Lucky me!

I am a very lucky woman. I belong to a family of artists. Hence, my decor includes beautiful gifts.  There is nothing better than knowing that someone has given you something that is an integral part of themselves.

From my mother, Gert Svarny, an alabaster scupture.
From my mother, Gert Svarny, an alabaster scupture, "The Storyteller".

My friend, also an artist, just commented the other day – “You have a studio available to you right next door, and you aren’t there EVERYDAY???”  Well, I promised my mother, after April 30th, when StoryCorps wraps up.

A model iqyax^ made by my husband, Caleb.  He is crazy with the miniature tools!
A model iqyax^ made by my husband, Caleb. He is crazy with the miniature tools!

My mother did something that I also did with my kids, and that my daughter is doing with her son.  She allowed us free rein with art – mainly by providing us with blank paper and a medium.  Allowing young kids to experiment with art, and by this I mean young – as soon as they can sit up – gets those creative impulses pulsing. 

Water is hard to capture, but Alena manages with subtle style.
Water is hard to capture, but Alena manages with subtle style.

I have noticed that the younger the child is when introduced to art as an expression of self, the better equipped they are in allowing themselves to be creative.

Laresa isn't afraid of experimenting with color and style.
Laresa isn't afraid to experiment with color and style.

Living in communities that support their schools is one of the keys to having a heathy population.  I hope to never live in an area where the arts are not offered to the students in a community.  If a community is without an arts program in their school, teachers should play an important role in incorporating art into the other subjects that they teach. 

Made from an ivory tusk, Gert ground ochre to make the paint.
A snuff box, made from an ivory tusk, also showcases how Gert grinds ochre to make her paint.

The Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico was “home” to two of my sisters in the 80’s and to one of my daughters after high school in 2000.  

One of my favorite Svarny Hawthorne prints - "Flashbacks".
One of my favorite Svarny Hawthorne prints - "Flashbacks".

I am continually amazed at the multitudes of artists that we have in our community.  Two- and three-dimensional artists, musicians, writers, poets, photographers, wood workers  – you name it – we have it. 

I love the textures that Alena used in "The Octopus".
I love the textures that Alena used in "The Octopus".

Incorporating where you live and who  you are play a huge role in the success of your work.  Just as writers should write what they know, artists should take from their environment and their community values to create.

One of Laresa's assignments, utilizing the environment, culture, and language is one of my favorites.
One of Laresa's assignments, using the environment, culture, & language, is a favorite.


Expression can take all forms.  My oldest sister has a passion for language and a furious ability to champion and protect the environment.   My good friend Jerah can paint a picture with words.   I shouldn’t have been, but I was totally surprised when I found out my kids had been composing their own music.

Bentwood drum.
A bentwood drum, Caleb.

So…when the storms are bent on keeping you cooped up inside, read about something you don’t know about, learn a new instrument, or pick a medium and have at it.

10 thoughts on “Lucky me!

  1. Gosh, those are some great works. I wish I had the fine control to do something like that little model. I would be thrilled to have even one of them – you’re so lucky to have so many creative heads in your family!

    1. You probably have the control. I’ve found over the years that I have to limit my intake on sugar and caffeine if I am working the fine stuff! (Hope you don’t mind – I’ve added a link to your site.)

      1. Once upon a job, I had to do little `surgeries` on mice, so I know I could never manage that model project. And I don’t mind if you link it at all!

  2. You do have an amazing family, thank so much for posting those! It is definitely comforting knowing Caleb is right down the street as I ponder starting on that kayak this summer. All those pieces are fantastic, you must be very proud – and wise to allow the free expression of art and foster Alena and Laresa’s talents when they were young.

    1. The only down side of free expression was the fact that everytime I got the urge to create, “somebodies” had absconded with the art supplies! (Ask Alena about the 6 foot painting she never finished sometime!)

  3. Another good thing to do on stormy nights…read your blog! Thanks for posting your stories, poetry (SP’s bowl ;), photographs and some examples of the beautiful artwork of your family. I’ve been smiling at my computer screen now for quite some time. I couldn’t help but continue to press “older posts” and keep reading. But now I’m inspired to pull the chair up to the table and wet my own brush. Best wishes to you in your little house on the beach and to Unalaska

    from just a 3 day ferry ride away in Kodiak

    1. I’m glad you’re smiling, Shelly. Did you see the incredible, one and only Kristine in my StoryCorps tales? Unfortunately, lately, I have been a bit of bad blogger….life has been just too busy. Hopefully, now that our Christmas is completed, I will get back in the swing. But I think I said that after subsistence fishing, and berry picking, and the Museum Alaska conference, and….

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