Cheryl was born in Hawaii in 1944. She initially pursued a career in science, with an interest in fibre art and weaving. After marriage, children and a move to Seattle, she was attempting to solve a particular weaving problem when she attended a lecture given by Bill Holm at the Burke Museum in Seattle. There she saw the answer to her problem in a Northwest Coast Chilkat robe. She has been largely responsible for the revitalization of Ravenstail and Chilkat weaving by mastering lost techniques, teaching extensively, recreating and expanding the language of weaving, travelling internationally to study and document all historical robes (including fragments).
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