These buttons are made out of clay from the Anchorage mud flats (Cook Inlet glacial clay), the same clay that is used in my tiles, and the images are from the stamps that I have created to decorate the back of the tiles. They are approximately one-inch in size and destined for a coat that I will make soon. Last year, I had bought wool and silk, and processed my own fish skins for the purpose of making a coat for the 2015 Anchorage Object Runway event, an art/fashion show, but it was cancelled. The coat will be patterned after a paper coat that I made a few years back that had won people’s choice award in the same Anchorage Object Runway event.
I’ve been busy since Christmas making tiles, inventory was down to three tiles. So everything I made last year sold! I hired a temporary part-time artist to help with waxing, while I did everything else.
I participated in the Colorado Indian Art Market, Jan 22-24, and did well. My favorite customers were the interesting couple that bought two twelve-inch tiles plus a few other tiles of various sizes.
My next two events will be the Anchorage Fur Rondy sale at the Dimond mall, March 2-6, and the Heard Museum Indian Arts & Crafts Show in Phoenix, Arizona March 5, 6. There is an overlap, so someone will cover for me at the Fur Rondy.
Walked the Portuguese Camino with my 85 year old Father and two younger sisters, Dorothy in the middle and Karen on the right. Dorothy has a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford and Karen is a civil engineer with the US Forest Service. We’re all engineers, I just switched to art. The ten day hike from Porto, Portugal to Santiago, Spain took us fifteen days. Our pilgrimage was leisurely this time as we sent our backpacks ahead each day and stayed in nicer hotels each night. By nicer, I mean with private bathrooms and sheets on the bed. We usually got two rooms and the price would be about $30-40 per person. Me and my dad roughed it a few years back by staying in the hostels, walking the much longer French route, but this time we spent a little more, and felt totally pampered. Our Dad did have a scare, an ear infection that felt like a possible stroke had our taxi speeding down rural, cobble-stoned lanes to the nearest hospital. The emergency room visit and antibiotics cost around $100 and then the pharmacy store charged another $20 for medication drops.
The tile business is taking up all my time, and this will be the best year, sales-wise, since I started a dozen years ago. I’ve decided to not go to the lower-48 next summer, since customers are coming to me up here at that time. Those trips will have to be in the off season.
I still have three more shows before the end of the year, so I better get back to the studio! The three shows are the Thanksgiving Fare at the Anchorage Museum, November 27-29, The Holiday Bazaar at the Anchorage Native Heritage Center, December 5, and a small group event at the Blue Hollomon Gallery December 12.
Here are several new designs: dragonfly, new seal, walrus on the top row,
a swan turning into a salmon, muskox, and pendants on the second row, and on the fourth row a single owl, and an bald eagle.
It’s been a while since I last posted, but now that the summer season is over, I should be able to post once every couple of weeks. Since my last post in mid July, I went to Santa Fe, New Mexico for the Southwest Indian Art Market. I got a table just by showing up because a lot of vendors sell out on the first day. There were over 1200 native american artists showing and selling their work, it was amazing. I wanted to buy some turquoise, pottery, and woven rugs, but things were pretty expensive. I flew into Denver and my Dad, all of 84 years old, drove down with me and we had a good time. on the way back we visited Fort Union. It protected the Santa Fe trail and participated in wars against Mexico, Indians, Confederates, and then more Indians. I almost stepped on a what looked like a rattle snake, and workers repairing some adobe walls got pretty excited and called the park rangers to come capture it. The best preserved building was the rock jail. Rock holds up better than clay adobe over time.
Getting ready for the Anchorage Museum Thanksgiving Crafts Fare. The loon is a four-by-four square inch tile and the necklace pendants are maybe 1-1/4″ squarish pieces. The glyph stamps are fishes, fox, stars, eagle, letters, seal, owl, and the crazy swan turning into a salmon creature. The pendant pieces will be strung with simulated sinew singly and in groups up to five pieces. It has been a while since I have sold something other than tiles, long ago I use to sell fine art prints but the market was soft, or it could have been the timing, given that the economy went through the wringer at that time. All the pendants will be made from the Cook Inlet glacier clay with various slip colors and glazes applied to the front side.
Last Friday, I went to see my necklace mentioned in my last post, at the Native Alaskan fashion show, Wear Art Thou, hosted by the Alaska Native Arts Foundation, and I was really impressed by some of the pieces. I plan to make something for the show next year. Anyway, my necklace was worn lower than I envisioned but still looked good.
