Story last updated at 6/18/2013 - 2:28 pm
"I'm one of those eccentric artists," said Shaelyn Tucker, the founder of Southeast Artisans'. "I do just about everything - silversmith, beading, leather, metal, custom wedding accessories, clothing, custom dresses. A little bit of just about every art medium there is. Some painting and drawing."
Tucker's mission for her business is to provide a venue for local artists to showcase and sell their work, provide studio space and host workshops. Tucker started the business, which is located on the north side of the Nugget Mall parking lot, in February 2013. She saw a large vacancy in the venues for local craftsmen to show their creations.
"Anybody that produces something is allowed to show it here," Tucker said, adding that the artist just has to donate four hours per month of his or her time to volunteering at the shop. "We're already representing over 70 local artists, and growing every day."
In addition to the large retail space which is full of a large spectrum of art mediums, Southeast Artisans' hosts a multitude of workshops, including hide-tanning, a moccasin class, beading, wood carving and classes specifically for children.
The workshop space also doubles as a weekend yard sale, (tables can be rented for $15), and Tucker encourages various groups to utilize for practice, rehearsals and meetings. As she talked, members of a fencing club funneled by.
"We have a little bit of everything to do with the art culture," Tucker said.
When asked about her biggest triumph, Tucker said she's proud that the facility has created an environment for many artists who aren't necessarily comfortable presenting their work in other venues. She said that some of the people that create art shown in the retail portion of her store experience mental illnesses. She cited one example of a man who has been housebound. Upon hearing about Southeast Artisans' he was excited and left his house for the first time in a while to bring down some of his work: painted Bear Bread, a type of fungus that typically grows on downed trees.
Tucker said that she hopes the facility will continue grow. Many tour buses use the parking lot in front of the facility as a staging area in between shuttling tourists around the city and she would like to use this to the store's advantage.
Tucker said she choose the business' name as a way to indicate that she wants her venue to be by, for and of the people.
"It was intended for the overall ownership to be of all artisans; for this place to be their home, a place for gathering."
For further information the facility has a Facebook page, and Tucker can be reached at: Southeastartisans@gmail.com or on Facebook.
Making Local Work is a biweekly feature made possible by Alaska Pacific Bank. To feature your Southeast Alaskan business, email firstname.lastname@example.org.