A prince in Carhartts: Yukon artists find creative ways to mark royal visit

From whimsical tea towels to Union Jack jewelry, local artists and craftspeople are busy making souvenirs to commemorate Will and Kate's Whitehorse visit next week.

'It isn't every day that royalty comes to your town,' said artist Monika Melnychuk

Yukon artist Monika Melnychuk designed a limited-edition tea towel, showing Will and Kate looking like true Yukoners. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

At The Collective Good, a store in downtown Whitehorse, co-owner Jen Williams hopes to catch a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge out her store window, when the royal couple walks along Front Street next Wednesday. 

Lara Melnik has designed jewelry and other souvenir items, with polymer clay. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

"Well, we had no idea that we were going to be so well-positioned," she said.

"But when it seemed for sure that they were coming, my first thought was, 'we've got to commemorate this with something.'"

She commissioned Yukon Artist Monika Melnychuk to create an illustration that's now become a limited-edition tea towel.

"I didn't know so many people follow the royals," said Melnychuk. "There do seem to be a lot of people excited about it," she said. 

Her depiction of Will and Kate features some local fashion. 

'William is wearing the classic Yukon Carhartts [pants] and a pair of Alaska boots, and Kate has some Canadian buffalo check,' Melnychuk said. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

"William is wearing the classic Yukon Carhartts [pants] and a pair of Alaska boots, and Kate has some Canadian buffalo check," she said.

The tea towels aren't sold out yet, but they are selling. According to Williams, some happy customers have snapped them up to send to friends and family in the U.K.

Meanwhile, local artist Lara Melnik is also getting in on the royal excitement. She works with polymer clay and she's created Union Jack-themed jewelry. It's for sale in advance of the visit, and will also be available at the downtown street fair during Wednesday's visit. 

Designed by Whitehorse artist Lara Melnik to commemorate the royal visit to Yukon. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)
Melnik is selling her jewelry ahead of next week's royal visit, but will also sell her wares at the community street festival. 'It isn't every day that royalty comes to your town,' she said. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

"It isn't every day that royalty comes to your town," she said.

Melnik knows not everyone is a fan of royalty, but she thinks Yukoners are excited about Will and Kate's visit.

"I've heard a few people telling me about when the Queen came [in 1959] and how they were just thrilled and their mothers took them down there to see her," she said.

"Yeah, that's pretty cool." 


Cheryl Kawaja is a CBC North reporter based in Whitehorse.


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