Eagle River artist designs 2018 Fur Rondy pin

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 13:18
  • The 2018 Fur Rendezvous collector’s pin, designed by Eagle River artist Maria Talasz. (Image courtesy Fur Rondy)
  • Eagle River artist Maria Talasz in downtown Anchorage on Sept. 14, 2017. Talasz created the design for the 2018 Fur Rendezvous collector’s pin. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)

As a young girl growing up in Oostzaan, Netherlands, Maria Talasz made art with wood, dreaming up designs to cut into decorative pins she then sold around her neighborhood.

Years later, as an artist living in Eagle River, she dreamed up a design for a different kind of pin – the 2018 Fur Rondy commemorative edition.

“I’ve been making art for a long time,” said Talasz, who now works out of a home studio in Eagle River. “I’ve never really wanted to stick with paper much.”

Her Fur Rondy pin design was unveiled during a special ceremony in downtown Anchorage Sept. 8.

Featuring a trio of blue-eyed husky puppies, Talasz’s work was chosen from a pool of local submissions. She entered the competition on a whim, she said, and she never expected her design would be selected.

The custom, collectable Fur Rondy pins date back to 1939, according to festival organizers. Past designs include beavers, seals, trappers, totem poles, moose, musk ox and other symbols of Alaska life. They’re sold in gift shops and other businesses around Anchorage. A Fur Rondy pin swap meet scheduled to take place Feb. 19, 2018 from 5-7 p.m. at the Moose Lodge at 4211 Arctic Blvd. Some designs are worth thousands of dollars, according to festival organizers, and for many die-hard Fur Rondy fans, the collectable pins are a big business.

For Talasz, the 2018 Rondy pin design was the latest entry in long, fluid artistic career.

It started back in North Holland with sketches and carvings, she said. Her father was an architect who worked with wood, and Talasz soon developed a passion for motion and dimension, she said. She eventually began creating articulated horse figurines, carefully engineered to move in the natural ways of a real horse. Today, her work runs the gamut, from the expressive equine figurines to engravings, paintings, carvings and digital designs.

And pins, of course. Decades after designing her first, she said she’s not planning on stopping any time soon.

“I do think pins will be in my future in a different way,” Talasz said. “It’s fun.”

For more about Fur Rendezvous, which is scheduled for February 23-March 4, 2018, visit furrondy.net.

Contact Star reporter Kirsten Swann at kirsten.swann@alaskastar.com

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