Feathers and Fingertips

  Hand made fishing flies emerge through a metamorphosis
where the making of tools becomes an art practice. The value of
enhancing the beauty of objects, devised originally with a utilitarian
purpose in mind, is a cultural value found in past and contemporary
traditions around the world. With this show we, a group of local
Alaskan fly tyers, present our specialized expression of this shared
human drive to unite beauty and function.
  The exhibition features some classic fly patterns and some
original patterns, all created by members of our group. Our muse is
the history of this craft, where the aesthetic dimensions of tying
fishing flies have become just as important as its pragmatic aspects
related directly to fishing. The works are made with a rich palate of
synthetic and natural materials, including feathers from over twenty
species of birds, and fibers from various other critters, some sourced
locally and some that are native to faraway regions world over.
Among the classic fly patterns represented in this exhibition, the most
demanding take between 8 to 10 hours to complete. The most labor-
intensive original fly patterns take between 20 and 30 hours.
  We largely work independently, learning through practice, with
the help of literature and video tutorials by expert tyers. Some of us
also have taken courses at the University of Alaska Fairbanks taught
by Scott Murdock and Shann Johns. Periodically we get together to
sip on some scotch and work on a new pattern. We respect each
other, and we share generously our knowledge, tying supplies, fishing
stories, and – over the past year or so – our dreams of putting
together this show.