What can one say about Sitka, Alaska?! This was my second time there and as before, I fell madly in love with the people. You have to be pretty special to live on an island inhabited by only about 8,000 people. There are probably more wild life than humans. The photo to the right was taken inside Tam's house and is pretty typical of what the locals see on a daily basis. Actually, not typical. There should be dozens more Bald Eagles sitting in the trees observing the pickings below. I had seen dozens more earlier in the day, but my camera was at the place we held the workshop.
For those of you not sure of where Sitka is, it is an island south west of Juneau. It is breathtakingly beautiful. Snow covered mountains that drop into the ocean, rugged shore lines, dormant volcanoes, bears, eagles and unique and friendly people. Oh, and excellent fishing.
I was in Sitka to conduct a workshop with the Rainy Day Doll Makers. One evening one of the members, Vicki, took me to the Elks Club for dinner. There was a fund raiser for the St. Baldricks Foundation. A foundation that raises money for children's cancer research. I got caught up in the feeling of the night, and Vicki put down money, as did I, and I had my head shaved. Not too long ago one of my cousin's grandson's was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, a bone cancer that attacks children. Timmy was only 4 years old when he was diagnosed. No child should have to go through what he went through. So, you can see why I felt passionate about having my head shaved for the cause.
It was quite a shock to have my head completely shaved, but I wanted to get back to my natural color. This is one sure way of doing that. Plus, it helped raise funds for a worthy cause.
While in Sitka it started to snow. Sitka hadn't had a lot of snow this winter, so it was good that it did start to snow. Me? I loved it. We don't get much weather in San Diego and I do love weather. You can see Teresa and Michelle working hard on the dolls we were making.
I brought my Babylock embellishing machine and everyone loved using it. We created our own fabrics with the machine. Sue is creating the fabrics that she will use for Li Mei's corset and pouch. We used silk waste, roving, rods, Angelina Fibers and other fibers to create the fabric for the doll.
The weekend before I arrived, Sitka had a wearable art show. Several in the Rainy Day Doll Makers guild had garments in the show. To the right is Michelle with her garment. The tunic is made with pop tops (close up follows). The skirt is made with colored Saran Wrap. It is a stunning outfit. Truly beautiful and so unique.
This is the close-up of the tunic. Can you imagine the hours it took Michelle to put this together?
Julienne also had a garment in the show. She used several t-shirts that depicted Sitka on them. The photo to the right is the front of the garment. You can see the t-shirts along the bottom.
If you click on the photo it will take you to a larger image so you can see the construction a bit better.
The photo below is of the back of the garment. You can see more of the t-shirts here. A really fun garment, and one you could wear.
A couple other members of the guild had garments in the show, but they didn't bring them to show me. I'll have to have them send me pictures as I know all of us would enjoy seeing what they have done. As I said earlier, Sitka is full of wonderful people. All of them are wonderfully creative.
While in Sitka I was able to have a very unique meal – Halibut Cheeks. Yes. The cheeks of a halibut fish. I also had fresh salmon and amazing shrimp and oysters.
But, the best part of Sitka is its people. There are only about 14 miles that are inhabitable. This means that friendships are vital. Even though I'm not living there the people I have met and gotten to know have made me feel like a local.
This is the Rainy Day Doll Makers who took my class. They are all very special and wonderful doll makers.
I'll never be able to thank them enough for one of the best times I've had as a teacher.
God Bless all of you!