A look at the indigenous art in Alaska

Preston Singletary

Interviewee: Preston Singletary
Interviewers: Stacy Chavis, Katelyn Zuray
Date of Interview: 11/13/2020
Location of Interview: Zoom call
Note- This transcript has been edited. The edits were made to remove false starts and vocal fillers. The edits have been made with the intent of making the transcript easier to read, and to make the intentions and meaning of Preston more clear.

Katelyn Zuray
You’ve spoken often about your upbringing in Seattle and your Filipino-Alaskan Native heritage. How was your art influenced by your heritage, your oral traditions and your upbringing?

Preston Singletary
Well, you know I grew up in the Seattle area. It’s sort of outside of the community, from the Tlingit community. And my great grandmother moved down from Sitka in the 20’s and she was widowed and then she remarried a Filipino man, and then moved the entire family down to Seattle. So that’s how I ended up down here. And through the connection with my great grandmother and my grandmother, who was also full-blooded Tlingit, you know, was the connection that I have and felt. I did grow up very urban but then I discovered glassblowing and it was basically, more or less a job to support my music habit, as I like to put it. But then I was trying to look for my own personal style and so then I thought about looking to my cultural background and that’s how I ended up doing what I do.

It’s mostly this mystique about having a 100-year-old great grandmother and she often talked about where we came from. And my aunts were also very, very, involved with the tribal community and the Filipino community. And you know, my great grandmother was recognized by the Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp, to establish one of the camps here in Seattle. At first it wasn’t recognized by the Central Council, but then after time, this being the second most populous area of Tlingit people, outside of Alaska, then they recognized it. So, that was something that, again, the urban experience, you know, definitely spending a lot of time with family, that’s what kind of ingrained that idea in me.

Stacy Chavis
So, I understand you studied glassblowing in Sweden, right? Is that correct?

Preston Singletary
So, to set the record more correct, I guess, I studied and I traveled to Sweden with an Italian master glassblower and we were doing demonstrations in Sweden – well, throughout Scandinavia, Sweden and Finland. And I met a woman there and she became my wife eventually. So, I did go there, and lived for about six months in Sweden. And that was, kind of, trying to convince her that I was the one, and that she should come marry me, and so she did. That was in 1995. I lived there for six months to immerse myself in the Swedish culture, European culture, a little bit. So, when she was finishing up graduate school, I ended up getting a part-time job in the university blowing glass. And what I did was I helped some of the students in the art school, helped them with their glass blowing projects. So, in a sense it was kind of observing the culture of design and glass a little bit, and so yes, studying on my own accord, more or less.

Stacy Chavis
What prompted you to include Tlingit influence? Or was that something you felt from the very beginning?

Preston Singletary
I started actually working in the Tlingit designs in about 1988.

Stacy Chavis
OK.

Preston Singletary
And then it wasn’t really till about ‘98 that I really sort of broke out with it and started to really develop it. But I think also the time I spent in Europe living there for that six-month period, very brief period, it was very interesting because I always thought of myself as something other than just average American – you know, as Tlingit, Filipino, multiethnic – but when I went to Sweden, I felt very American. I felt collectively American.

Stacy Chavis
Right.

Preston Singletary
So, when I came back I really was analyzing this whole thought process about it and I really wanted to…I mean, life got serious and so did I. We got married and I kind of abandoned my musical aspirations as far as it being a career, and then I said I really wanted to understand my own culture more deeply. So, I went about working really hard at it, and finding people who could help me understand it. You know, understand the design system, understand the mythologies around it, and put it in a cultural context. There’s a lot of issues about intellectual property in Alaskan Native culture. So, I had to understand what it is that I was working with, so that was part of the education that I had to seek out.

Stacy Chavis
European influence had an American feel for you. Obviously formline and design has a Native American appeal or background. Does the work itself, therefore, then take any European influence or Swedish influence specifically? How would you describe that?

Preston Singletary
You know, I didn’t go to art school, and I just fell into glassblowing. So, I really was reading about art styles that interested me, it led me to the surrealists and the modernists, and the modernists into the whole genre of primitivism. Primitivism was the modern artists that were reflecting on this, “primitive cultures,” right? Native American, African, Oceanic, and they were making work that was inspired by our culture – very indigenous cultures.

