First Friday

Broadsheets, sirens, Coco Bolo and rain

Posted: Thursday, October 06, 2005

A collection of 64 broadsides - matted poster-size papers, manually pressed with calligraphy, poetry and prose - is on display this month at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, 206 North Franklin St., to celebrate the art of the written word.

"How the Ink Feels: A traveling Exhibit of Letterpress Broadsides by Distinguished Artists and Writers" is on loan from The Friends of William Stafford - a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the prolific writer and onetime Oregon poet laureate.

The broadsides are collaborations between printers, writers, woodcut artists, designers and paper makers and include the work of Stafford, and four U.S. poet laureates. Others include: James Agee, Robert Bly, Ursula LeGuin, Robert Hass, Jane Hirshfield, Rita Dove, Stanley Kunitz and Howard Nemerov.

"How the Ink Feels" is on a six-city tour of Alaska, sponsored and coordinated by the Alaska State Council on the Arts. Executive Director Charlotte Fox saw the exhibit in the Lower 48 and helped bring it here. The display was in Homer late last month, and will continue to Fairbanks, Kodiak, Ketchikan and Anchorage.

Stafford, born Jan. 17, 1914, wrote 67 volumes before his death in 1993 in Lake Oswego, Ore. His first book of poetry was published in 1960. A few years later, he won the National Book Award for "Traveling through the Dark." He was a poetry consultant for The Library of Congress and the Oregon state poet laureate.

The exhibit started as a small collection of broadsides, created by a circle of literary friends. When Stafford died, it was given to the Friends of William Stafford.

The full 64-piece exhibit takes up almost 200 feet of wall space. All 64 pieces will not be in the JAHC gallery at the same time. The full exhibit includes three video pieces and two audio presentations. Those will not be in display in Juneau.

In conjunction with the exhibit, Sitka author John Straley, a former student of Stafford's, will teach a writing workshop, "The Legacy of William Stafford and Writing Every Day," from 1-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 22-23, in Centennial Hall's Hammond Room. Classes are limited to 15 students, all ages. Call 586-2787 for more information.

The Friends of the Juneau Public Library will also host a Straley reading at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at the downtown Juneau Public Library.

• ANNIE KAILL'S, 244 Front St.: Juneau artist Asha Falcon, known for her layered watercolors of cabins and guardian angels, is back with 12 new paintings (20 overall) for her first solo show since a May 2004 exhibition at the former Rock Paper Scissors gallery.

Falcon has had a number of works in the Ruby Room's series of themed exhibitions. A few of those, including a mermaid she painted for the gallery's "Addiction" show, will appear at Annie Kaill's.

Falcon's angel characters are guardians, meant to protect some semblance of innocence and project their own spirits and personalities. She's also branched off into sirens.

Her cabins, quiet and inviting, rest on imaginary promontories, loosely based on actual settings around Juneau and the rest of the state.

"If there was a warped children's book," she said, "these would be the pictures."

Falcon has been working on a new iconic style and has been tinkering with new color combinations, mostly greens and oranges. Six of her new pieces were completed this summer; four last winter.

"I'm not sure there's anything that I'm trying to say, specifically," Falcon said. "I think that people get it. They see part of themselves, or something that resonates with them for certain personal reasons. When I paint them, they just show up."

• JUNEAU ARTISTS GALLERY, 175 South Franklin St.: Woodcraft artist Les Howard will display a new collection of yellow cedar bowls and place settings (plates, bowls and mugs) as the featured artist for October.

A Juneau resident since 1975, and an Alaskan since 1971, Howard has been turning wood since retiring from a job with the state in 1990. He's self-taught and works out of his home, garage and backyard. He's been selling pen sets and bowls at craft fairs since 1999.

Howard prefers to work with Douglas Maple, Southeast Alaska's lone maple. He finds some broken branches near Mendenhall Glacier and harvests more from his cabin property at Hood Bay, near Angoon. His second-favorite wood is "Algerita," a yellow and dark-brown wood that he finds near his brother's home in New Mexico.

Howard buys yellow cedar near Hoonah for his bowl sets, creates candleholders from Coco Bolo and has lately been making rough-cut picture frames.

• LITTLE CITY GALLERY, Emporium Mall, 171 Shattuck Way: Little City will be open with its usual collection of local exhibitors and antique art. Juneau artist Rebecca Canaday, who has had her art on display at the gallery since the summer, has added a new piece.

• RUBY ROOM, Emporium Mall, 171 Shattuck Way: The hidden gallery in the Emporium Mall, tucked behind Heritage Coffee and adjacent to Lucid Reverie, returns with another themed show: "Rain." Expect a collection of paintings, drawings and multimedia work related to the brooding skies.

• SILVERBOW INN, 120 Second St.: Juneau jazz band FleetStreet will play from 5:30-8:30 p.m. during the next three First Fridays (Oct. 7, Nov. 4 and Dec. 2) at the Backroom at the Silverbow. Admission is free, and refreshments, not free, will be available.

FleetStreet (Vicki Van Fleet, vocals; Jim Noel, piano; Tom Meyer, drums; Doug Bridges, saxophone; Dave Ham, bass; Sanro Lane, guitar) has been together for seven years. The band plays jazz standards, but has been adding blues and more contemporary (1960s-1970s) material into their sets.

"We're trying different things, but it's real casual," Van Fleet said. "Just come in, sit down, rest your feet and have a glass of wine or beer. Relax. It's Friday night."

• Korry Keeker can be reached at

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