By Peter Metcalfe | Moving into a house, whether newly constructed or new to you, requires the personal touch to make it feel like a home. Impersonal scenics and curios can be found in any bed and breakfast, but a new home needs your own selection of artwork, photos, wall hangings, and heirloom quality items to add warmth and personality — and there are plenty of choices to be found at the 32nd annual Alaska-Juneau Public Market.
Steven C. Brown of Sequim, WA, a vendor new to the Public Market but well known to aficianados of Northwest Coast Native art, will be selling heirloom quality pocket watches engraved with totemic images, suitable for display on any mantelpiece or well lighted alcove.
Award winning artist Lisa Lemay-Doyon of Ketchikan, returning for her second year as a vendor, will offer a variety of artwork that would be the pride of any Alaskan homeowner, including unique baskets, rattles, sculptures made of materials found on Southeast beaches, and Japanese-style fish prints.
Dean Snook of Houston, AK, a Public Market vendor since 1998, creates beautiful, collector-quality wooden boxes that can be used for everything from storing jewelry to silverware.
Brown says he has had a life-long fascination with pocket watches. When he came across a hand-engraved watch some years ago, it struck him as a perfect medium for his skills as an accomplished carver of Northwest Coast art, a subject that he has covered extensively as a museum curator, book writer, and lecturer. He found that acquiring suitable pocket watches, especially those with high quality silver and gold cases, became increasingly difficult until the advent of Ebay about 15 years ago, by which he acquired enough watches to keep himself in production. Brown willingly accepts commissions, but advises that he is only interested in engraving gold or silver cases. The nickel cases, misleadingly labeled “Alaska silver,” do not take well to hand engraving. He has taken a space in the Public Market Annex at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center, and will also have for sale a variety of silver Northwest Coast style bracelets and jewelry.
Lisa Lemay Doyon deserves recognition as among the most enthusiastic new vendors at the Public Market. Born on her logging family’s floating camp, she became as familiar with the beaches of Southeast Alaska as most of us were with the back yards of our families’ homes. Her signature creations are sculptures of dried seaweed and bull kelp, including baskets and rattles, adorned with glass beads, shells, glass fishing floats, and other objects she finds while beachcombing. One of Doyon’s fish prints that she makes using the traditional Japanese Gyotaku method, might be the perfect addition to a kitchen wall in need of adornment. She can be found in the Egan Room at Centennial Hall.
A veteran of the Public Market, Dean Snook has presented at all but three annual events since 1998. Other obligations kept him away last year to the dismay of a number of people keen on purchasing the perfect Christmas gift. Snook returns to the same section he has occupied for many years, facing the left set of entry doors to the Sheffield Ballroom. The majority of his intricately constructed wood boxes are of Alaska Birch, which he acquires from a sawmill in the Matanuska Valley. The dark hardwood embellishments include a wide variety of exotic woods.
Vendors such as Brown, Doyon, and Snook have presented at every Alaska-Juneau Public Market since 1983, when it was among the first events at the brand new Juneau Centennial Hall and Convention Center. The 31-year-old building is now undergoing extensive renovations. During Thanksgiving weekend this year, brand new restrooms will be open, but one small section off the lobby, the Davis Room, will be closed. To alleviate parking issues, the “Public Market bus” will be making rounds of downtown every 15 minutes during the busiest hours of the weekend.
The Public Market will be open from noon to 7 p.m. on Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, November 28, 29, and 30.
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Photos and story by Peter Metcalfe who, with his wife Sandy, produces the annual Alaska-Juneau Public Market. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, also see www.juneaupublicmarket.com