So, it was kind of like an unlearning of their confines, of their Western art approach, and so it was really fascinating for me. Because, here, coming from an indigenous perspective that I was really cultivating and then looking at modern art. And the fact that native art never gets really included in the context of modern art, right? So, there’s all these incongruous things that I’m trying to make sense of. So that’s, in the roundabout way, how I came about doing what I do.

Katelyn Zuray
Does art influence culture, or does culture influence art?

Preston Singletary
I think it goes back and forth. Kind of dovetailing from the last question about European art, I also think about the material. The material that I’m using is non-traditional. But I feel like glass brings another dimension to indigenous art. I worked with lots of indigenous artists from around the world. From New Zealand to Australia and Hawaii, as well as around the country. And so, I feel like, as contemporary native artists or indigenous artists, I think that we have to develop our work for the commercial market. I mean, there’s obviously things that are very sacred and ceremonial that we wouldn’t really incorporate in our work every time. And so, I think that it goes back and forth honestly – especially when you’re navigating into newer materials.

As you adopt those things and you adopt that different mindset. There’s a completely different mindset about blowing glass than there is to carving a piece of wood, so it’s natural that you have to keep this balance. And glassblowing also has a lot of forethought into it, you have to think three or four steps in advance just to achieve a shape that you’re trying to make. And then the way that I treat it, with the sandblasting, and the stencil, and drawing on the piece you have to pre-think a lot of things.

Katelyn Zuray
Thank you.

Stacy Chavis
So how has your process changed, if at all, during the pandemic? And do you see changes forthcoming?

Preston Singletary
You know, it’s funny, I once saw a meme, that was an artist “before quarantine” and there’s like somebody sitting there with a paintbrush on their canvas. And an artist “during quarantine” there’s an artist with a paintbrush. (Laughs.) The thing that is very different for me, is that I actually have to work in teams when I’m blowing glass.

Stacy Chavis
Right.

Preston Singletary
Then when, once the piece is blown, then I can draw for days and weeks and months. So, I have a lot of work that was already prepped and ready to be drawn and designed on. So, for me I just found a lot more free time. I mean, a lot more uninterrupted time, I guess I should say. This whole time has been less meetings, less phone calls, less correspondence and what have you. But I think that it’s also become very introspective, I think for all of us, and that is certainly the case with me and things that have gone on. I mean, unfortunately, I lost my father a little over a week ago and so…I mean, my mother is still alive, but they were divorced. But, I had to process this whole… you know. And it’s still just like 10 days ago.

I have to process all of this. You know, when you lose a parent, it takes a big piece of you with them. It just goes away. And so now what I’ve decided to do is to kind of mythologize my father, in art and art narrative. And so, I’m working on some pieces now that just came to me. This is the one thing that I can do is to create artwork. And you know that kind of goes back to the original intent of our artwork, is to kind of be an oral tradition and represent the life around us, so that’s kind of what’s going on right now.

Stacy Chavis
I’m sorry for your loss.

Preston Singletary
Thank you.

Stacy Chavis
Thank you for sharing and expressing how he will live on in your pieces and homage will be paid, that’s beautiful. Thank you.

Preston Singletary
Yeah.

Katelyn Zuray
Often you work collaboratively with other artists and you commission artists to help with fabrication, is it difficult for you to navigate between collaboration and commission?

Preston Singletary
I work collaboratively with carvers, I’ll design a pattern that’s then carved in wood by somebody else, and then I can use that pattern to make a glass sculpture. Usually, I try to direct the narrative around the objects to tell a story. I have been navigating into other mediums, so I’ll have pieces cast in bronze. I’ll have pieces cast in glass and what I’m doing, the glass patterns, these glass totems, it’s pretty straightforward. It’s sort of like, where the art kind of ends and the science kind of begins. Because there’s a whole process of making these things and it’s not a real artistic process, it’s more of just like craftsmanship – a thought process. And so, once you are a glassmaker – I mean, I call myself a glassmaker – so now that I understand these different processes, it becomes pretty easy to conceptualize things and then find the right people who can interpret the ideas.

So that just kind of expands the capability and the styles that I work in. You know, when I’m working with other native artists, usually I’m sort of being an ambassador of glass to other artists. And I like working with indigenous artists, because I like to show what the possibilities are. I teach on occasion, but I don’t teach frequently. But this is a way that I can kind of do a high-profile project that a lot of people will see and thereby kind of showing the capabilities of material and what we can do with it.

