Story last updated at 6:02 PM on Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rowan Mulvey Artist

How long in Alaska: Rowan Mulvey is a dancer, musician, visual artist and jewelry maker and has lived in Homer for 10 years. Before moving to Alaska, she lived in the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York.

Rowan Mulvey Artist  
"I'd been meaning to come to Alaska for many years and finally got around to it. I'd been told I would love Homer, but I wanted to get a feel for the community. I felt a lot of support and inspiration and encouragement from the land, the water and the people here. I knew that it would help me grow."

Her art: In addition to teaching Middle Eastern dance and Tai Chi classes through Homer Community Schools, she is the founding director and choreographer of the Shivering Gypsies, a local belly dance troupe. The group is composed of students who have taken her dance class.

"For me, belly dance is about the endless variety and beauty of the human form in motion, in combination with rhythm. There is a certain atmosphere that we seek to create when we dance that inspires community and joy.

"It's very much not about the expensive outfit, the perfect figure, the spotlight or being the star. It's about all of us communicating, sharing, working and celebrating together."

In her visual artwork, Mulvey focuses on watercolors, collage and sculpture. A Native American of the Mohawk tribe, Mulvey uses "mostly antler, ivory, bone, leather, fur, metal and wood" in her sculpture. Perpetual themes in her work include "the rhythms and cycles of nature and celebration of natural forms."

Mulvey's interest in jewelry making began when she couldn't find jewelry that appealed to her.

"I couldn't find what I really wanted to wear, so I started learning how to create it. Or I'd find one chunk of a stone or one bead that I'd want to build a piece around."

Artistic background: "My mom is an artist. We were forbidden to have coloring books because she didn't want us to just color inside the lines. Expression was strongly encouraged when I was a child."

Though she began classical dance classes at the age of 4, Mulvey was later drawn to Middle Eastern dance and Scottish step dance. She has studied Middle Eastern dance with teachers from Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia and the United States and continues to seek out classes today.

Her day job: Mulvey is the manager of the Fireweed Gallery on Pioneer Avenue. "I get to be involved in art in my day job, as well. (Gallery owner) Irene Randolph is very encouraging and supportive of my development as an artist."

The importance of art in her life: "I have found it to be one of the ways in which I can contribute, one of the ways in which I can participate and be able to reflect back to the universe the magic and the beauty that I experience."

Mulvey's work is on display at the Fireweed Gallery. Look for the Shivering Gypsies at the Farmers' Market and at events around town.

Compiled by Carolyn Norton, staff writer