Designed specifically for the artist’s sister, this dress contains many elements referencing the family history. The killer whale on the back and the deer and eagle on the front are expressions of the bride’s personality. The artist’s and bride’s grandmother is honoured by the depiction of the second killer whale, the thunderbird on the hairpiece, and the moon – all very strong and powerful images. Their great-grandmother appears in the fireweed and frogs on the train of the dress, grand and beautiful, with the train itself being a nod to the traditional button blankets and a counterpoint to the clean contemporary form of the rest of the dress. The spirit of the day is captured in the loon and the hummingbird: the loon adding its quiet solemnity, and the hummingbird lending its buzz of creative energy. The inclusion of coppers represents the traditional use of coppers in Westcoast First Nations ceremonies. They also express an abundance of good wishes for wealth and happiness for the couple, much like in other cultures such the Italian tradition of giving monetary gifts to the newlyweds.

Wedding Dress Elegance

Date: 1997

Client: Private collector

Materials: Silk