Oftentimes when I’m working with other artists, sometimes they’ll challenge me and I’ll have to try something I’ve never really tried before, so that’s always kind of fun because there’s a little give and take there, and sometimes it pushes me into a realm that I didn’t ever imagine that I would go. As a painter, you don’t necessarily have to collaborate with anybody. You don’t have to agree with anybody. You don’t have to get along with anybody. With glassblowing, we work in teams and we’re very close. We’re very close friends and we help each other, assist each other and I’m very comfortable with that process, working with other people.

Stacy Chavis
Can you just speak to how the spiritual part of the work affects the product?

Preston Singletary
I was working with an elder named Walter Porter who was from Yakutat and he was a mythologist. He took the Tlingit stories, and he broke down the symbolism. So that it could be understood from many, many different points of view compared to theology and compared to philosophy and what have you, and other mythologies from around the world. But, one of the things that he contended was that in our older culture we had this ability to image, in our minds. We didn’t have things to look at, or televisions or phones to look up information. But we had this imagination, it’s where a lot of these objects came from. One of the things that he would quote is, the Bible of all things. He said that Jesus said, “Look at the lily. It neither spins nor toils.” And that is the artistic process.

It becomes a state that you put yourself into. And as I’m drawing sometimes, I don’t know exactly what’s gonna come out. Sometimes I’ll just start to put lines down and then I can start scratching away at it and say, “OK, this is the direction I’m going to go with this particular piece.” And then sometimes I’ll go into the very focused idea about, maybe a story that I would like to try to interpret, or an aspect from the story, because any action within a story can become a piece of art. It might result from, kind of, a dream or I do a sweat lodge when I can. I have a sauna in my basement. It’s getting those kinds of juices flowing in terms of relaxing and meditating and allowing the creativity to come into you.

Katelyn Zuray
Do you accept requests for art pieces? If so, do you ask that they be based on Tlingit work or does the request come in and you create whatever you feel is appropriate?

Preston Singletary
This is how the process works. You present your artwork and they select you. Then you go in for an interview and then you meet the stakeholders. You understand where the setting is that the piece is going to be installed. And so, every time I’m trying to bring some aspect of what they’re looking for. Like, for instance, in Anchorage, I did a piece for the Boney courthouse, so I came up with the idea of painted formline, but in bands of color so we have, like, the sunrise. So, it’s these bands of color on the balcony, there’s this design that looks like the sunrise and beyond it, lime green and purple, sort of like the Northern Lights. And so, in this building that was quite austere, it was very gray and [there] wasn’t a lot of color, so now we brought all this color into that space.

The more recent one that I got is a public art job in Seattle. And it was right next to a water treatment plant. So, I came up with the idea of Raven and Petrel. Raven stole all of the water from this natural spring that Petrel was guarding. And then he tries to fly away, and he’s so engorged with water, it seems to dribble out and it becomes the rivers and the streams. So, those are the ways that I try to read into the site and the – they always call them “the stakeholders” – what would they like to see and what would resonate with the space and the intent of the location.

Stacy Chavis
When did you first decide, “This art thing!” – you touched on it a little bit earlier, but what was that moment like?

Preston Singletary
It was 1988 and I’d been blowing glass since 1982, so by ‘88 I started to dabble in the formline, like tracing designs out of books and carving it into very simple dishes that I would blow. Blow these forms and then put markings on them. And everybody that I worked with, they were more from the European tradition, more like design and vases and vessels and things that were very, very finely crafted: very well-made objects. And architectural lighting and all kinds of things like this.

So, my work was kind of reflective of that style early on and I kind of was in denial about doing the native stuff for a long time until after I got married. And I said, “You know what? This music thing is not working out for me. I’m just gonna have to stick with the glassblowing.” And I was so established with my community and my team. So, it was about 1997 or ‘98 when I had my first show with a gallery in Seattle and then, I made about 12 different objects that were all based on Tlingit culture. Some of them were bowls and there was a hat, and then there was a cylinder that became a totem. Very simple, rudimentary things like that. And then, lo and behold, I sold almost everything! And it wasn’t great. It wasn’t really, really good. It was just the first pieces that I ever made. And I was learning as I went, but I think what happened was that people recognized that there’s something more personal going on there.

And so, I started to make these hat forms and I made many, many of them and they were very popular. And so, I was able to get a foothold financially and I was able to afford to continue to make glass and develop my work. It just, building it brick by brick is what it took. And I worked really, really hard for 20 plus years, and was working six, seven days a week. Then the next epiphany I had was when I went down to Santa Fe and I started to show. The Native Art market down there was contemporary. I’d go down there, and I’d see these people that were making, selling pottery forms for $20,000. And it’s like “Holy Moly!”

