Sheldon Bogenrife

Sheldon Bogenrife is an Inupiaq artist from Wainwright, Alaska. Wainwright is located on the Chukchi Sea about 72 miles southwest of Barrow, above the Arctic Circle.

A master baleen basket weaver, Sheldon is noted for his superb craftsmanship. Baleen is a filtering structure in the mouths of most whales used for feeding on small fish and plankton. It has long been harvested in northern Alaska whaling communities and traditionally used for buckets, scoops, and sled runners.

Sheldon’s baskets are known for a meticulously symmetrical, tight weave - a difficult challenge working with such rigid material. He developed his basket weaving skills under the tutelage of masters Elaine Frankson of Point Hope and Greg Tagarook of Wainwright.

Sheldon also carves the wonderful walrus ivory arctic animal finials that adorn the tops of all his baskets.

In 2006, Sheldon was a featured demonstrating artist at the American Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. sharing his baleen weaving expertise with visitors to the Alaska tent.

 

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