MOA Shop Featured Artist: Meghann O’Brien
MOA Shop Featured Artist: Meghann O’Brien

My name is Meghann O’Brien, I’m from the community
of Alert Bay, British Columbia. I am of Haida, Kwakwaka’wakw, and Irish descent, and I’m a weaver. I used to be a professional snowboarder for five years living in Whistler, until I discovered the gift of weaving cedar, and was shown the ways of weaving wool in the
Raven’s Tail and Chilkat forms from my many very gracious teachers. I spent so many years
of my life snowboarding and when I discovered weaving, it was so powerful and it really
kind of rearranged my whole life. Every year that I wove more, it was harder to go back
to my kind of job or my pursuit as a professional snowboarder. I just didn’t see the value in
it for, like, other people or even for myself. I feel as though before I started weaving
I wouldn’t have passed on anything to my kids and I feel lucky that my family has survived
and I want to strengthen that. I like the idea of our culture continuing in some form.
So as I transitioned out of that and into the weaving, I kind of left that world behind
and I didn’t really miss it and it wasn’t until I started working with mountain goat
wool that I felt myself being drawn back up into the mountains, but in this different
way. Working with it, I began to consider its life and where it lives and just considering
that I’d spent fifteen years of my life in the mountains. And so it gave me this understanding,
like I felt like I understood kind of where it lived. I wanted to go back up into the
mountains with these new eyes. I wanted to go into the mountains viewing them from, I
guess more of a spirituality of them being regarded as supernatural beings. I began to
feel as though while I was working with this that it was related somehow to this kind of
shifting of states. I found it was a transformative process, not only of the materials, but also
of it through me, it changed me as well. And I discovered that that was more what I wanted
rather than the end product, the end result of the woven object. Because I think it’s
growing closer and more intimate to the material and understanding the essence of what you’re
doing. There’s something about it. So light and so soft, it’s like a cloud and as you
spin it you take it from this form and you take it and you spin it on your leg and it
gets a bit heavier, and then you ply it from there and it gains more density, more weight,
more solidity. And as you take this material you transform it into this dense material,
and then you weave with it and create a physical object. For me, it’s as though taking unformed
matter, or pure spirit, and moving it into the physical world, into material form, into
almost like a body that spirit can reside in, for us to anchor energy in the physical
world. To consider it as a gas moves from a liquid to a solid, similar to how snow or
water moves between states. I began to feel as though I was making clouds, I really enjoyed
it, I thought it was such a beautiful feeling and process. But when I was in the mountains,
it hit me, I was like clouds are a form of water and snow is a form of water and it’s
just to be able to be in the snow and snowboarding and relating to it in that way, as the clouds
wrap around the mountain and the mountain goat wool is so related in substance to clouds,
I don’t know. It’s pretty cool.

1 thought on “MOA Shop Featured Artist: Meghann O’Brien”

  1. Karin Wiebe says:

    Wow! Making clouds. That's lovely, thanks!

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