Maxine Matilpi spent her early life in her home
Maxine was encouraged to assist her mother with blanket making projects as a child. Her first job was to sort buttons by size. She later graduated to tasks that are more complex, such as cutting the appliqué designs and border trim from red cloth. She has created nearly one hundred ceremonial items in fabric; these include button blankets, dance aprons, vests and tunics. Her first choice of base material for a ceremonial robe is melton cloth, a material both lighter and more dense than the navy or green woollen
Maxin Matilpi has favourite and recurring images. A butterfly usually appears both on border designs and as the primary figure on blankets and aprons. It represents an important family crest. It is said that long ago when the world was young, an old man emerged from under the sea and a butterfly landed on his head. Since that time the butterfly has come to represent the ancient lineage from which Maxine’s family descended. Other significant crests depicted on her costumes are the Kolus, a mythic bird said to be the younger brother of Thunderbird, the Raven, Wolf and Whale, all of which figure prominently in Maxine’s family history. These images are jealously guarded family privileges and are properly displayed only in a ceremonial context.
In 1995, Maxine completed a suite of blankets, aprons and tunics to be worn by family members at a memorial potlatch. The Eagle Copper blanket used in that ceremony was displayed in the 2001 “Masks and Myths” exhibit at Canada House in