Its a tough job hunting and harvesting the animals you use to make your crafts. Remembering the smell of tanned seal fur when my grandmother would stitch a smoked moose hide moccasin. That great memory is where the basis of my business started.
My first pattern that I made was an evening purse. I made a few fur purses to go along with selling seal skins to the native elders. Much to my surprise, people liked the quality and uniqueness of my fashions. Which spurred me on to make a few more unique patterns. 10 different patterns later a lady stepped up to my table while at a craft fair and asked, "do you make seal mittens?" I said, "no". "Can you make me a pair?" "I can try". Two weeks later, she was wearing a specialized, difficult to make, pair of unique seal skin mittens while watching the Iditarod mushers cross the finish line in Nome, Alaska. It's these people, my customers, that make the difference in my life.
This is one of the most rare opportunities left in the U.S.. I get the privilege to work with our ancestral animals and I'm able to share such a rare gift with you...my future buyers.
Its never easy making something from scratch. There are dreams of how smoothly it will turn out. Ahhhh, but the artist always makes it look easy! It has taken me several years to find a tannery to work with developing specific dyes for my sea otter fur. There were quite a few mistakes and a bit of cost involved. But the final outcome is just "WOW"!
So far, I'm the only person in the U.S. to offer these amazing sea otter fur colors. But there are other factions watching my every move and are looking into duplicating my hard earned work. If they do, their fur will not be the same amazing colors, and quality will be lacking. So please keep a sharp eye out for the fakes, and drop me a line if you need to place an order for your one of a kind custom piece.
Honorable Mention in Diversified Arts with "Taboo Lovebirds" Capelet-2018
First Place in Diversified Arts with Dress Vest, "Alaskan Lady"-2017
Best of show in Contemporary Fashion contest with dress vest, "Alaskan Lady"-2017
Second Place in Diversified Arts with a V-neck collar in Alaskan materials-2016
First Place and Best of Division in Textiles with a sea otter vest-2015
Innovation Award for "Taboo Kusax'an (Love) Birds, Sea Otter Capelet-2017
Third Place for "Alaskan Lady" Sea Otter Dress Vest-2017
Showcasing latest fur creations for the east coast in lower Manhattan
Donated and sold seal and sea otter apparel to local residents in my home town. Ketchikan, AK
Sold seal and sea otter fur apparel and networked with senators on "significantly altered" issues. Anchorage and Fairbanks
Sold sea and sea otter apparel to visitors and raw materials to natives. Anchorage, AK
The Fashion Issue, "Who's Who in Fashion" An amazing mention of being one of the 24 Native fashion designers
Working with Fur, According to Christy Ruby, written by Kelly Holmes; chief editor
"Ketchikan Fur Artist Wins at Santa Fe Indian Market" written by Leila Kheiry
"Kindred Spirits," Saskatchewan Meets Alaska, Biography on the amazing style of Christy Ruby, written by Tara Lynn Barks
Alaska Women: Making the Most of Their Game, written by Christine Cunningham
Sea Otters: An Alaska Political Predicament- written by Jill Burke
4 page article relating to sea otter issues with Don Young's bill and federal prosecutions of Natives.
I guess I've wanted to be an artist since I was 5 years old. I was very happy to get paid to work in such a unique field where many starve, lol. I had no idea that all of those jobs; window painter, coin designer, sculptor, computer graphics, illustrator, and fly tier...would lead me to where I am now. A very happy real fur fashion designer.
2.5 x 3 inch painting