So, I had my work down there and it took a couple of years and then finally we brought a glassblowing (portable glass) studio down to Taos, New Mexico and we did a glass blowing demo. And then, so I’d put the piece away and, you know, the crowd was like, “Oh yeah!” And then they walked into the gallery and they said, “I’ll take that, and I’ll take that, I’ll take…” They just started buying it off the shelf, like all of a sudden it clicked in their heads and I was like, “Wow!” – the education process was really at work there, and so in the end, I remember walking away from there like going, “Oh my God, maybe I’ve arrived somehow. I’ve found my niche; I’ve found my rhythm.” And I thought, “You know, this could really establish me in my little niche.” And over time I think it’s gotten, you know…More and more native people are getting involved with glass. And that’s really exciting to see.

Stacy Chavis
Could we say that you were the progenitor, that it was because of your work, that a lot of it is started?

Preston Singletary
Well, I think I was a part of it. I didn’t start it per se. The oldest native glass artist that I know of is Larry Ahvakana, out of Barrow, Alaska. Then Tony Jojola really took to glassblowing, and he’s Isleta Pueblo. Tony was, in my mind, one of the earliest pioneers of native glassblowing and then there were others that did design it and had other people make it – which is perfectly acceptable in the glass world. I was definitely part of it. Not like the originator or anything.

Katelyn Zuray
Some say your work is more modern than traditional. Do you agree with that? Or how would you argue against that?

Preston Singletary
I think it’s definitely modern. I think the longer that I work with the material, the more traditional it becomes. I’m able to get more and more close, and true to form. I’m OK with it being modern. It’s not traditional and it’s not used in ceremonies. I think it brings another dimension to, as I said before, to indigenous art and that’s good enough for me. And we as Native people, are sometimes dictated to, “OK. This is traditional and this is not. OK, so you people never did this before, so it’s not valid.” Who’s making those assertions? It’s the dominant culture that’s saying that. And sometimes we say that to ourselves as Indigenous people. But talk to most any elder, they’re gonna be like, “Oh, that’s good stuff you’re doin.” and “Keep up the good work!” They’ll be encouraging you to do new things.

Katelyn Zuray
My grandma is one of the last Native speaking people in my community and she has always…like, I would go to her and ask her permission, like, “Can I do this, Grandma?” and she’s like, “Yes! We want you guys to do this! We want you…”

Preston Singletary
Exactly.

Katelyn Zuray
“We want you to do this!” And so, that’s great.

Stacy Chavis
All right, you talked about the free flow of space and it’s important to how art is perceived. So, can you just speak a little bit about how space around the pieces affect perception and what it is you’re looking for in an installation?

Preston Singletary
The most recent show that I put together, “Raven and The Box of Daylight”, was the biggest example that I’ve done to date as far as installation in relation to mythology, storytelling. And I did create video backdrops. I created a soundscape and used the Tlingit language to illustrate this whole “Raven and The Box of Daylight” story. So, as you’re walking through it, it becomes like an experience. I wanted to put the viewer in the shoes of absorbing the story as you’re walking through the exhibition. I’ve always liked old-world technology like vaudeville. I’ve always thought about doing the vaudeville version of it where you have these mechanical things on stage. There’s water and it’s moving, and I wanted to do that, but then I ended up working with the video artist who helped me put the elements together to create effects that would be like motion or transformation, or the sun rising when you know Raven releases the sun or things like that. So, I thought that would be kind of a cool way to bring everybody into the feeling of it. Like create an Alaskan landscape backdrop or something. I like conceptualizing theatrical kinds of experiences. I’ve always kind of dabbled in it, maybe not so effectively at first, but it’s finally coming around to being kind of interesting now.

Stacy Chavis
As a professional actor, we talk about, it’s not submersion, what we do, but we help you suspend disbelief.

Preston Singletary
Right.

Stacy Chavis
That’s what I hear about that exhibition right? OK, is there an installation, exhibition, or piece that really calls to you – speaks to you – above all others?

