Just over two years ago I left Anchorage and moved to a 16′ x 20′ 2-story cabin that I built when I was 17 years old, located in remote Tuxedni Bay, Alaska; where I paint, carve, weave, meditate, write essays and poetry and take photographs.
It took a long time to get here and I dreamed and planned and visualized this life for a long time. Now, living my dream.
I grew up here on this land that my grandfather homsteaded in the 1940’s. The land has been used for all sorts of things from a fox farm to a cannery.
Tuxedni Bay is on the West Side of Cook Inlet across from Ninilchik. The current population of Tuxedni Bay is now one. People come to fish in the summer but everyone leaves in the winter except me.
I grew up fishing. When I was eight years old I was given my grandmother’s fishing permit. This meant that I had to be present, and on the boat while all fishing was done. So, essentially, I have been self employed most of my life, starting at age eight. I sold my permit in order to purchase the property in 1998.
I started running my own skiff when i was 13 with my little 11 year old sister as deckhand. We loved fishing in grandpa’s old wooden skiffs. When we were old enough to decide what to wear, we wore the traditional hats with the long bill in back (like the Gorton’s fisherman logo), and long dark green coats with hipboots because we liked the old, “oilskins,” and hats my grandfather used to wear, and thought they were damn cool. What I loved most about fishing was the feeling of the flat bottomed skiff planing along the surface of the water, the sun dancing on the water, and the feeling of the wind in my hair.
It feels awesome to not wear makeup, not worry about how I may appear, not wear uncomfortable shoes, and just live my day-to-day life like a human being — not choosing a societally determined role, not needing some other human being to feel complete, and not trying to be what I could never be.
I have always been interested in social paradigms (large scale and small scale), i.e. spirituality, attitude, mental attachments, state of mind, and how these manifest in material culture as religion, philosophy, art and political expression in society and style. So this is what I explore in my writing and research and poetry.
Have practiced different forms of tantric meditation for over 25 years and had the blessed experience of entering samadhi in 2009. It s a state of great joy. Here at my cabin, during this long endurance, I have had many experiences, with working on steadiness of posture maintaining peace, being joyful, and continuing to love unconditionally and nurturing this open heart, enduring some horrific events, spirtually, emotionally, and physically and dealing with with some squatters that moved in recently as well as a Native Corporation that just finished clearcutting much of the land surrounding mine and is now working on starting a tourist lodge. I discovered that I have balls of steel, and nerves of steel, and have become much more able to maintain joy and serenity in the face of turbulent circumstances. So I can say boldly and utterly truthfully, I LOVE YOU deeply and compasionately….And I mean it.
Caroline is exploring traditional and modern art, style, and culture through time, and how these express concepts of the immortal or beyond the immortal, beyond the material, beyond time, beyond nihilism, beyond eternalism. In 1994 Caroline took time off from pursuing degrees in Anthropology and Fine Art at Stanford University to travel to Ketchikan to learn to weave in the Ravenstail style. Since that time, Caroline has sought to unify the pre-contact mind with her art, painting portals bridging the divide between anthropology and art, incorporating dream symbolism and cave art in her work. Through exploring her own mind, and practicing traditional art forms, her art has evolved to express the subtle timeless language of spirit. Time and perspective have changed what is considered to be Tsimshian style, which is not so static as once believed, and is being perpetually redefined by contemporary artists like Caroline.
Caroline’s teachers include Enrique Chagoya (painting, silk painting & mixed media), Kristina Branch (painting), Miriam Hitchcock (painting), Dorica Jackson (Chilkat weaving), Nathan Jackson (Tlingit bulge bentwood box), David Boxley (Tsimshian mask and feast bowl) Kathy Rousseau (Ravenstail weaving), Cheryl Samuel (Ravenstail robe), Irene Bienek (Tsimshian cedar bark weaving), Diane Douglas-Willard (Haida cedar bark hat), Della Cheney (Haida cedar bark hat), and Jack Walsh (painting, sculpture, printmaking, ceramic art).
2010 Featured Artist, Contemporary Native Art Celebration, Alaska Native Heritage Center
2009 Apprenticeship, Ravenstail robe with Cheryl Samuel, author of The Raven’s Tail & The Chilkat Dancing Blanket
2008 Project Award, Rasmuson Foundation, carving Individual Artist Award, Alaska State Council on the Arts National Endowment for the Arts, weaving
2007 CAPS Award, Alaska Native Arts Foundation, weaving 2006 Award from the CIRI Foundation, carving, beadwork and Chilkat weaving
“Whether it is my intention or not, I am always expressing a link to the past, and a dream of the future.”
“For many years it seemed like people weren’t capable of loving me as much as I loved them. At some point I gave up worrying about it and just loved them anyway, now I can’t even quantify how much love there is because love is all there is.”