Medium: Ivory Jewlery, Basket Weaving, Carving
For more than two decades, Coral Chernoff has been creating art. Coral works in many mediums. She is particularly known for her ivory carving and fine weaving. She creates unique pieces of jewelry from walrus ivory, never repeating a design, and plaits delicate baskets from beach grass she picks and cures herself.
Coral is particularly drawn to the beauty of natural materials, Much of her artwork highlights the qualities of the wood and fiber she uses. Her grass baskets are a beautiful example. Their careful weave - sometimes open, sometime amazingly tiny and tight - hightlights each strand of grass and illustrates the strength and warm color of the materials.
Coral is also inspired by Alutiiq designs and manufacturing techniques, and education is a continuing part of her artistic life. In 2006, she was one of 9 artists who traveled to France to study historic Alutiiq Masks. Coral also participated in an Alutiiq Museum’s spruce root weaving workshop, to extend her weaving knowledge, and she has taken courses at the Alaska Native Arts program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. You may also find Coral assisting her mother - weaver Arlene Skinner - with basketry classes at Kodiak College, or looking at her ancestor's art in books or museum collections.
The daughter of Arlene Skinner and the late Alan Chernoff of Kodiak, she was born in Seattle, when her family temporarily left Kodiak following the devastation of the Great Alaska Earthquake. However, she has spent the majority of her life living in Kodiak, where she resides now. Even as a child she was busy with her hands, working on projects with her mother, making her own doll clothes, and in highschool making her own clothes. Coral learned weaving from her mother, who learned the art from Alutiiq artist and former curator of the Baranov Museum, Eunice von Scheele Neseth. As such, Coral's weavings reflect a chain of indigenous knowledge passed through generations of women, as well as the perpetuation of grass harvesting and preparation traditions in the modern world.
The Alutiiq Museum store, the Baranov Museum Store, and at the Alaska Native Medical Center gift shop have all sold her Coral's work, and examples of her weaving are part of the permanent collection at the Baranov Museum and the Alaska Native Medical Center.
Artist Contact Information
224 W. Rezanof Dr.
Kodiak, AK 99615