Preston Singletary
Well, being the Seattle guy but Tlingit background, the pieces that I made for the Walter Soboleff Center were pretty special. Because for me we’re talking about the whole idea of “traditional – not traditional”. They specifically wanted one of my pieces in the center, and so I decided to make this big house screen and these two house posts [for] that Clan House interior performance space. And that, to me, signified an acceptance of what I’m doing. And so that was a really big thing for me ’cause when you grow up outside of the community, you’re always looking to be accepted by it, right? My biggest fear was that I was going to be criticized for what I was doing, you know, “Oh, that’s not traditional,” “You can’t do that stuff”, and “This is a clan!” So, I spent a lifetime kind of building up my idea of a defense around it. This is part of who I am, and this is part of my family background, and it’s easy to see or it’s easy to find. If you question it, it’s right here: Central Council. My grandmother, my great grandmother, and my mother, they’re all registered and so it’s still a matrilineal connection that pretty much stops with me as far as that goes. But yeah, that particular piece, the fact that I had that opportunity to take my entire lifetime of experience to bring that special piece to that place was a big deal for me.

Katelyn Zuray
You’ve been talking about music throughout this interview. And in a lecture, Professor Mehner noted that you describe yourself as more of a frustrated musician. Do you?

Preston Singletary
“I’m a musician trapped in the body of a glass artist”, that was my original line, but it would have been my chosen profession if I had a choice (laughs). I didn’t have the discipline or the sacrifice to just be like, “OK, this is the only thing I’m gonna do.” I certainly, probably, could have, but I was really distracted with the glassblowing, which is also an evolving art form around the Seattle area. I always did play music and I took a couple years off until I got fully established, fairly established as a native artist in glass and I thought, “Oh, I wanna do music.” And so, I had started a group called Little Big Band and I got some native people involved with that. So, it was kind of a hybrid of native and soul – bluesy kind of soul. The more current band is a little more serious now because we’re making records and recording and what have you. So that’s fun. To still have that.

I’ve always been inspired by both activities and one kind of feeds the other. I’m constantly listening to music while I’m working. Listening to all kinds of different music and researching and finding new music. From jazz to African music and avant garde, noisy rock stuff to hip hop and just everything. The current band that I have actually incorporates a lot of these mythologies, and storytelling, and languages. We use Tlingit and Haida language. We got to play with Stephen Blanchett. So, he brought his Yupik language. The forthcoming album’s gonna be out probably next year. So, it’s kind of like the musical version of what my art is. It’s another…it’s part of my artistic expression, is what I like to say. And I take it pretty, I take it more seriously than I should. I really enjoy it and it’s a lot of work, but it’s really fun when it’s happening.

Stacy Chavis
I wanted to talk a little bit about your relationship with the Northern Folklife Festival and what it was like to be named Poster Artist of the Year.

Preston Singletary
Yeah, that was super fun. My band has performed there probably like 4 different times, four years – different years. So yeah, it was really fun. Unfortunately, of course this year was COVID, so we couldn’t have the festival. It was a virtual festival, but they did manage to pull it off quite nicely, that was really sweet. I just love those kinds of things. It’s a folk music festival which incorporates world music, blues music, jazz music. It’s a very amazing festival.

Stacy Chavis
I’m going to talk- if you don’t mind, a little bit about your honorary doctorate from University of Puget Sound, what was that experience like?

Preston Singletary
That was really, really amazing because I didn’t go to college and yet I still got the best education that I could through the experience that I had. Working with these professionals and the people that I met and had a chance to learn from. You couldn’t duplicate that experience that I had today. So it’s the best university I could have gone to, right? And so, I always put it this way: It was a real honor to me to receive that, but the first honor that I received, and I was really grateful for this was in 2000. And Joe David, who’s Nuu-Chah-Nulth, and he’s a respected elder carver, right up there with Robert Davidson and these guys, opened up my eyes to the sweat lodge ceremony and indoctrinated me in that. I was helping him at the Pilchuck Glass School. So, he was an artist in residence, and I was his artist assistant. We built a sweat lodge. We did four sweats. At the end of the session, we were all getting ready to depart. He ended up sharing his name with me and kind of adopting me and that was a major endorsement by a respected elder, and so that was really huge for me.

When the honorary doctorate came, that was sort of like, “OK, so the Western world’s now also validating my life experience.” and it’s funny because I kind of forget about it. I mean, I like it when people recognize it. But I also think it’s just one of those things that looks really good in the Western world. I don’t know that it’s really changed my life dramatically other than it’s a cool thing, cool experience, and an honor.

