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Rita E. Holden

At age 19 while en route to Alaska, Rita Ohlert paused from her travels, and at the mouth of the Columbia River, embarked on a four-month apprenticeship with woodworker Robert Holden. Thereafter, the two collaborated on numerous projects and later joined forces in Alaska to create what is known today as Holden & Holden Designs. Her pieces first appeared in exhibits in 1977 and have since won awards in juried exhibitions nationwide. Today, that love of woodworking continues to speak, whether through a contemporary carving, antique restoration project, or the famed Nene Line of which she is principal carver.

Rita attended the Universities of Oregon (Eugene) and Hawai'i (Manoa) and holds a Masters Degree in Education as well as a dual degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the John A. Burns School of Medicine. While she remains committed to woodworking, her knowledge and experience in these fields have been fundamental in bringing life to her designs. Her work in remote Alaskan villages and Hawaiian Islands workshops are direct results of her ongoing interest in community issues and the Arctic and rainforest environments that she considers home.

Inupiaq Eskimo Village
of Unalakleet

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