(1956 - 2016)
Clarissa was born in Juneau, Alaska a few years before Alaska became the 49th State. Her mother, Irene, is Tlingit Indian from the village of Hoonah, Alaska. Her father, William, is Filipino-American. She was introduced to Alaskan Native art while in high school, and then she produced her first carved cedar box. The following year she met master Tlingit dancer and costume-maker Harry K. Bremner Sr. who invited her to join his touring dance troupe, the Mt. St. Elias Dancers.After the birth of her first child, Clarissa began making costume clothing and hats for family and friends. A few years later, she became interested in landscaping and soon found herself the owner of Kahtahah Landscape Gardeners, a company that developed and maintained a lush, naturalized garden for the Sealaska Corporation, one of Juneau’s largest companies.
Clarissa has lately focused her energies on artwork inspired by her Alaskan Native heritage. After apprenticing under master Chilkat weaver Jeannie Thlunaut in 1986, she began teaching Chilkat weaving to local Native women and organizing yearly gatherings of the Shax’saani Keek’ Weaver’s Circle. She also studied clothing design and metalworking at the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has since produced some 60 traditionally inspired carvings, paintings, and collages. Her works have won numerous prizes. Clarissa also spent five years working with the Naa Kahidi Native Theater as costume and set designer, tour manager, stage manager, actress and singer/musician touring the United States, Canada and Europe.