MEGHANN O’BRIEN (JAAD KUUJUS)
Meghann O’Brien (b. 1982) is a Northwest Coast weaver from the community of Alert Bay, BC. Her innovative approach to the traditional art forms of basketry, Yeil Koowu (Raven’s Tail) andNaaxiin (Chilkat) textiles connects to the rhythms and patterns of the natural world, and creates a continuity between herself and her ancestors. O’Brien, who left the field of professional snowboarding to work fulltime as a weaver in 2010, employs materials such as hand-spun mountain goat wool and cedar bark in her meticulous weavings and baskets. She has apprenticed with master weavers Kerri Dick, Sherri Dick, and William White. Meghann now lives in Vancouver, B.C, and is currently exploring the intersection of Indigenous materials and techniques with the world of fashion.She travels globally to lecture and demonstrate, yet emphasizes the value of contributing to the contemporary ceremonial practices of the Haida and Kwakwaka’wakw people.
Weaving opens me to understanding the world in a way that transcends western perception. The process of making an object connects to the nature of transformation and knowledge stored in the land. While working, which is a form of meditation, time and space have the potential to expand and contract into all moments, and in this space linear time dissolves. I articulate these connections through weavings that are a living extension of the natural world, expressing the ethos of pre-contact culture. In personal metaphor, I see weaving as a microcosmic representation of the whole, embodying the cyclical nature of Indigenous worldview and our place in the cosmos. A shift in worldview may not change the world directly, but in the act of changing how we see, there is the potential to engage with the everyday in new ways.