Hope area artist Tanya Zilinski was recently asked to design a book cover for a book about a residential school.
Zilinski, an Anishinaabe artist who lives on the Chawathil reserve, specializes in loom beadwork.
The book she was commissioned to work on is the 30th anniversary edition of ‘My Name is Seepeetza’ by Shirley Sterling. Sterling died in 2005. When her book was first published in 1992, she wanted to have beaded fireweeds on the cover. The purple flowers meant a lot to her, and in her book she talks about how the purple blooms greeted her when she returned to her home each summer.
In 1992 no one could be found to do the beading, so the original cover went without.
“So this is fulfilling Shirley’s wishes,” Zilinski said. “I felt very honored to be asked to design and create a cover for such a very important book about residential schools.”
Zilinski also designed it with a pre-contact Nlaka’pamux basket design, represented in the pink and beige beads. Sterling is of the Nlaka’pamux Nation.
“I felt very good about the planning,” she said. “I had come up with three different designs for Groundwood Books to choose from and I graph and design everything on paper with no help from a computer. They really liked all three designs, but ultimately chose that particular one because they said they liked how dramatic it looked. They absolutely loved the final beadwork I sent them.”
– Zilinski has a handful of appearances coming up at the Ranger Station Art Gallery on Rockwell Drive in Harrison.
An exhibition of her work, titled S’iwes te Siyelyolexwalh, will be held April 2 to May 1, and Zilinski will be on site April 9 to 11, from 12 to 4 p.m. for a ‘pop up artist residency.’
On April 10 she’ll be holding a beadwork workshop from 1 to 4 p.m.
Space is limited to eight for that class and anyone who is interested can register by email before April 3 at email@example.com
The class is free for Kent Harrison Arts Council members and $20 for non-members.
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