Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wandering the World for Handmade and More - Juneau, Alaska

Vicki from customteddys on Etsy submitted her hometown of Juneau, Alaska for a "shopping local" feature here on MysticWynd. She wrote,

"We are having quite a campaign in our city to ask people to shop local first and then go elsewhere, i.e., the Internet. In our little town of Juneau, we often cannot find items we are looking for; we are hemmed in by mountains and cannot drive more than 40 miles in any direction. We get out of here by plane or boat!"

Well, if ever there was a place that could use some help with shopping local, Juneau, Alaska surely fits the bill! Situated on the upper Inside Passage in Southeastern Alaska, Juneau is almost 600 air miles from Anchorage and 900 miles from Seattle, Washington. Vicki wasn't exaggerating when she mentioned that the only way out of or into town was by plane or boat. Even though Juneau is the capitol of Alaska, there is no highway access to this city or its approximately 32,000 residents.

While I think many people picture most of Alaska as a relatively barren wilderness of glaciers and igloos year round, summertime high temps for Juneau average in the 50's, while winter highs average from the low 20's to freezing, although the climate is rainy. The most surprising thing about Juneau may actually be the size of the land this city covers - in square miles, Juneau is larger than the entire state of Rhode Island, although not quite as large as Delaware!

Juneau is no stranger to the creative spirit though, and I was able to find quite a few shops to choose from to feature in today's post - and whether you're "shopping local" or just looking for some lovely items, please be sure to check them out as well as all of the other great shops that call Juneau "home!"

Vicki and Customteddys get the position of honor in this post for being the first to suggest her hometown to me... this shop offers the most adorable collectible teddybears! Vicky uses various materials for her bears: recycled nubby jackets, wool or imitation fur coats, any fuzzy material she can find that looks like it might sport a fine teddy, including mohair, alpaca, faux fur, old quilts, chenille bedspreads, blue jeans and upholstery material. The list is basically endless...

Vicki makes large bears, small bears, angel bears, Alaskan bears, polar bears - you name it. She started making mini-bears about seven years ago and the more she makes them, the more she just wants to keep doing it. Teeny tiny bears are extra special to her. They get to tag along when perhaps a larger bear wouldn’t be invited. That is because they fit in pockets, purses, glasses cases, gloves and most happily in the palm of a hand. 3 inch Sasha to the left is an adorable example of her mini-bear magic, while 12 inch Biskit (above left) shows the beauty and attention to detail of Vicki's work. Anyone who love teddybears (and seriously, who doesn't?!?) will love this shop!

Looking for unique hand painted yarns, rovings and hand spun yarns? Why not stop by atreehuggerswife and check out the great array of colors and blends available there - like this beautiful Blue Skies Basic Sock yarn. In addition to fiber goods, you'll also find a nice selection of confections like chocolate covered Kona beans and Butter Toffee pecans.

The MtJuneauTradingPost offers an amazing and eclectic selection of traditional Alaskan crafts that range from fossilized ivory and antler carvings to ages-old traditional moccasin making such as that found in these gorgeous hand beaded red moccasins. These will keep your feet warm through the coldest of winter nights and are amazingly comfortable and long-wearing.

While I selected these novel Mommy Cards....Fun and trendy predesigned contact cards for moms, as an example of the awesome offerings by ataglancegraphics, this shop has so many great ideas it was hard to narrow it down to one. Whether you're looking for customized planner pages, how-to and helpful hints books on running your businesses, or more standard cards and invitations, this shop is chock full of choices. I'll let you visit and then decide for yourself which one you'll be buying first!

In addition to the shops selling great handmade items that you'll find while shopping local in Juneau, Alaska, you'll also find some shops like LittleSundayDress that offer lovely vintage pieces. I think this vintage 1960s Young Edwardian Mini Dress is just adorable. I imagine that in addition to wearing it as a mini, you could pair it up with slacks or leggings for a great updated retro-modern flair!

I hope you've enjoyed the first stop in my travels around the globe to bring you a great collection of shops and items. Whether you're looking to "shop local" or are simply looking for the best and brightest newcomers as well as established shops full of handcrafted artisan or vintage goods, hopefully you've found a new favorite or two!

My next stop takes me across the continent and a little farther south to the city of Cary, NC on the eastern seaboard of the US. I can't wait to see what goodies I'll find waiting for me there! See you soon!


LindaS said...

I love reading your blog - very interesting topics. Will enjoy traveling along with you on your globe trotting!

LaviniasRoom said...

I had no idea that Juneau was so cosmopolitan.

customteddys said...

Thank you so much for your wonderful article on our great town of Juneau! I'll stay tuned to your blog to visit the other great places you will discover.

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