Thursday, June 16, 2016

Native Alaskan Inspiration...and a few more quilt shops

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Anchorage, Alaska, be sure to visit the Anchorage Museum. It is not only an incredibly informative museum with an entire hands-on learning lab for children (young and old alike), but it is also filled with inspiration for stitchers. I (Teri) would like to share a few of the pieces of Native Alaskan items that screamed appliqué inspiration to me. Enjoy!

This traditional apron from Eastern Siberia was worn by men and women; it is heavily beaded and trimmed with fur.
How fun would this be to embroider?

I love the appliqué and embroidered design on this hunting bag from the Alutiiq people of southwestern Alaska.

The simplicity of the embroidery design adds to the beauty of the sewing bag, also from the Alutiiq people. It is made from bleached seal throats and painted skin, and it is embroidered with caribou hair. 

This sewing pouch was also embroidered with caribou hair, but was from the Unangax people, also from southern Alaska.

These beautifully beaded mittens are made from moose skin; they are from the Athabascan people, traditionally from Interior Alaska. The mittens often were beaded with leaf and flower designs. 

This Athabascan baby belt was used to support babies held on their mother's or sister's back.
What a beautiful appliquéd border design this would be on a quilt!

A wealthy Athabascan man might dress his sled dog in one of these elaborately embroidered and beaded blankets.

This beautifully beaded octopus bag, named for its eight dangling arms, is from the Tligit people, of the southeastern panhandle of Alaska.

This dance tunic has the Killer Whale crest design, also of Tlingit origin.
I am not sure how this was made, but the design it certainly striking.

This Haida dance tunic has a Bear crest: red wool appliquéd on black, outlined with shell buttons. 

Red wool hunting bag with beaded designs, also of the Haida people from southeastern Alaska.

There is a story of a halibut depicted on this Tsimshian button robe.

Sculpins are represented on these dance leggings, appliquéd and beaded; the tails rested on the top of the dancer's moccasins.

Inspiration is everywhere! I was completely enthralled by the beauty in the stitching of these artifacts, with such intricate designs and needlework. To think that in the midst of surviving such harsh conditions, time was taken to create such lovely patterns and pictures with their needles—both on ceremonial and everyday items. It does support the importance that such artistry has in our lives, doesn't it?

And with all that inspiration, what's a girl to do but visit more quilt shops?! I found three more in Anchorage. At first I wondered how one city could have so many quilt shops, but it was easy to see that each shop had its own unique flavor and offerings. I could be in deep financial trouble if I lived so close to all these shops. There was so much to tempt me, and so little room left in my suitcases!

First, we found the shop that had the booth at the market that I wrote about last week in At Home in a Quilt Shop. Seams Like Home had a bit of everything—machines, quilt fabric, classes, yarn, ribbon, silk, and friendly staff!

Yarn! And ribbon and embroidery threads.

Less than half of the store's fabric selection—an impressive inventory. 

The next stop was The Quilt Zone. The minute I walked in, I was drawn to the corner of beautiful Japanese taupes. The store was filled with lovely selections of modern brights, as well as reproduction fabrics. The owner is a designer, and her stunning work hangs throughout the shop. 


From neutrals to brights, her quilt designs are impressive and fun to study, as is her fabric selection.


Our final stop for the day was The Quilt Tree and Yarn Branch. I wasn't able to spend as much time here, as it was nearing closing time; but again, what a lot this shop had to offer, as you can probably surmise from its name. 


Top left: a corner filled with yarn and supplies. Top right: buttons galore!
Below: a section of Alaskan-themed fabrics.
A tiny sampling of what is available in this shop. 

Well, that about wraps up my travels to Alaska. I have returned home with so much inspiration and ideas for new projects—and dreams of hopefully returning next summer for another visit to this quilter's paradise! Thanks for coming along for the ride. I hope that you, too, have found something to inspire a few of your stitches.

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