Sunday, October 23, 2011

Native Crafting

Young entrepreneur wins award

AFN: Artists in villages could buy raw materials from trappers and hunters.
Meet 24-year-old Rebecca Wilbur, an entrepreneur with her eye on becoming the Michael's crafts store of Quinhagak.

Keeping up with AFN
The annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention continues today at the Dena'ina Center. It's open to the public. The event is also being broadcast live on GCI cable, ARCS and 360 North, streamed at and broadcast live.
Artists in the cash-poor Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta need beads and bones, leather and carving tools to make projects, she said, but it can cost more than $600 to fly to Anchorage for supplies. Wilbur's solution: Import the craft components, buy raw materials from neighboring hunters and trappers, and sell to artists in nearby villages.
"I want to provide the supplies for kuspuk making, for putting bracelets together," said Wilbur, whose business is called Yup'ik Originals. "The string, beads. (Supplies for) making earrings and hair pins and everything that I guess defines who we are."
Voters in the Alaska Marketplace competition -- a contest to win seed money to start small rural businesses -- awarded Wilbur the people's choice award at this year's Alaska Federation of Natives convention. She'll take home $6,000 from the competition.
If the business model works, other supply shops could sprout up around the Y-K, Wilbur said.
"There aren't many jobs in the community, and we are hoping that with our business, we can help our artists flourish," she said. "And at the same time, we want to encourage trappers to go trapping by purchasing their raw hides."
Eventually, Wilbur hopes to buy art from artists across the region and sell the work at the Bethel Saturday market or at the AFN crafts fair.
"People spend so much time making their art that they don't break even," Wilbur said.
Grab a seat at the AFN convention this year and someone might hand you a credit card-sized gadget that looks a little like a calculator. It allows the audience to participate in informal flash surveys or polls.
On Friday, delegates were asked if they agree with this statement: "I think our rural communities can survive into the future."
More than 70 percent of the 500-plus people who responded said yes.
"How do you rate the Native community for working effectively to address homelessness and transiency among our people," another question asked.
Seventy-four percent said the community does a poor job. Asked to rate the state of Alaska's performance in providing adequate programs that combat Alaska Native homelessness and transiency, 81 percent of respondents said the state does poorly too.
Read More Here:


Debi said...

GREAT post.

missy said...

What an inspiration Rebecca Wilbur is. I wish her the best of luck in her flourishing future.

I agree that this is a great post!

Hugs to you Nan,

GardenofDaisies said...

I hope she does really well with her business!!

My Vintage Mending said...

I can only imagine how wonderful not only the art but the culture is. In such a beautiful part of the country it has to be amazing. Love these posts. Thanks for sharing your part of the country with us...smiles...Renee

margits bastelstube said...

hi nan,
thank your for your nice comment on my blog.
I am very interested for alaska.
these report is very, very fine!

Search This Blog