As we make a move into a house or rental, new to us or newly constructed, it often comes with the challenge of how to make the living space our own. In Southeast Alaska, we have the option of acquiring and displaying artwork such as wall hangings, photographs, paintings, sculptures, and seasonal decorations that make the statement: “We live in a wild and beautiful region with a human history that encompasses millennia.”
There are plenty of such choices to be found at the 33rd annual Alaska-Juneau Public Market. The three-day event is held every Thanksgiving Day weekend.
Each year, vendors from all over Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and other regions including Canada, set up at the Public Market to sell products ranging from the practical (custom-made knives/outdoor hiking aids), to the wearable (fur mittens, felted hats, scarves), to the decorative (hand painted Christmas ornaments), to the givable (wooden toys), as well as such suitable items for household décor as glass art, paintings, and sculptures.
“Magpie & Squid” is a mother daughter team who love working with glass – fused glass for Kris (the Magpie) and stained glass for Sydney (the Squid). Kris lives in Wrangell and her daughter Sydney, who recently moved to Dutch Harbor, collaborates at a distance (over 1,400 miles as the raven flies). Kris Reed says that both she and her daughter are inspired by the natural beauty of coastal Alaska. “Being a temperate rainforest, the palette here trends toward grays and muted blue-greens except on those incredible days when the sun breaks through and the world explodes into crisp, brilliant color. The same effervescence and joyful overabundance of color found on a sunny day in Southeast makes its way into our work.“
The mother and daughter artists produce stained glass lampshades, fused glass platters and plates, and shadow box wall art.
A unique aspect of their artwork is fusing outlines of indigenous plant fronds, such as cedar or fern, onto pre-cut glass shapes. Powered glass is sifted over the fronds, which are removed as the piece is placed in their kiln for a first firing. These pieces are often re-fired to shape by slumping into an inverted shape like a bowl or draping over a convex shape.
“Our art is ever young and ever changing as we move from one ‘favorite’ technique to the next,” says Kris Reed. “But through it all, our love for and appreciation of the beauty in which we live inspires our choice of materials and, in many cases, is included, in one form or another, in our creations.”
Award winning artist Lisa Lemay-Doyon of Ketchikan, is making a triumphal return as a Public Market vendor, having overcome a minor setback that necessitated her last minute withdrawal from participating in the 2014 Public Market. Doyon, who first displayed her style of artwork in Juneau at the 2013 Public Market, presented objects that would be the pride of any Alaskan homeowner — large format Japanese-style (Gyotaku) fish prints, as well as her beautiful and unique baskets, rattles, and sculptures made of beach finds such as driftwood, shells, glass floats, and dried kelp that she collects during her beach combing adventures.
Patti Hitchens Jouppi, a long-time Alaskan and now a two-year resident of Juneau, will display for sale her original paintings that feature local scenic backdrops to wildlife, primarily avian, such as raptors, ravens, and migratory birds. She also produces imagined ancient scenes of Alaska Natives in familiar settings, like her canoe with a dozen Tlingit paddlers in their regalia crossing Auke Lake.
Other vendors include the venerable Betty Bell, who displays her stoneware and hand-thrown pottery in the Egan Room; and in the Sheffield Ballroom, Walter Bennett of Palmer and his Native art, carvings, and textiles, and Toby Harbanuk, life-long resident of Juneau, who will be selling his photography — aerials and ice caverns — as photo prints and embedded in kitchen-friendly cutting boards.
And well worth the visit, the Public Market Annex in the JACC will host vendors such as Mark Cozzi of Skagway selling all things mushrooms (Mark “The Fun Guy”); Bonnie Herbold of Juneau who produces various oils & vinegar combinations; and Al Tingley with his wooden tableware.
The Public Market is open from noon to 7 pm on Friday and from 10 am to 5 pm. on Saturday and Sunday.
Photos and story by Peter Metcalfe who, with his wife Sandy, produces the annual Alaska-Juneau Public Market.