I am a lifelong Alaskan and hold both American and Canadian citizenship. I’ve been an artist since I was a youngster, working in clothing design and construction, carving, drawing and pottery (the latter with my Mom). I have trained continuously with costumers, carvers and wood turners, anatomy and portraiture instructors, dollmakers and my own students. My dolls are commissioned wood portraits. Northern Natives and, more recently, the family members of the purchaser are my areas of concentration.
I carve these portraits in Alaskan woods, using indigenous Northwest Coast carving knives. I machine-stitch most of the body pieces, then hand-stich the fur, leather or fabric clothing with artificial sinew and bladed needles, or fibers from the fabrics themselves. Rare published materials and full-sized garments and implements are available for research in the Alaska State Historical Library and storerooms of the Alaska State Museum, a short walk from my studio. Accessible gatherings of present-day members of these groups offer me further rich information on the culture, regalia and physical variations of the vibrant Native groups of Canada, Alaska and sometimes, Siberia.
I pass along my accumulated skills teaching workshops for children and adults and courses in Alaskan schools, including branches of the University of Alaska in the southeastern panhandle of the state. I have also helped the Alaska State Museum develop a children’s curriculum for Native dollmaking, and have guided a number of young apprentices through dollmaking.