Friday, September 25, 2015

Derek and Lauren of San Juan Canvas

Derek Steere and Lauren Cohen bought SJ Canvas in April 2009 after having moved to the island about a year before. They had come from Carmel, CA, another small town on the coast, where they were both teachers at the High School there. They also opened a business doing some home remodeling and planned to do the same thing here.
They moved here and opened Treehouse Remodeling, however that was around the time of the 2008 economy crash and business was very slow.
That’s when they heard that Patrick and Andra Pillsbury, owners of SJ Canvas since 2006, were selling so they jumped on it and for a while they ran both businesses, doing canvas all year, and remodeling and cabinetry jobs in the winters. After a few seasons, the winters started to get really busy at the canvas shop so they had to make a choice and they dissolved Treehouse Remodeling.
San Juan Canvas was originally started in 1972 by Peter and Susan Risser who owned it until 2006. They do marine canvas primarily, as well as sail repair and recutting, cushions, awnings, and various different bags as an offshoot with all of the leftover fabrics.
Their favorite part of living here: Small town life and a change of the seasons – both weather seasons and busy/relaxed seasons.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sam Fry and Spike Africa

After a long hiatus, I'm back with a new entry for This is Our Town.

Sam Fry is building a scale model of the sailing vessel Spike Africa and I got a chance to talk with him about it and see his progress. The model is absolutely stunning, especially considering that everything on it is custom hand-made by Sam in his shop right here on the island.

Originally from California, Sam was at one time a psychologist working at the VA Hospital in Menlo Park but after several years, he gave that up for an auto body shop which he did for a number of years, taking advantage of the trade skills he had learned in addition to college and graduate school.

In 1981, he and his wife Pam moved to Friday Harbor, and he would make semi-regular trips down to California working various large jobs until finally the money wasn't worth it anymore and he decided he wanted to be home in Friday Harbor.

Read the rest of the story and see a gallery of images of the Spike Africa model at this link.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Jennifer and Jacquelyn of "The Studio"

Jennifer Horn and Jacquelyn Reiff are co-owners of The Studio - that new exercise place over on A Street. With strong backgrounds in physical education, pilates, TRX, and others, they are keeping very busy since their grand opening in January.

Jennifer has had a lifelong love of movement and her strong desire to help others experience the amazing benefits of Pilates inspires her every day.

Jacquelyn encourages people to develop an awareness of their bodies and to learn proper mechanics and alignment to live healthier, eliminate pain and improve posture and flexibility through innovative corrective exercise programs.

Both of them really know their stuff...

Jennifer, in wanting to provide the highest caliber instruction, has completed the comprehensive training course with BASI, learning the entire Pilates equipment and mat repertoire. She is a BASI qualified Pilates Instructor, a PMA Certified Pilates Teacher, a certified Booty Barre Instructor and a TRX qualified trainer.

Jacquelyn holds a B.S. in Athletic Training from San Diego State University, A Master of Science in Physical Education from Azusa Pacific University, and a National Academy of Sports Medicine Corrective Exercise Specialist certification. Jacquelyn has completed the BASI Comprehensive Pilates Instructor training learning the entire mat and extensive equipment repertoire. In addition, she is a Physical  Education, Health Science, and Science teacher (WA and CA), has taught in the public school system for more than ten years, and has earned numerous fitness certifications, including: Booty Barre, TRX (with Level 2 specialized certifications), BOSU Integrated Balance Training, Balletone, Zumba, and CPR.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Andrea Berlatsky and Altier Salon

Meet Andrea Berlatsky of Altier Salon. She moved here 17 years ago from Los Angeles, California and has been doing hair on the island ever since. She has built a client base that has kept her very busy (and kept them very happy). She says "I love to build relationships with my clients and it has served me well as many of them have been with me from the start."

She graduated from Charles Ross school of Hair Design in Beverly Hills California, and since then has studied at Vidal Sassoon and Toni&Guy academies in Los Angeles.

Keeping up with the latest training is important. "I have over 30 years in the business and I keep up with trends and techniques. It's not easy to do living here, but the internet sure helps. Webinars, videos, YouTube.... it's awesome. That and the occasional class when down in L.A."

"There is no excuse to get  complacent. I love that there are so many hairstylists here, each offering something a little different to the island. For me, I have a commitment to each and every client that they not just like but love their hair - I strive for consistency."

Check out her Altier Salon over at 278 A Street #5, or call 378-8835.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Darleen Nixon

Darleen Nixon has been a glass artist since 1998.  She works in both lampwork glass and fused glass media.  She has studied with some of the leading glass artists in the United States, and is a member of the Glass Art Society and International Society of Glass Beadmakers.
Darleen's work is carried in stores and galleries across the country from Maine to the Virgin Islands.  Locally, her glass jewelry and fused glass serving dishes are available at Island Studios in Friday Harbor. Check out her website for more info.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Deb Langhans

Deb chose a basket to contain & suggest the services she offers, but I think she should have used an iceberg... Many of us know Deb as a touch therapist & life coach. Some of us also know Deb as a versatile actor who’s been in a dozen shows at SJCT, as well as Madame Arcati in Island Stage Left’s "Blithe Spirit."

What most of us don’t know is that Deb used to act, sing & do voice-over work professionally... she’s been a graphic & pen/ink artist... has two of her photographs in the City of Olympia’s permanent gallery... was primary organizer for one of the largest political events (500-600 citizens in WA & OR) in Olympia, WA... designed a multi-arts program for adults with developmental disabilities... and founded, directed & wrote for an award-winning Readers Theatre ensemble for senior women for 10 years.

When asked to summarize her work over the years, Deb shares a recent client testimonial -
“Deb nourishes my body, heart & soul”
and then she says,  “I’ve been a dabbler all my life, and a wellness educator for over 20 years, and what I love most is helping others discover the beauty, wisdom & power within."
Deb currently offers 4 popular services through her local business, Wholistic Health Options:

  1. “Reflexology massage” - her own blend of Swedish, Thai Yoga & “SRM” (soothing Stretching/Rocking Massage) combined with powerful reflexology on the feet, ears, face & hands.  
  2. “Wholistic" health coaching - helping both individuals & couples navigate through life’s ups, downs & in-betweens, with life coaching informed by her Psychology BA & former counseling experience.  
  3. Inner Journey Collage (IJC) -helping women access their inner wisdom through this fun & therapeutic collage process of her own design which allows them explore various themes, e.g., “selves,” in order to better understand & accept themselves and their world.
  4. Wellness workshops - designed & facilitated for a wide variety of venues including business & service organizations, hospitals & retirement communities.  For information on Deb's upcoming venue, see:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Isla Botanica

This is Amanda Thiel of Isla Botanica, a company she founded in 2009. She handcrafts delicious tea blends and herbal health and body products using herbs grown on San Juan Island using original recipes based on age-old traditions of plant use. The garden is located on the 120 acre Talking Horse Ranch and produces over 30 species of medicinal plants which are featured in teas, tinctures and other products such as medicinal salves, aromatherapy spritzers and more.

You can find her teas at many fine island restaurants and cafes and her other products are available at the Saturday Market, the SJI Co-op and Sandpebble. She will have a retail shop opening on the farm soon as well.

Amanda is an herbalist with a B.A. in Herbal Medicine in Cultural and Ecological Contexts from Fairhaven College in Bellingham. Her experience lies in formulating products, gardening and teaching about herbs. She made her first medicinal tea over a decade ago and has been in love with herbs ever since.