A postcard from McGrath: Meet a beader who's her own boss

Published: Mar. 4, 2019 at 3:30 PM AKST
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Soon Iditarod mushers will make their way to the small community of McGrath. In this town of about 500, there are two stores, a bar and a restaurant. And there's also Lucy Miller who runs Alaskan Raven Beauties.

Our Iron Dog crew learned about Miller from our bush plane pilot. She's famous here for her beadwork, detailed creations with ducks and small planes, mukluks with flower designs and birds.

Miller, who is Athabascan, says she doesn't like to stick to one style.

"I have so many different types of beading that I do," Miller said, "everybody always says, 'That's not really traditional,' but I figure give it 120 years, it's going be traditional."

Miller, who also works birch into her designs, says she spends the spring collecting the white birch, which she then works with during long, dark winters.

"I work on these all winter and then when I pick the birch for the baskets I make all my baskets at one time."

Miller doesn't take requests, she says she's too independent and she gets bored easily if she's forced to have a routine.

"I like to play and I get bored really fast," Miller said.

Miller recommends that young people learn to bead, especially if they live in a small community.

"You can make a living doing this," Miller said. "You know, I mean people are having a hard time with jobs, but you're your own employee."