(1962 – Present, Kwakwaka’wakw)
Alison Berkshire was born in the artistically thriving community of Alert Bay in 1962. She first became interested in traditional button blankets in 1988, after admiring their intricacy and designs at potlatches and family gatherings. In 1990, Alison began researching family crests and producing her own blankets. It was from her great-grandfather, Chief Thomas Nowell, where Alison earned the right to use many of the Kwakwaka’wakw crests. Alison’s first blankets were designed by her brother Eugene Isaac, a talented artist in his own right, but as she gained greater familiarity with blanket design and construction, she began producing her own individual designs. Alison usually works with melton wool, adding opulence with the addition of abalone, akoya, and shell buttons, as well as sequins and beads. Traditionally worn to designate one’s status and ancestry, as many as 5000 buttons, beads, and sequins can adorn a single blanket.