Bone, oil and fiber

3 Atlin artists bring works to Juneau

Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2001

East of Juneau lies a tiny town on a big lake. For sculptor Maureen Morris, quilter Shirley Connolly and painter Linda O'Neill, Atlin is an inspiring place to live and work.

The breathtaking alpenglow, profuse summer wildflowers and wildlife provide material and subjects for the artists.

This weekend the three Atlin artists bring a range of artwork to Juneau for a three-day show at Gallery Art and Framing. Carved antlers and sculpted bone, oil paintings of Atlin-area landscapes and quilted wall-hangings will be displayed.

"We're not very far away," said Connolly, who has lived in Atlin for 40 years. "We've just got a bunch of mountains and that glacier between us."


Connolly's quilts and wall-hangings have been featured in fiber arts magazines and design books. Her designs evolve from photographs and sketches she makes in the Atlin area and on trips overseas. She will have about a dozen pieces in the show, ranging from 18-by-24 inches to 30-by-40 inches.

"They say if you work with color all winter you don't get cabin fever," Connolly said. "I don't, and I guess that's why."

Another factor may be her three trips to Bali, an island in Indonesia. One piece in this show, colored fabric forming a pattern of leaves, was inspired by the lush vegetation there.

Juneau artist Sharron Lobaugh organized the show and will host it at her Fritz Cove Road gallery.

"I have a cabin and property in Atlin and I paint there quite a bit," Lobaugh said. "These are friends of mine I've known for years and they're terrific artists. So I invited them to come over."

The Atlin area provides sculptor Morris with the materials for her art. She uses bone and antler in her work, and much of it is supplied by her husband, a surveyor and prospector who brings home the weathered remains of wolfkilled moose and caribou.

"They're so beautiful just as they are, especially when they're weathered," Morris said. "They (have) gorgeous shapes and curves."

The show will feature several

pendants and 18 carvings, included three that use a pelvis bone, probably from a moose, Morris said. In the socket where the upper leg bone joins the pelvis, Morris has placed an owl head she carved from moose antlers.

"To me it looks like a bird in flight with the wings out," she said.

Morris studied art and sculpture at the Vancouver (British Columbia) School of Art. She's been carving for 27 years in Atlin and shows her work in galleries in Whitehorse.

Most of Morris' carvings are stylized birds and fish and incorporate the subtle coloring and natural curves of the antler, said Lobaugh. Her works evoke the feelings of wings in flight or the essence of a fish in fluid motion.

Painter O'Neill has lived in Atlin since 1977. She has exhibited her paintings in the Yukon and in British Columbia, and her drawings have been used to illustrate Yukon Territory publications on natural resources.

"Linda does beautiful, vibrant color" paintings, Connolly said. "In the winter she uses the setting sun on the snow or on the town. She goes for those dramatic colors. In the summer she likes flowers and the landscapes."

The exhibit is at Gallery Art and Framing, 3340 Fritz Cove Rd. The hours will be 5-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and noon-3 p.m. Sunday.


Riley Woodford can be reached at

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