Newhalen Gym Mural by Klara Maisch

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Newhalen School serves the communities of Newhalen and Ilimana, neighboring villages located on the largest lake in Alaska. When asked what they like to do for fun, the answer will almost certainly include one of the following: fishing, hunting, berry picking or basketball. The entire community feels like a family. Community events are common, and the new school gym is a focal point for these large gatherings- be it basketball games, NYO, potlucks, dances, or graduation.

The old gym had a much loved, graphic mural of a Malemute sled dog team (the school mascot is the Malemute) so they were looking to honor that imagery in the new mural. As I worked closely with the community to gain a sense of their values, favorite activities, and the place they call home, it became apparent I would be painting more than just a dog team. The school was incredibly supportive of my fluid design process. Because this was a remote project, I tried to plan as much as I could, especially when it came to materials. Decisions about the design continued to change as I painted- in response to the space, lighting, and growing inspiration during my seven week stay. 

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The main mural covers the top half of three walls, with silhouettes on the bottom half of all four walls. The focal points are Roadhouse Mountain, Iliamna, Iliamna Lake, Newhalen, the Newhalen River, and a dog team being led by a Malemute. Within that design framework, there was room for ponds and lakes, local flora, a spruce hen, moose, seals, a sly fox, and perhaps even a lake monster. 

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Newhalen and Iliamna left a lasting impression on me- through the kindness of the people and the pure awesomeness of the place. The mural is infused with that connection at every level. 

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"SURGE" @ Museum of Northwest Art by Klara Maisch

Ghost Trees - Acrylic on Canvas - 34” x 42”

Ghost Trees - Acrylic on Canvas - 34” x 42”

 

"SURGE"

 

Museum of Northwest Art

La Conner, Washington

Group Exhibit

September 17 - 25, 2016

 

"In partnership with Skagit Climate Science Consortium, Skagit Land Trust, Skagit Watershed Council and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community - MoNA invites you to envision climate change through Surge - a week long exhibition of art, science and information". Learn more here: http://www.monamuseum.org

Ghost Trees is intended to be a stark yet engaging depiction of an “extreme” fire incident in the Pacific Northwest. Large scale forest fires are part of a feedback cycle of warmer temperatures, lack of moisture and relative fuel flammability. Forest fires have been increasing in intensity over the last twenty years. “Extreme” fire events are evidence of this change, as massive fires rip through thousands of acres of lush growth. In exposing the underlying physical structure of a forest, we are confronted with a hauntingly beautiful reminder of the fragility and fierceness of life. 

This work was created in collaboration with Dave Peterson, a research scientist who studies fire ecology and climate change in the Pacifc Northwest. Dave is part of the Western Mountain Initiative- a team of USGS, US Forest Service, and university scientists "working to understand and predict the responses of western mountain ecosystems to climatic variability and change, emphasizing sensitivities, thresholds, and resilience."

 

 

 

Ferebee Glacier for Fairweather Skis by Klara Maisch

 
Ferebee Glacier - 24" x 60" - Ink and charcoal on Strathmore

Ferebee Glacier - 24" x 60" - Ink and charcoal on Strathmore

I recently converted my parents furnace room into a temporary studio space. Turns out hanging out in the furnace room means I have ample duct tape at my disposal, as well as walls that I can duct tape things to... So I decided to duct tape my GoPro to the wall (genius I know). It allowed me to capture the process behind working on custom ski art for Fairweather Skis. The drawing was inspired by Graham Kraft's photograph of Ferebee Glacier. The field of vision migrates a bit as the camera warms up the tape adhesive, but you get the idea! For now, I'll just pretend I did that on purpose, and maybe next time I'll go so far as to use cardboard or tacks to help keep the camera in place. Enjoy!!

 
 
 

Stubborn Gal Official Release by Klara Maisch

 

Next weekend marks the official release of Stubborn Gal - The True Story of an Undefeated Sled Dog Racer. It took almost two years to reach this point, so it's very exciting to see it finally hit the bookshelves!! Dan O'Neill's words were fun to work with and the University of Alaska Press has been very supportive about Dan and I collaborating on the book. 

The grand reveal happens at Gulliver's Books in Fairbanks: Saturday, November 14, from 1pm-3pm. Come howl a hello and get your paws on a copy of Stubborn Gal!

Learn more about the book at stubborngal.com and stay up to date by following Stubborn Gal on facebook.

 

Art Meets Snow Safety by Klara Maisch

 

Introducing the "Eastern Alaska Range Avalanche Center" 

New EARAC logo, coming soon to stickers and hats near you!!

New EARAC logo, coming soon to stickers and hats near you!!

Winter travel in the mountains requires observation to make safe decisions about terrain, weather, current snowpack conditions, and how to proceed efficiently through the landscape. It also requires that you look inwards– to examine your personality, to develop your personal "acceptable risk threshold," and to therefore be more receptive and responsive to group dynamics. Avalanche classes are an excellent way to increase your awareness, make more educated decisions, and better prepare for the time when the snow does slide. 

Southeast and South Central Alaska have robust avalanche programs,  but Interior Alaska has lacked an official avalanche organization until now. The demand for such an organization was apparent, especially considering our unique Interior snowpack and the increasing number of people headed into the backcountry. With this in mind, a group of people came together to form the Eastern Alaska Range Avalanche Center. Follow EARAC on facebook for condition discussions and to learn about avalanche classes and workshops. Live to ski another day!

OH! And I almost forgot! I had the pleasure of creating the EARAC logo... Art meets snow safety after all!

 

"Our Boreal Forest" @ The Bear Gallery by Klara Maisch

Fire I, II, III - Cut paper, gouache, acrylic, silver ink, and charcoal on BFK Rives - 18" x 4"

 

"Our Boreal Forest"

 

The Bear Gallery

Group Exhibit

August 7 – August 28, 2015

 

Forest fires are an extreme reset of life in the Boreal Forest. By burning away the undergrowth and distilling branches to a single crisp black line, fires reveal an underlying physical structure that is rarely exposed. The cellulose of a burned out black spruce reveals patterns of cellular growth in deep values of brittle black and shimmering silver. The lick of flame is inherent in the curvy, carved out forms of trunks. In this way, forest fires allow us a glimpse at the skeleton of our surroundings, and reminds us of the fragility and fierceness of life.