Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 11:47 AM on Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Homer artist wins 'Earth, Fire and Fibre' award


Susan Ratcliffe Wilson's "Duo and Trio."

An artist and woodworker born and raised in Homer and now living in Seward, Lael Gordon, has won the $1,000 Juror's Choice Award in the Anchorage Museum's 28th biennial craft exhibit, "Earth Fire and Fibre." Juror Andrew Wagner chose Gordon's wood furniture, "Greek Key Sideboard," for the top award.

The son of Vicky Gordon of Homer and Ron Gordon of Washington, Lael Gordon graduated from Homer High School in 1996 and got his bachelor of arts in history from Colorado College, Colorado Springs. He studied fine woodworking at the Inside Passage School of Fine Cabinetmaking in Robert Creek, B.C., Canada. There he learned the philosophy of woodworking espoused by James Krenov, where the focus is on the process of creating.

Made of Douglas fir, Sitka spruce milled in Homer at Steve Gibson's Small Potatoes mill, Alaska birch and jatoba, a tropical hardwood, "Greek Key Sideboard" features panels of fir in the Greek key pattern. Arranging light and dark pieces of wood in the parquetry technique, the light refracts off the wood.


Photo by Allen King

"When you're standing right in front of the pattern, it pretty much disappears," Gordon said. "When you stand side-to-side, the pattern flops positive to negative."

A math teacher at AVTEC – Alaska's Technical Institute, the Earth, Fire and Fibre award is Gordon's first major award. He also received a Rasmuson Individual Artist's Award project grant to purchase equipment to make cabinetry.

Homer glass artist Susan Ratcliffe Wilson's "Duo and Trio" also was accepted in the juried exhibition, as was work by Anchorage and Halibut Cove artists Toni and Kirby Maury and their daughter Ashley. "Earth, Fire and Fibre" opens Nov. 4 and shows through Jan. 8, when it travels to Juneau and Fairbanks. Ninety-two artists entered 273 works, with 82 pieces selected.