Six-inch square collagraph print on Cook Inlet glacial clay, $75
This is one of my earlier designs and you can see it has a raised border around the edges because the plate itself is six-inches, so 3/8″ had to be added so that the finished fired size would be just under six-inches. Funny how you make tons of small mistakes that get corrected over time. New designs are put on a full 6-3/8″ square plate so trimming is quick and without measurements. This particular tile sold at the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) conference in Fairbanks last week.
I did well sales-wise and met a lot of people including ceramics professionals, though all non-native. The last traditional Alaskan native ceramics maker died in the 1880’s not to far from where many of my family have lived and died, in Northwest Alaska. The hand built, pit fired ceramics had been made in that area for about 5,000 years.
The new scanner is up and running. Thought I’d try posting a few images at one time and in a larger image size since internet access is getting faster. All these tiles were run through the etching press on July 23 and fired on July 31. All were tiles that were sold out at my vendors booth at the weekend market in Anchorage. And since making these tiles, other designs have sold out. It is near impossible to keep up during the height of the season!
I was at the Alaska Native Heritage Center yesterday and a large bull moose got into the grounds even though the area is fenced off. It stayed in the shallow lake in the center of the culture walk and put on quite a show for hundreds of visitors that lined the shores taking pictures.
The phote is from an iphone since my scanner is kaput. It’s hard to take a decent photo of a glossy surface. Three of the tiles have a ginkgo leaf. Anchorage has one ginkgo tree and it is inside at the University since it is too cold for them here. I picked up a few ginkgo leaves at the Chicago Botanic garden after a few leaves fell from a tree after a rain. Half of the tiles are sold already, and they just came out of the kiln last Thursday. I will print flower impressions tomorrow in the four, six, and eight-inch sizes. I will do some Fireweed, wild geranium, Sitka rose, and dogwood for this next week.
I’m at the mid way point of my ninth season at Anchorage weekend market, and it has slowed down sales-wise, but on-line sales have sort of picked up the slack. I think it has something to do with people now buying more on the web, so other places that people use to spend is loosing some of its volume.
The Alaska Native Heritage Center will carry my art tiles again starting this week.
Berry Picking in Alaska. A favorite pasttime for many. The birchbark baskets are in a style found in the Northwest around the Kotzebue sound area.
Adding a bit of folk lore to the tile, on the upper part are the hare as the sun and the fox as the moon, and they are in an ongoing chase. That is why night follows day.
I got invited to the Best of the Northwest Art and Fine Craft Show in Seattle on March 23 & 24. Fun. The economy is on the mend and I did well in Seattle at a tile show last Fall, so I thought I’d try some other shows in the lower 48 (what people in Alaska call the rest of the U.S., except Hawaii.)
Three more 12″ Tiles for an Alaskan Native Corporation Building. It takes a couple of weeks to get the design drawn, cut, glued, pressed into clay, bisqued, waxed, glazed, and glaze fired. Two more tiles are drying on wire racks and two more designs are ready to print. I’ve been reading up on myths and folk tales from the Northwest area of Alaska, and there is quite a bit out there.
Been thinking of arts & crafts shows outside of Alaska to attend in 2013. Applied to NorthWest Art Alliance show in Seattle March 23 & 24, Old Towne in Chicago June 8 & 9, and the Moravian Tile Festival north of Philadelphia in late May. The only show that I’m sure of is the 57th Street Fare in Chicago June 1 & 2, since they allow an artist to attend for four years once you are accepted, and this will be my fourth year there. The 57th Street Fare is in Obama’s old neighborhood. Cool, eh?
The tile clay body that I developed from the mudflats glacial clay works well for large size tiles. This tile design is one of fourteen that the NANA native corporation commissioned for the elevator lobbies of their new six-story digs in downtown Anchorage. They want original designs and they don’t mind that I will make more tiles later of the designs made for them. After all, I am a printmaker, and we do make multiples. They don’t have to worry about seeing the designs too often because I don’t sell too many of the larger sizes. They cost a lot. A twelve-inch multiglazed tile costs $350. Of course, they paid a bit more since it is a custom order.
I used a circular pattern of caribou around a few figures in the center. Imagery from Western Alaskan coastal areas often use a circular design since they are drawn usually on a skin drum or in a oval type wood food serving container. One old artist says that for larger figures, an x-ray style of depicting the insides of the animals helps add interest to the drawings.