ANNA HOOVER is the kind of person who got a Weed Eater from her mother for her birthday.
Anna Hoover, 29, is also the kind of person who thought that was a great gift.
Because Anna Hoover, daughter of the late contemporary Native Northwest artist John Hoover, has absolutely no fear of a chore.
“My dad allowed me to be in his studio, but he would give me a project. I had to respect his space and I had to work,” she says.
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When the elder Hoover, an Aleutian Chain Native American, wasn’t carving, painting or casting sculpture in the waterside woods along Key Peninsula, he was fishing for sockeye out of Bristol Bay, Alaska.
Six months an artist here, six months a fisherman there.
Like father, like daughter.
“Through fishing you really learn a work ethic,” says Anna, who now manages the family fishing operation. And carves, prints, teaches, writes, shoots documentary films and runs her own foundation to promote indigenous art and culture, First Light Alaska. “That’s the best thing my dad ever said, that I had that ethic.”
Anna is a force of nature who is refueled by having it all around her. (Currently, a large deer, utterly unconcerned and rump deep in lunchables, feeds outside her door.)
And when she’s not off fishing, she does that from her freecycled, recycled 693-square-foot cabin on family land, a place its designers, principal architect Les Eerkes and Olson Kundig Architects, call Scavenger Hut. The path outside leads through the woods to the house where Anna grew up. Her mother is there now.
“My parents got me a printing press (she learned printmaking at the University of Washington while earning two bachelor’s and two master’s degrees there) so I wanted to build a studio. Plus, I really like architecture. I was thinking about a space and how I would use it, and a friend said to get Tom (Kundig).
“I sent him an email with a picture of the view. I was a grad student and I told them, “I’m not in any position to even approach you, but I am.
“They said, ‘Sure, come in for a meeting.’ ”
And here we are. One big open space with bathroom. Upstairs is a bedroom of glass walls (the one that is not is plywood that slides open using a counterbalance) and a small office/guest quarter. The two are connected by a narrow steel bridge.
Contractor Schuchart/Dow invited Anna, walking a financial plank, to “scavenge” materials from a house they were remodeling. As she tells it, “I had a crow bar and a truck and a friend.” Somebody else’s unwanted marble counter now sits in her kitchen.
Other finds included materials for the stair treads, the wood stove, cabinets. Bathroom cabinets are Ikea, from the sale room. A porthole window came from a used marine-products store. The Viking range? Brown, and so, on sale. (But it matches the Masonite flooring, which Anna painted herself.) The project was completed for $205 per square foot.
“A friend of mine calls it a view with a room,” Anna says. She pours tea and slices peaches unseasonably delicious. Her own place in the woods to create, or not. Space to just be. As she says, “Sometimes you gotta let your soul catch up.”
Before long it will be time for Anna Hoover, artist-scholar-director-daughter, to head up north. To become Anna Hoover fisherman.
As she says, “I leave home to go home.”
Rebecca Teagarden writes about architecture and design for Pacific NW magazine. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.