- Artist Diana Tillion and fisherman Clem Tillion came
to Halibut Cove 50 years ago as newlyweds, bought half of Ismailof
Island and began creating the ideal home for their children and grandchildren.
- Before the Tillions came, the Cove was inhabited
by a handful of bachelors and one couple left over from the herring
fishery which had been wiped out by 1930. Their cohesive spirit pervades
the fabric of life here today. Before that, in the days before history
was written down here, it was bountiful home for people thought to
have migrated across a land bridge from Asia centuries ago.
- When Clem brought his artist bride to this storybook
setting, Halibut Cove began it's evolution toward what the visitor
experiences today. With Diana's creative energy as seed, the island
blossomed with artists, including one Tillion daughter, Marion Beck
who focused a part of her boundless creativity on adding the only
"commercial" establishments -- an elegant little restaurant
and a gallery to showcase Cove talent.
- Other artists came. Twenty-two years ago, potter/sculptor/painter
Alex Combs settled on the far end of the isthmus that links the two
halves of the island, anchoring the enclave. Jay Greene began creating
delicate distinctive jewelry from ebony wood inlaid with abalone and
mother of pearl. Youngsters grew up in pottery shops and studios,
and went on to develop their own artistic interests and styles. Visiting
artists return to hold workshops; a few stay, enriching the aggregate
talent as they make Halibut Cove their home.
- The Gallery focuses the visitor's attention on fine
samples of the artists' creations, but as the traveler meanders beyond
this stop, he'll find his experience heightened by natural beauty,
enhanced by man. Bluebells bobbing from granite cliffs. A garden protected
from woodland creatures by a hanging of fishnet. And as you stroll,
you might be greeted by a llama, a pig, a horse or two -- maybe even
- The artistic work of the residents is most definitely
not confined to the few galleries dotting Halibut Cove. It spills
over in paintings and ceramic whimsies mounted on exterior walls along
the wooden walkways. The boardwalks and their supports, reflected
in the peaceful waters, form their own poetic lacework. Inverted illusion
stairs meet real stairs leading from the water to architectural delights
-- the homes of the sixty or so residents.
- A walk up the trail to the natural stone arch which
guards the entrance to the west end of the cove takes you through
forests of towering Sitka spruce, vying with bright varied undergrowth
for your attention. Below you, the curve of the isthmus garlands the
sparkling bay with driftwood. A stroll through and beyond Alex Combs'
gallery and workshop puts you on a trail where bright red raspberries
beckon from lush greenness.
- Approximately 10,000 guests a summer are allowed
to visit, limited by the capacity of the picturesque little wooden
ferry, the Danny J, that brings them the five miles from the Homer
harbor to the dock below The Saltry Restaurant.
- There are rarely more than 60 guests in Halibut Cove
at one time, but even so, some residents feel crowded at times. They
agree to limit access to the afternoon and evening, with the Danny
J making two daily runs to transport guests. A few come by private
boat as well, but charters are not allowed.
- Visitors who come to Halibut Cove with senses attuned
to beauty return to the mainland mightily enriched by this island
that is a work of art.
This guide brought to you by The
Homer Tribune. Publisher: Jane M. Pascall. Voice (907)235-3714,
Fax (907)235-3716 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,
601 E. Pioneer Ave., Suite 109, Homer, AK 99603.
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