Katelyn Zuray
What message would you like to pass on to the next generation of Tlingit artists? Any words of advice, caution, or inspiration?

Preston Singletary
To get a solid foundation in your artistic practice. I think that cultural knowledge feeds into that. And to always be bold and brave in sharing your work with other people and getting feedback and knowing where to go for the correct feedback. Our community needs more young people to become really, really good at making these designs and understanding the stories and being able to keep this culture alive, but it doesn’t happen overnight. It probably takes 20 years, honestly. But we have a lot more access to information these days. When I started glassblowing, we were developing special techniques that we learned from the Venetian glass blowers. Today, it’s more widely known because people go to YouTube and they blow these things that are very complicated.

When I was first starting, we didn’t know how to do that or steps that you would take to do it. But today, you see these people that have been blowing glass for a couple of years and they’re making this really complicated stuff. And like, whoa, I wasn’t doing that until I’d been blowing glass for 10 years or whatever. So, it’s possible, but you have to be smart about it and you can’t escape the time factor that it takes to get really good at any one thing. The old adage of like 10,000 hours is very true. You have to really, really remain focused and persevere.

I could have continued on as a happy little glassblower, with my team and my friends and working with my friends, but I wanted to dive a little deeper and that’s what caused me to look at my own cultural background. Every person comes to a fork in the road. Do you go left or do you go right? Those are the influences that you’re bringing into your life. And so, for me, I decided to go this other way, and so it was the most fulfilling thing that I could have done because it did bring me closer to community, my family, history. So, to be able to operate on that level is really, really exciting. It’s adding to the conversation. There was a good friend of mine who was from Lummi, Washington state, and he said, “How did you allow yourself to be so successful?” And I was like, “I don’t know what you mean by that.” and then I was always thinking about that.

Katelyn Zuray: Yeah.

Because he was having a hard time bringing that kind of success into his own life because he was a violin player and a motivational speaker and a storyteller and all around great guy. Swil Kanim is his name. If some high school or elementary school asked him to come, “We only got $50.00 for ya.” He’d go do it, right? And so, a year later, I said, “You asked me this question one time. And I didn’t know how to answer.” He goes, “Aw, don’t worry about it, I answered it for you.” You know, some of us are just out there doing it. You don’t realize it, you don’t think about it, but people are watching what you’re doing and they’re taking note. So, you don’t really see it, but you’re kind of a leader in some ways without really declaring that that’s who you are. So, then I took a step further. I said, “If I’m successful on any level with my work or with my career, then I will have inspired the next generation to do something different.” Right? It’s like what I do is different than what the tradition was. Maybe, they’re gonna do something even more different than what I did. Maybe they’re gonna be working in concrete, steel, or who knows? But it’s gonna be keeping the codes and the symbols of the land alive, and that’s what our people need.

Stacy Chavis
That was beautiful. My last question is from the other side. Not from the artist perspective, but from the observer. What question or feeling would you hope that people who are experiencing your work – what question would they have or what feeling would you hope they could take from it?

Preston Singletary
Well, I hope that when someone sees my work they’re maybe surprised and delighted. That it would cause them to wonder and ask more questions, you know? It has strong references to the culture, even when I go abstract – it’s a way of creating something that is hopefully inspiring. Most people are attracted to native art because of that reason. Sometimes it has a story and sometimes it doesn’t. As Joe David likes to say – it’s wonderfully nonrepresentational. You have good days and bad days. Not everything I do is a masterpiece. But it’s still that process that I’m working to get into the flow. The more you are able to design things, then you get hopefully better and better at it.

Katelyn Zuray
Thank you so much. That was really inspiring, and I feel really honored on behalf of my group to be able to have done this, I really enjoyed this a lot.

Stacy Chavis
Absolutely. Did you want to share the name of your new band?

Preston Singletary
Well, the band is called Khu.éex’. It means “potlatch” in the Tlingit language. It’s sort of like an invitation to a feast: Potlatch. But it’s also a sharing of culture, sharing of music, and dances, and stories, you know? So that’s like that reciprocal thing.

Katelyn Zuray
Well, thank you so much.

Stacy Chavis
Yes, it was genuinely appreciated.

Preston Singletary
Thank you for thinking of me and good luck!

 

 

 

More on Preston Singletary’s work:

http://www.prestonsingletary.com/

https://www.museumofglass.org/raven-box-of-daylight

https://www.showcasemedialive.com/summer2009/design-style/preston-singletary