Michelle Ravenmoon sells salmon-bone earrings and other artisan products at the Soldotna Holiday Bazaar at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Michelle Ravenmoon sells salmon-bone earrings and other artisan products at the Soldotna Holiday Bazaar at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Art from home

From furs to dreamcatchers, local artisans show off ingenuity at holiday bazaar

Central peninsula artisans helped usher in the holiday season Saturday at the Soldotna Holiday Bazaar held at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

Michelle Ravenmoon, who makes Dena’ina art, displayed earrings, ornaments, dreamcatchers and knitted textiles. She said she moved from Lake Iliamna last year, and was testing the waters on Saturday to see how her business would fare.

“I’ve made jewelry probably for about 20 years,” Ravenmoon said. “I make parkas and I make slippers. … I’ve been doing that for about 10 years and it’s been one of the biggest challenges and most fun as far as crafting goes.”

She had showed off earrings made out of salmon cheekbones, as well as moose hair and salmon skin.

“The bears harvest (the salmon) first,” Ravenmoon said. “I can’t harvest them myself because if I cook the salmon head the cheekbones would curl up.”

After the bears have eaten their fill of salmon and left the carcass on the ground, she gathers the discarded extras for her earrings, she said.

“It’s a lot of steps,” Ravenmoon said. “First you go out and you harvest (the salmon) from wherever the bear left them on the side of the river.”

Afterward, she said, she cleans the bone, paints it, lets it dry, and then adds metal to stabilize the earring.

“So it’s about a weeklong process to make about 10,” Ravenmoon said.

Amanda Alaniz had a long table full of sewn fur products.

She runs a taxidermy and fur sewing business, Gold Standard Furs, from her house.

“I make all the fur hats and mitts and vests and everything here,” Alaniz said Saturday. “I work with local trappers and try to source everything as locally as I can, and I pride myself on making beautiful functional artwork.”

Fur hats were the majority of her products at the bazaar, some even with hollow taxidermy fox heads as the top of the cap.

“It’s part taxidermy, part art, part sewing,” Alaniz said. “I use a taxidermy form, but then I take the form away later and I make it … rigid.”

She was inspired to start her business when she moved to Alaska, she said.

“I saw people wearing hats like this and I’m like, ‘That’s the coolest thing ever,’” Alaniz said.

She also teaches sewing classes.

“I teach people how to make easier projects, generally like … handbags and mittens,” Alaniz said. “And like the Davy Crockett hat. Everybody loves a Davy Crockett hat.”

Julia Weeks, who was participating in a bazaar for the first time, was selling an array of woven products, including baskets, bowls, hot pads and quilts. Also on her table were jars of just-add-water pizza dough.

Weeks said she used to specialize in quilts, but wanted to start crafting something else.

“I got tired of making quilts and I thought, ‘what else can I do?’” she said. “So I started searching around on YouTube.”

After watching a few tutorials, Weeks decided to start making rope-woven products. She also had baskets and hot pads made out of denim at her booth.

“I had a bunch of old Levi’s blue jeans and I just cut them into strips,” she said. “And I started with that.”

The Soldotna Holiday Bazaar will be open at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

Michelle Ravenmoon sells salmon-bone earrings and other artisan products at the Soldotna Holiday Bazaar at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Michelle Ravenmoon sells salmon-bone earrings and other artisan products at the Soldotna Holiday Bazaar at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Amanda Alaniz sells fur products at the Soldotna Holiday Bazaar at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Amanda Alaniz sells fur products at the Soldotna Holiday Bazaar at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Amanda Alaniz sells fur products at the Soldotna Holiday Bazaar at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Amanda Alaniz sells fur products at the Soldotna Holiday Bazaar at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

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