swəw̓q̓ʷaʔɬ (Blanket)

About this object

History of use

The Musqueam, and other Coast Salish peoples, come from a long tradition of weaving. Although contemporary weavers weave for a variety of reasons, several of the weavers at Musqueam have expressed that their weaving enables them to connect with their ancestors and at the same time leave a cultural legacy for future generations. Many weave primarily for personal use and for gifts to family and friends, while others weave as a profession and sell their work to art dealers and museums. In recent years, Musqueam weavers have also received commissions from large corporations, such as Paramount Studios and the Vancouver Airport.

Cultural context

contemporary art; weaving

Specific techniques

Made with s-spun wool. Synthetic and natural dyes used. Blue and pink wool achieved with synthetic dyes, red brown colour achieved by dyeing naturally grey wool with madder root. Reverse warping produces an end product with looped warp yarns and a flat, rectangular appearance. Weaving is done with double strand twining, sometimes around two rather than one warp at a time. Twill weave (over two, under two) produces chevron shapes. Discontinuous wefts used to create zigzags and other design features.

Physical description

Blanket made with s-spun wool. Synthetic and natural dyes used to obtain pink, blue and a red brown colour. The latter was obtained by dyeing grey wool with madder root. Reverse warping produces looped warps at both ends, warps are white. Double strand twining in red brown is followed by twill weave in grey (over two, under two). Several rows of twining in red brown followed by rows of pink, then twill weave in white. Double strand twining in pink follows. The centre of the blanket features a geometric design made up of pink and dark brown triangles on a white background with a blue hourglass shape in the centre. Grey vertical columns border the design on each side; these have blue zigzags down the centre of them. Below the central design panel twining alternates white and pink, but around two rather than one warp at a time. This is followed by twining which alternates grey and white, around one warp at a time. Then the larger pink and white pattern repeats. Another band of twill weave in white follows, then a longer looped fringe. The fringe is unusual, in three places there are sets of three dark brown triangles stacked vertically. They are twined over fourteen warp yarns. A heavy grey canvas-like fabric is stitched onto the backs of these panels with black thread.