre in the late 80’s when she moved from tule’s to cattails because she discovered their versatility. Barb weaves, shreds, boils and mashes cattails to create amazing sculptural masks, headbands and mats. Barb and her assistants will walk participants through her harvesting process, teaching protocols for engaging property owners and harvest offerings.
The time between harvest and creation has to include a minimum six weeks to dry the material therefore workshops will not focus on creation only but harvest as well. People generally don’t compute how much time it takes to gather and harvest natural materials for large groups. These workshops will not be geared to accommodating several large groups of schools but rather small groups of students who are committed to learning how to work with natural fibres from start to completion and hopefully gain new respect for the wetlands while teaching others their new skills and protocols for respectful engagement.
See more of Barbs work here Barb P. Marchand