Holiday gifting is officially in crunch mode with Christmas, Slavi, & Hanukkah all just around the corner. If you haven’t found the perfect gift to wrap up for your loved ones, best friend, secret Santa, or that upcoming Eskimo Bingo game … don’t fret I have a holiday roundup of my favorite local Bristol Bay small business goods to get you inspired!
One of my favorite businesses that started this year in Bristol Bay has to be Bristol Bay Brailer, LLC. Owned and operated by a local fishing family, Diane Hill of Naknek, AK is the businesses sole seamstress and their Tote Bag (in blue) has been my go to bag since it was gifted to me for my birthday this past June. Top quality stitching, as durable as a brailer intended to deliver the catch in, these tote bags are the perfect gift to fill goods in at the farmer’s market or lung around your school books, as I did for the past several months. They make brailer bags for commercial fishing here in the Bay, as well as slush bags for chilling your catch, and mini brailers, perfect for hauling in firewood.
If you are in the market for clothing – womens, mens, or childrens – Brook Spurlock’s Midnight Inks are a gorgeous and unique choice. Brook’s designs are screen printed onto good quality brands such as Alternative Earth apparel, but she also always has a table at craft bazaars of clothing she has picked up at our local thrift shop Ulla’s to add repurposed component to her brand.
She is constantly adding new designs with more and more intricate patterns, overlaying colors, and this year she began selling her extremely popular trucker hats with stitched on screen prints that are all kinds of awesome! She is currently building her Etsy shop intending to launch this spring, but in the mean time she can be reached at email@example.com and will ship her wares to wherever suites your fancy!
Paintings, murals, pyrography, oh my! Apayo Moore’s amazing art will fill your soul with joy and leave you filled with wanderlust to also, as she says, be “Inspired by Bristol Bay”. Apayo has been an artist as long as I have had the privilege of calling her my friend and well before that.
Apayo has painted murals in Juneau, Dillingham, Bethel, New Stuyahok, and Anchorage, all Yupik life influenced and full of vibrant colors. She sells prints of her acrylic work on canvas, hoodies and tees sporting her graphic designs, takes logo contracts for businesses and events, commissions fantastic wood burned salmon made on hand milled local spruce planks, and even instructs for painting parties. Her talents know no bounds and her art brings happiness to any room it enters. Find her work on her Facebook page or her website Apayo Art.
Tundra Love, a business owned and operated by two gals in the Bay, takes their love of the tundra and the bounty it offers to create lotions, bath bombs, salves, bug sprays & creams, even beard and massage oils along with many other natural hand crafted products. Made with local ingredients such as chaga, wild chamomile, chickweed, chythlook (wormwood), and rose hips their products made from mini plants have mighty benefits. Solar infused, with Love, from Alaska’s Midnight Sun they say. We always keep a tub of their Fisher’s Salve on hand for windburned cheeks and rough working hands. You can find their products locally in Dillingham at N&N Market, L&M Supply, and every farmer’s market or conveniently they sell online.
Ekuk Wild Salmon & Halibut Co. while not what one may consider art, sells a medium I love to craft and create with – salmon!
I have told you guys about this company before and I happen to know they have some boxes of flash frozen, vacuum sealed, bubblewrap encased, wax boxed packaged, fillets ready to ship anywhere, in Alaska or the Lower 48 near one of their few distribution sites, at an orders notice. The perfect gift for an awesome holiday meal and a little freezer stockpile. Bring in 2017 knowing where your dinner was caught, who filleted and packed it, and feel good supporting a wild sustainable fishery.
Etched by Erica, based in Dillingham, is a glass etching business that specializes in fish themed and other whimsical designs imprinted on mason jars, mugs, and her festive lit up glass blocks. She takes custom orders and carefully plans each detail for a polished product. For a full inventory send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to reach Erica herself.
His website includes a gallery of available art that would surely cheer anyone’s holiday spirit!
Lastly it is the season of giving and if I didn’t mention some worthy entities of support here in Bristol Bay I’d be remiss. Plus it’s easy to donate, they all have online donation buttons embedded in their websites:
- Safe and Fear Free Enviroment, Inc known locally as SAFE is the Bristol Bay Region’s shelter, prevention, and advocacy agency. Additionally they run a youth center, Ullas our thrift store, an annual marathon, and so much more.
- KDLG Bristol Bay’s one and only public radio station covers everything from Open Line, commercial fishing announcements, local, state, & national news, to the local elementary Christmas program, they are currently doing a pledge drive to help keep the lights on!
- United Tribes of Bristol Bay – UTBB is constantly fighting for the rights of the Bristol Bay Region’s inhabitants and their ceaseless work fighting the Pebble Mine that threatens our salmon and watershed is nothing less than commendable.
For Christmas this year I will be making Pirok, a savory salmon pie with Bristol Bay sockeye, I’ll give a few gifts from all of these vendors, continue to love the region I live in, and be inspired by all the creative energy that abounds here.