Formline design is part of a living culture and integral to the lifeways of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian.
“It surrounds us, and it holds us up. Our Northwest Coast art is ingrained in the social fabric and oral histories of our clans.”
—Rico Lanáat ́ Worl, A Basic Guide to Northwest Coast Formline Art
In this project, we give students an introduction to formline design shapes and definitions, the importance of balance in the design form, and to ways an experienced Native artist would compose a formline design. We then provide them with tools to create their formline design. A key to this project is to see both the positive and negative aspects of a design and how each type influences and serves to shape the other.
SHI offers materials to teach Northwest Coast art, including an online textbook, flashcards, and curriculum boards.
To order a hard copy of the textbook, contact the Sealaska Heritage Store at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907.586.9114.
SHI published the three-book series Tlingit Wood Carving, which includes step-by-step instructions on how to make a traditional Tlingit tray, hat, and mask.
Learn the ancient Tlingit tradition of wood carving with artist Richard A. Beasley. You'll also learn how to inlay abalone and opercula into the wood. Learn techniques used for millennia by some of the world's most accomplished artists-the Tlingit of Southeast Alaska.
SHI has posted numerous videos online, including a two-day formline workshop taught by Steve Brown, ovoid construction with David R. Boxley using Adobe Illustrator, and how-to video series showing spruce root weaving in practice, from harvesting the roots to weaving and finishing the basket, as well as some time talking with Delores Churchill, a master Haida weaver. This series was created to help revive the endangered art form of spruce root weaving and features several apprentices. The video documentation was gifted to SHI by Lindblad Expeditions as a way to give back to the cultures that their clients (tourists) are exposed to. Instructional videos on how to make horn spoons were created in an effort to save this endangered Northwest Coast art practice. Horn spoon instructor Steve Brown narrates the videos.
Videos are posted online on our YouTube channel and on our Vimeo page.
Watch lectures on Northwest Coast art by renowned Native artists and scholars, including Robert Davidson, Delores Churchill, and David Boxley.
SHI videos are posted online on our YouTube channel and on our Vimeo page.
We perpetuate, enhance and share Southeast Alaskan Native culture through our Institute, our store, and our True Southeast visitor experience.