Young Fishermen & Local Makers // Summer 2017

August 28, 2017

Over the summer we gathered stories from Alaskan young fishermen and local makers. We then shared snippets from each story on our social media channels. This project was born out of a desire to share an inside look at the lives of Alaskan seafaring people and entrepreneurs. Everyday we become more and more inspired by these brave, hardworking Alaskans. Enjoy the following stories from a few of the fishermen and makers we talked to this summer. Stay tuned for more stories this fall!

If you know a young Alaska fisherman or local maker you would like to recommend for this project, please email us at

Young Fishermen

Jessica Normandeau // Salmon // Bristol Bay // F/V The Georgette Rose

What makes Alaska's fisheries special? Is there anything you want people to know about Alaska's fisheries or fishermen?
I think what makes Alaska’s fisheries so amazing is how sustainably they are managed, being used not only as an example for the world on how to fish ethically and productively on a massive scale, but simultaneously providing a livelihood to thousands of fishermen and a super nutritious protein source to the world.

David Marifern // Herring // Sitka // F/V Freedom

What makes Alaska's fisheries special? Is there anything you want people to know about Alaska's fisheries or fishermen?
What I think makes Alaska’s fisheries so special is the community. The fishing industry in Alaska is small, and is very supportive. It is based on a shared way of life that goes beyond just a way to make ends meet.

Marie Johanson // Salmon & Herring // Prince of Wales // F/V Crusader

Pictured: Marie’s mother & nana

What drew you to commercial fishing?
My family heritage drew me into the fishing industry. My grandpa, dad, uncles, and cousins are all boat owners; We have 10 boats that fish in Southeast. My Nana, Mom and Aunties have been hard working fishermen as well. On my mom's side I'm the 3rd generation of women fishing.  


Local Makers

Homer Folk School

Homer Folk School is a non-profit organization based in Homer that aims to teach its student how to be self-sufficient through creativity and the arts. This do-it-yourself attitude is encouraged by school instructors, who pass on their knowledge to the next generation. With students mostly based in Homer, the school hopes to soon see more Alaskans from around the state.

What/who inspires you to do the work you do?
The life and tradition of the old simple ways is the root of our inspiration. We provide students the opportunity to learn about being self-sufficient, creating and practicing arts and craft. Instructors are a big part of this; passing along their culture, knowledge and wisdom to the community. Homer Folk School is a community gathering space to share, build and honor the relationship between humans, the land and the spirit of engaging the head, heart and hands.


Grace Wintermyer // The Strangest Garden Studio

The Strangest Garden owner Grace Wintermyer works out of a home studio in Wrangell, Alaska creating gorgeous custom print works. Her printmaking business got it's start in Kentucky, where she lived until she moved to Southeast Alaska. Now she sells her work online and at local Wrangell Shop Groundswell.

What/who inspires you to do the work you do?
I am inspired to keep creating work by the botanical subjects I always gravitate toward. I love committing to learn the intricate and ordered form of every new wild plant while I sketch and compose a composition. As a nature lover there seems to be no better place than Southeast Alaska! A tree is never just a tree, and a rock is never alone. I'm in love with the layers and layers of this landscape: mosses, ferns, barnacles, seaweed...there are so many unique relationships to study.

Bethany S Goodrich // Bethany S Goodrich Storytelling and Photography

What can't Bethany S Goodrich do? She's a local storyteller, photographer, and active environmentalist living and working in Sitka, Alaska. Bethany has worked with multiple print publications in Alaska to write about men and women living and working in our great state.

What do you love about living + working in Alaska in particular?

I love the way people live so intimately connected to the land and sea in Southeast Alaska. In Sitka, we are surrounded by 17 million acres of public lands. The Tongass National Forest is literally our backyard where we are free to hunt, fish, forage, explore, pull inspiration from, take a nap on the moss and fall in love in. Alaskans depend on the health of this landscape for literally everything. From the food we pack our freezers with to our multi billion dollar seafood economy, we are embedded in this landscape in a way that is rapidly disappearing across the globe. Having been raised in a suburb outside of Boston, I really appreciate that aspect of Alaska and that's a big reason why this state is now my home. We prioritize the right things here and I am forever grateful that I can make my life here.

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