Made in Alaska: The Great Alaskan Bowl Company
FAIRBANKS - For two decades the Great Alaskan Bowl Company in Fairbanks has been turning birch trees into decorative and functional bowls.
While the process might seem simple, it takes a lot of work to transform a chunk of wood into a work of art.
Every foot of wood produces six bowls, and even the leftovers are put to good use.
“Every log we gets used. We sell the skulls as planters; we give all the sawdust to people for their gardens. What wood we have left we sell for firewood,” said bowl maker Dennis Bonneville.
The company now makes 12,000 bowls a year. Each one takes at least 40 minutes of hands-on work and goes through eight sanding stages.
Being a Fairbanks-based business isn’t always easy, but the Bowl Company counts on the community for support.
“A lot of friends and family are part of our clientele, and people that are proud of what we do here, and [they] bring their family. That's the basis of how our business works,” said owner Lewis Bratcher.
The showroom is quite a spectacle, with bowls in all shapes and sizes that brings in people from all over the world.
“We get to serve both the local people who want something to send outside to people. We get visitors. We're well known as a great place to work and I'm just having a ball,” said Jane Steves, who calls herself the company’s "troubleshooter."
Staff members say they’re proud to work for an Alaska business that gives tourists a piece of the Last Frontier to take home with them.