Made in Alaska: Along the Homer Spit
HOMER – The Homer Spit is more than a place where campers brave the wind and fishermen show off their haul. It’s a small strip of land many artists call home.
“I'm a lifelong Alaskan so Alaska is part of my heart and soul and it's given me so much joy and peace,” said Leslie Klaar.
Fifteen years ago she anticipated a business boom and bought two shops on the Spit. High Tide Arts I & II are open four months out of the year, which gives her plenty of time to paint in the off-season.
“It's been such a great opportunity, and by being in this location I've been able to make a living as an artist and meet so many people and be supported by the community,” said Klaar.
Artists also count on each other to make a living. Home Clayworks is a pottery shop co-owned and operated by four women. Cynthia Morelli is the store’s more recent partner and has been with the shop for the past three years.
“It's a huge opportunity for me to be able to do what I do. It really supports me to work in clay,” said Morelli.
All of her pieces are handmade in her studio at her home high in the hills outside Homer.
“I like to show the soft stage of the clay when it's finished. That's a big goal for me because my favorite part of working with clay is the soft stage,” said Morelli.
Even though she has to share shelf space with other artists, Morelli said it’s worth it to have a spot on the Spit.
“We're so lucky in a small town to have so many people coming to Homer to see what happens here. For an isolated place we have a pretty big population base for people who look at the artwork in Homer,” said Morelli.
While tourists are like the tides, coming and going, artists say Homer is a place they’re proud to make their home.