The Art of the Sale

Craft bazaar showcases Alaska Native handiwork

DSC_9236For the second year in a row, Alaska Native artists and crafters sold their handmade wares at CIRI’s Annual Holiday Craft Bazaar, held on Friday, Dec. 4. And, for the second year, the event was a smashing success.

“I learned a lot from last year’s bazaar, and things went very smoothly this year,” said CIRI shareholder and employee Carolyn Bickley, who originally conceived the idea for the bazaar and organized the event again this year. “The new location at the Fireweed Business Center really created a nice flow from table to table.”

Thirty-six participants hosted tables this year, selling everything from beautiful ivory carvings and masks to kuspuks and ornaments, just in time for the holidays. Tables were reserved on a first-come, first-served basis, with preference given to CIRI shareholders and descendants. The event was open to the public.

Artists showcased a wide variety of offerings. Leon Misak Kinneeveauk of Anchorage, a self-described “struggling artist,” sold prints of stippled ink drawings depicting Inupiaq hunters and polar bears. “It’s hard to part with the original drawings because I spend so much time on each one,” said Kinneeveauk, who can work on a drawing for up to a month and a half. “I see drawing as a kind of meditation.”

The bazaar allowed Kinneeveauk to host his first vendor table since launching his own business as a way to get back on his feet after several years in prison. He used services from Cook Inlet Tribal Council to help reintegrate into society.

At the next table, Kenaitze artist and CIRI descendant Rob Johnson’s “up-cycled junkyard” designs offered something a little different: metal fish and other sea creatures made from junked cars. “I’ve always seen treasure in trash,” Johnson explained. It’s hard to believe art can come from junk, but he finds inspiration in his materials. “I keep the original color of the source. That fish there—the car it came from was yellow, so the fish is yellow.”

In addition to the art and crafts for sale, Bickley also organized a silent auction of donated items to benefit the Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC). The auction raised over $4,300—100 percent of which will fund ANHC’s education and arts programming.

“I love doing crafts myself, and I love helping shareholders, too,” Bickley says of her enthusiasm for the annual event.

With Sincere Appreciation

Thank you to the following donors and volunteers for their support:

Alaska Aces
Alaska Billiard Palace
Alaska Native Heritage Center
Alaska Railroad
Allure Day Spa
Bear Tooth Theatrepub & Grill
Bristol Bay Native Corporation
Browman Development Co.
CIRI Alaska Tourism Corporation
Cook Inlet Tribal Council
Cruz Construction, Inc.
Cruz Energy Services LLC
Cruz Marine LLC
Davis Constructors and Engineers Inc.
King River, LLC
Pfeffer Development
The Quilt Tree
Snow City Café
Bryon Amos
Jenny Arnold
Rachel Batres
Carolyn Bickley
Roxanne Burdette
Michael Clark
Cynthia Darosett
Barbara Donatelli
Tanisha Gleason
Sheila Hague
Charlene Juliussen
Marilyn Kuzuguk
Charles and Lance Lane
Karen Lane
Shampagne Magee
Lisa McKinney
Neva Metinzger
betsy Peratrovich
Angie Richards
Bonnie Rud
Tammy Schuldt
Lester Stephan
Lucy Untiet