Beautiful object of my affection…Dee came down the stairs carrying this beautiful denim jacket and handed it over to me. A gift! From the heart! Embellished with many little mother-of-pearl buttons and tiny blue beads…and shades of blue embroidery cotton. I was so stunned, I forgot to cry. It’s a common thing that when one receives a gift, one thinks immediately, “I am not worthy.” This is the tune that played on that evening, being passed this lovely home made gift.
Within certain cultures, these button embellishments hold a very important sense of being…belonging…being a part of. I feel more connected to Dee, as a friend, because she made this with her hands.
Native culture is not a sedentary culture, it ebbs and flows as Mother Earth ebbs and flows. Therefore, regalia reflects those changes. For example, the Pacific Northwest Coast people such as the Tsimshian, abandoned their traditional pre-European contact regalia, softened cedar capes (we kept the conical hats, as well as the Chilkat blanket) in favour of using capes made from European trade items, such as Hudson Bay Blankets edged with blue duffle, and/or red stroud and white mother-of-pearl buttons. As the buttons became more prolific, so did the designs.
Button Blankets are unique to the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. They are a post-European garment that was borne out of trading for Hudson Bay Blankets. Initially the buttons were sparsely sewed on, but as they became more and more available, the designs became more and more elaborate. Nowadays, the blanket is made out of blue or black duffle, and trimmed in red with a heavy felt-like material.
I am grateful for Dee Howse. I’m grateful that she has come into my life. I will always treasure her wit, sentiment, belief in family, willingness to let go, her artistic capabilities and her words. I will always treasure this jacket and wear it with love. I want to create a book with you! Dee’s wordzzzz….
SweeeetDreamzzz … TillSunBeamzzzFindYou ….