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JUNEAU - As the average tourist takes their first stroll up Franklin St., they stop dead in their tracks at 2nd St., for it is there that they catch their first glimpse of Mt. Juneau and they just have to take a picture. They won't realize it until later, but they've also photographed Juneau's newest gallery, Bentwood and Bead.
New gallery showcases fine art for fine lives 062409 AE 1 CCW Staff Writer JUNEAU - As the average tourist takes their first stroll up Franklin St., they stop dead in their tracks at 2nd St., for it is there that they catch their first glimpse of Mt. Juneau and they just have to take a picture. They won't realize it until later, but they've also photographed Juneau's newest gallery, Bentwood and Bead.

Photo By Libby Sterling

Salty Hanes owns the new Bentwood and Bead gallery with her husband Jim.


Photo By Libby Sterling

Bentwood and Bead is housed in a bright yellow house in downtown Juneau.


Photos By Libby Sterling

Jim Hanes, a former marine biologist, has now made about 60 instruments in his career, as well as wooden sculptures and boxes and prints.


Photos By Libby Sterling

Jim Hanes, a former marine biologist, has now made about 60 instruments in his career, as well as wooden sculptures and boxes and prints.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Story last updated at 6/24/2009 - 11:04 am

New gallery showcases fine art for fine lives

JUNEAU - As the average tourist takes their first stroll up Franklin St., they stop dead in their tracks at 2nd St., for it is there that they catch their first glimpse of Mt. Juneau and they just have to take a picture. They won't realize it until later, but they've also photographed Juneau's newest gallery, Bentwood and Bead.

The gallery, located on 3rd St., opened its doors in December. It is owned and operated by Jim and Salty Hanes, who exhibit their own work as well as the work of other Juneau artists.

Though the Hanes' gallery is new, the couple is not new to business ownership. In 1984, Salty opened Taku Tailor where she worked as a seamstress. In 1994, the store turned into Spirit Beads, which she operated until 2005. Jim worked during the same time as the luthier at the String Shop, where he repaired stringed instruments as well as building violas, violins and mandolins. As much as they enjoyed their respective businesses, both shops closed in 2005 and the couple made plans to continue on to the next stage.

BEAD WEAVER

Salty, a beader since she was a young girl, has had dreams of opening a gallery for a number of years. She went to school in Colorado, focusing on sculpture. After coming to Juneau 1976, she worked as a house painter, carpenter and as a ski patroller at Eaglecrest for a number of years. She sewed all of her own outdoor wear, which she liked so much that she created a business out of it. She opened Taku Tailor, which specialized in outdoor equipment.

Despite its success, the business was growing larger than Salty desired. The stress of it was keeping her up at night.

"Jim said, 'Why don't you just keep the fun part and get rid of the stressful part?'" Salty said. "Now I get to just bead as much as I want."

In addition to creating beaded works such as jewelry, clothing and other pieces, Salty has spent several years teaching beading in schools around Alaska, the Yukon and British Columbia.

Salty says beads are timeless, and that's one of her fascinations with the craft. Over the years, she has acquired quite a collection of antique beads from numerous sources.

"Beads bring people together," she said.

One of her newest pieces on display at the gallery is an Athabaskan-style baby belt, which she said took about 300 hours to make. She also displays moccasins, bags, jewelry and deerskin items, the deerskin provided by a local hunter. Many of the items she creates are useful, things that can be worn and used rather than just hung on the wall.

WOOD BENDER

Before Jim was a luthier, he worked as a marine biologist. It was science that brought him to Alaska in the 1970s. He worked in Barrow collecting samples of marine worms, his specialty, but the job was ending and he had to make plans to move on to something else.

Jim always had a fancy for woodworking, whether it was general carpentry, log construction or finish carpentry. He was fascinated with the idea of instrument making, so he began soliciting apprenticeships and found one in Washington, D.C. By this time, he was in his mid-20s, much older than most luthiers-in-training who generally begin learning the trade as children.

Jim has made about 60 instruments in his career. He considers each one to be a sculpture of its own, uniquely carved and bent with care. Though he doesn't create as many instruments as he did when the String Shop was in business, he still has a few in-process skeletons sitting around his workshop. In addition to instruments, he creates relief and reduction prints as well as wooden sculptures and boxes.

BACK TO BASICS

The Hanes live above their gallery and they enjoy working together and keeping things on a small scale.

"We're back to how we started, which is small and doing it together," Jim said.

"We do life-sustaining things because they feed us on many different levels," Salty said. "They're not million-dollar enterprises but we wouldn't do well in that kind of environment anyway."

"What would I do with millions of dollars?" Jim added. "What would I do that would really enhance my life or those lives around me?"

"Money's overrated," Salty declared, and Jim agreed.

Bentwood and Bead is open six days a week, closed Fridays, and the Hanes are happy to be living their simple dream in what may be the most photographed yellow house in Juneau.

Libby Sterling may be reached at libby.sterling@capweek.com.


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