Made in Skagway
Skagway's Artistic Heritage
Skagway has long been known as the "Gateway to the Klondike" referring to its strategic position to access the gold fields of the Yukon during the gold rush of 1896-1899. One important aspect of Skagway that has escaped most people's attention is the depth and quality of its many artists and craftspeople. This page is dedicated to promoting the arts and crafts in Skagway and to give greater visibility to the talented individuals who have made Skagway a successful artistic community.
This small southeast Alaska community has a strong tradition of art going back many centuries of Tlingit (clingk-it) settlement. In the Tlingit culture, art is pervasive. Everything is adorned with exquisite art work including house fronts, screens, totem poles, ceremonial staffs, hats and blankets, paddles and canoes, storage and eating utensils, and weapons. There is still a native influence in Skagway's art especially with native carvers.
Skagway's European art tradition goes back to the gold rush days. During the hustle and bustle of the stampede there existed a small number of artists/craftspeople who made a living creating and selling their work. Herman Kirmse opened a jewelry store in 1897 and his jewelry creations in gold, Alaskan ivory, and silver became world renowned and he won several awards at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909. At the turn of the century there was a furniture maker, and the music publishing house of Latimer Musigraph had artists on staff such as, photographers, etchers, designers and engravers. The house also produced half-tone and line-cut works including maps. Painters such as Vic Sparks continued to keep this artistic energy strong well into the 50's and 60's.
Skagway's Contemporary Art
The closing of the railroad in 1982 led to a significant change in Skagway's economy. The town moved from being a transshipment hub to a tourist destination. This led to a transformation of the arts in Skagway from being a small part of the economy to eventually becoming a significant sector in itself. Today, while the majority of artists are white, the art and crafts produced are many and varied. These arts encompass a broad variety of mediums and traditions, while the artists themselves come from as varied a background as the art they produce. The many different forms include wood carving, ivory carving, painting, drawing, photography, ceramics, jewelry making, corset design and making, quilting, silk scarves, glass fusion, bead making, stained glass, and fine furniture & cabinetry. With as much variety as this, you will always find something you like.
A Fine Line's - Gold Vein Designs Porcelain Jewelry are individually hand painted by Jeanie. Each piece is fired in a kiln three times, layering the glazes and 14K gold to ensure high quality color and durability. Jeanie has lived in Alaska for 25 years and owns a small gallery in the heart of Skagway's Historic Business District.
551 Broadway Phone: 907-983-2468
P.O. Box 351
Skagway, AK 99840
While I’ve been photographing for over 20 years, the 12 years of shooting in Alaska have been the most satisfying. A career in photojournalism took me from the Alaska Arctic to Anchorage to Southeast Alaska. Throughout, the land and people have provided a visual bounty.
P.O. Box 631 Phone: 907-983-3393
Skagway, AK 99840
In January 1987, the Skagway Community Education program offered a Stained Glass workshop for beginners. I enrolled and have enjoyed the craft ever since. My studio, Translucent Treasures, is a part-time endeavor which I share with my regular work life. I create autonomous panels and lampshades, commissioned unique work, windows, and acid etching. My work graces homes as close as my neighbor's sun room and as far away as Florida.
PO. Box 79
Skagway, AK 99840
Bruce Schindler - Schindler Carvings
My father was a cabinetmaker and my grandfather carved wood and silver as a hobby, so I guess my desire to carve stems from them. Carving fossil ivory drew my interest in the summer of 1993 when I first arrived in Skagway after graduating from college. Today, it is my livelihood and I've chosen fossil ivory because of its incredible beauty and agelessness. My goal is to carve simple yet bold designs that emphasize the beauty, age, and the varying conditions of burial of the ivory.
As a freelance landscape photographer, I look to the natural beauty that surrounds me everyday for limitless photographic inspiration and adventure. Exposure to the beauty of the natural world has created a personal passion for the preservation and stewardship of nature, which I express through photography. I feel that photography not only provides aesthetic pleasure for the eyes, but is also an artistic medium that delivers a very genuine understanding of who we are, and how we fit in.
My photographs have been hung in local and state museums. I have especially become recognized for aurora (northern lights) photography.
Tina loves color! She works and plays in several mediums, experimenting with various materials and colors as revealed in her watercolor paintings, stained glass mosaics, as well as the design & creation of glass bead and precious stone jewelry. Inspired by spectacular scenery, wonderful friends and fellow artisans, a dynamic Alaskan energy radiates from all Tina’s work.
Tina was born in Skagway where she maintains a home and manages Skagway Artworks Gallery with her artisan partner, Ralf Gorichanaz. Tina is appreciative of the flourishing tourism industry that allows her an opportunity to showcase her creative side to visitors from all over the world.
P.O. Box 21 Phone: 907-983-2041
Skagway, AK 99840
The Wassman's are a family of carvers accomplished in and known for their distinctive and unique carvings using mammoth and walrus fossil ivory and rare, exotic hardwoods from around the world. These ancient materials are used to create one-of-a-kind art including sculptures, wall masks, exquisite vessels and carved knife handles.
Their line of jewelry incorporates fossil ivory and amber, precious and semi-precious stones and silver into stunning necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pins and pendants.