Karen Ottenbreit on thu 9 jul 98
As far as Jonh R. comment on the Alaskan market goes... he is right,...
there is money to be made... lots of visitors grace our state in a short
period of time. However, I have noticed over the years that a great
majority look for one of two things; really cheap stuff (usually made in
Taiwan with the word Alaska slapped on it somewhere) and/or "MADE IN
ALASKA" stuff. ( Some of the things I've seen that are "made in Alaska" are
equally cheesey looking) The folks trapped in the tour groups usually have
very little free time to paruse the local galleries and end up being
limited to what their chosen tour company offers them in the way of
"souvineers".... not to mention the space and weight restrictions they
often have with their luggage. Local artists/craftsfolk whom cater to the
tourist crowd spend a lot of time and effort shipping out their customer's
purchases to their home. (Shipping to and from is a HUGE consideration when
dealing with or from Alaska) The folks who really do well are those who
do the poured ceramics pieces. They are able to mass produce them by the
hundred or thousands.
Some owners of the nicer galleries will either deal EXCLUSIVELY
with Alaska artists or will attend Buyers Markets down in the Lower Forty
Eight. The folks whom recognize quality will pay for it happily.... whether
it's from Ancorage, Fairbanks or Tacoma, WA.
I am always very amused when a traveler, who has spent a great deal of time
and money to travel to Alaska,... enters the shop looks around
disappointedly and asks why we don't have any South Western Style
pottery... because thats how their living room is decorated.
I'm not tring to disuade anyone from "Down There" away from the
Alaskan market....but It's not as easy as John implies ! LOL It wasn't
too very long ago when folks down flocked up to Alaska because they
believed that gold nuggets could be found laying in the streets....
Alaska,....where they streets are paved in gold !! really !