Monday, August 3, 2015

Portage and Girdwood, Alaska....and Jim Kaiser.

 ...............more and more, I'm leaning towards more of a photo essay rather than mostly text. I hope this works for everyone.......

After leaving  Kenai having put in a couple of weeks helping to build a home with Habitat for Humanity, and enjoying some personal time with the locals, I was now on the road again.

 Seward to the left and Kenai, Soldotna and Homer to the right.  These mountains run north to south, down the center of the peninsula.

My next destination was Anchorage but along the way, as luck would have it, I found surprises.

A friend arranged to meet me in the small ski resort of Girdwood so we could take a tram ride up to the top of their ski mountain.  Fun!

At it's base was a lovely chapel, Our Lady of the Snows, was done in true heavy timber fashion.

                             The alter was a simple  but beautiful piece of art in itself.
                                                        Jim's early studio.
Later, we had an informal dinner at the home of his friend Jim Kaiser, a well known figure in the Alaskan Art World, if not internationally.

Jim works with stained glass and I must say is a super intelligent, often irreverent, humorist. His surroundings are a showplace of his collections of Alaskan Native American art as well as the whimsical-what he calls- "bar art".  (the stuff the guy next to you wants to pawn to pay for his next drink). An 'artist's man cave' of the highest order!!  To his credit, Jim also has quite a history of working through the state teaching and sharing his art with many, many of the remote indigenous villages around Alaska.

Jim's stained glass work immediately caught my eye.  It's as good as it gets and ranges from what I'd call traditional, to stylized, to thought provoking and story related. Below, is 2 of 4 stylized pieces, done on commission.

I could not leave his studio, after seeing it, without buying one of his very artsy and unusual pieces and also commissioning one traditional clear glass piece and a special themed one for a friend.
Jim is "That" good!  I was pleasurable stunned and will be happy displaying his work in my home.
 Jim's full time log cabin studio.

 Bar art, but whimsically perfect, especially in in it's placement and setting.

The next day, I opted for a boat tour to the base of one of the 7 glaciers at Portage.

The surrounding area is beautiful and I wish I had much more time to just hike and explore these undisturbed quiet areas of wilderness.

A bit of a side tour took me through a tunnel into a WW ll sub base military town, through an interesting 2.5 mile tunnel

Later I walked the late evening with my dog, through a well laid out path near my campsite.

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