I've never seen all my work together in one space.
I've never had friends say, "I'll just fly down."
(You know, for, like, the day).
I didn't expect my family to take such ownership of the work.
I didn't realize how much they understood.
I didn't know if I could find the right words to give a talk to a roomful of people.
Or the grace to offer everything I had to all the solitary conversations.
What I do know is my sense of place -- as a woman, a mother, a maker, an Alaskan of 15 years -- and how it affects the way I see the world.
And I know that I am not alone in this phenomenon.
Some of it is the quality of Alaska, itself.
Some of it is because of the people I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by -- artists, thinkers, writers, creators, parents, people who value the built object and the vision to make it so. People with will. People who ask questions. People who will look you in the eye.
Many of them Pioneers in their own way,
who aren't afraid of the work of the work.
The following are portions of the Bunnell Street Arts Center's mission (the space, once an old trading post), which is excerpted from their website:
This gallery strives to help foster the arts and community by drawing the public in for celebrations of local and visiting talent and by showcasing the arts as a natural resource that grows through sharing. The vision of Bunnell Street Gallery is that by exposing the arts we can promote awareness of and questioning about what qualities are unique to Alaskan art and artists. This should be a dialogue between Alaskans, artists and visitors alike. We as individuals are not here to escape culture or live in the past, rather it is our vision that through the arts we manifest the dream of the pioneer in own lives. Journey, invention and discovery should be available to all through the arts. Alaska’s aesthetic beauty challenges us not to reproduce its image in our artwork but to match it with imagination and ambition of our own.
Once a hub of commerce for fisherfolk and homesteaders, a gathering place where one might sip coffee around the coal stove, the Old Inlet Trading Post lay derelict in the late 1980’s as Homer grew and new and larger specialty stores outpaced the Trading Post of the past. But, as the community of Homer has grown and changed, so has our commerce. Artists and art supporters here see that our current frontier is not these mountains and woods we admire daily, but the imagination this landscape provokes. Culture is the commerce of this day. The sense of community is maintained in a site for salvaging the creative outpourings of local folk. This is perhaps an innovate concept, a way in which Homer outpaces the fractured metropolis Outside. We have found our center.
We can all find our center.
We can redefine the commerce of this day.
And no matter where in the world we are, we can, and should, continue manifesting the dreams of Pioneers.
This work was made possible, in part, by a 2014 Artist Fellowship Award for Visual Arts from the Rasmuson Foundation. If you're interested in the history behind any of these textile pieces you could check out the Histories, Process or Embroidery headings on the side bar.
And if you're interested in Alaska, well, what are you waiting for?