About

Welcome to Bering Sea Designs!

My name is Carley Thayer. I am an Aleut from Unalaska, Alaska, but grew up and currently reside in Juneau, Alaska. Staying close to the coast is critical as the ocean is in my blood. I recently became a mom to a spirited handsome little boy who is my greatest passion. Along with being a mother and wife I am blessed to be able to create art. 

Inspired by the ocean and traditional practice of my ancestors of harvesting Sea Otter, I began to slowly build what is now Bering Sea Designs. Traditional material meets modern design. I love using mixed media to create unique pieces. Currently I am using Sea Otter Fur with bronze and copper accents. I am intrigued by the natural ombré of the Sea Otter Fur and love to highlight it in my work.

Why Sea Otter?

I grew up with Sea Otter pillows and hides around the house. My dad went hunting many years ago with the intension to do something with this most beautiful fur, he saw that it held great value. Since then my dad showed me and my siblings how to hunt Sea Otter, harvest them correctly to prepare the hides for tanning. 

Why is Sea Otter the most exquisite Fur?

Sea Otter Fur is the densest of furs with around 1,000,000 hairs per square inch. For comparison humans have only 100,000 hairs per square inch. 

Sea Otter's have two coats of fur to protected against the harsh elements. The underfur is light colored and is the shorter hairs next to the body which traps in heat to keep them warm. The guard hairs are the longer dark hairs that protect the underfur and keep it dry. Together these hair protect the Sea Otter. This perfectly design fur is also what creates the beautiful ombré that you see in my jewelry. 

Sea Otter's are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and therefore strictly regulated. You must be a coastal Alaskan Native with at least 25% blood quantum to work with Sea Otter Fur. Although they are an endangered species they are repopulating Southeast, Alaska at an extremely high rate of around 4,000 sea otters a year with a removal rate of about 1,000 per year.  

 How to care for your Jewelry?

  • Store Jewelry in dry location. Avoid getting wet. 
  • Metal has an anti-tarnish coat however, this does not mean it won't tarnish
  • When fur gets wet it may need to be re-fluffed. To re-fluf fur use a brush (I prefer a dog grooming brush with metal bristles).