- Associated Press - Saturday, March 11, 2017

SITKA, Alaska (AP) - On a cool spring day, Sitka veterinarian Burgess Bauder went down to the harbor and stripped down to his long underwear, socks and Crocs - all in the name of charity.

With little more than a quilt covering his body, Bauder became a model in the Ocean Wave Quilt Guild’s “Alaska’s Undercover Men” 2018 calendar.

“I make a fool of myself many times,” Bauder said. “Why not do it for something good?”

Proceeds from the calendars will fund the guild’s projects that benefit cancer survivors, senior citizens and victims of violence.

The Ocean Wave Quilt Guild also provides scholarships for college and the Sitka Fine Arts Camp with money raised at its annual auction.

Bauder is one of 13 men the quilters persuaded to pose for the calendar. Others include master carver Tommy Joseph, public defender Jude Pate and cab driver Hank Moore.

Quilt Guild member Audrey Curran came up with the idea based on one she had seen in Oregon. The guild had just run out of cookbooks, which was their last moneymaker, and needed another idea.

She thought, “‘I’ll bet if we did one of those calendars we could raise quite a bit of funds,” she said.

Then she had to convince the guild.

“I’m surprised they went along with it,” Curran said.

The calendars have been out for just a couple of weeks and they’re selling like hotcakes.

“We have sold half our calendars already and we haven’t even hit tourist season yet,” Curran said.

Curating the calendar was an adventure in itself, she said. Curran and Ruth Culp took the pictures.

“Tommy Joseph, his was the most intimidating, asking him to take his shirt off for a picture,” Curran said. “I was so nervous I could hardly get any words out.”

One model had no problem undressing on the spot and took off everything except his underwear, she said.

She was able to get Moore on board when he drove by the location of another photo shoot as it was under way.

“He pulled over and he laughed, but he said he had to hit the gym first,” Curran said.

The model on the front of the calendar, physical therapist Tyler Gilson, needed some special coaching.

Curran kept telling him he had to move the quilt lower.

“I had to get his abs in there,” she said.

She said at first it was hard to get men to agree to being models. Several of them are husbands of women in the quilt guild.

“After the calendars came out I’ve had a lot of men come and tell me they want to be in the next one,” Curran said. “I guess it’s different when they see the finished product.”

The real stars of the calendar are the quilts, though. For each month there is a beautifully pieced, mostly Sitka-themed creation with scenes from Harrigan Centennial Hall, the harbor and other Alaska Native designs made by quilters such as Curran, Megan Pasternak, Janine Holzman, Tracy Jacobsen, DJ Robidou and Lisa Moore.

“It’s a creative way to display the quilt guild’s work,” Pasternak said. “I got to go to a few photo shoots and it was a hoot. The result I think is just astounding. I just laugh every time I look at it.”

The guild wanted to put out the 2018 calendar early so tourists could buy them in the summer and, most importantly, Pasternak said, “we’ll be able to look at it for two years instead of one.”

The calendar has been so popular that the guild is considering doing another with female models, she said.

The Ocean Wave Quilt Guild holds an annual quilt show in May, regularly brings in teachers from out of town, and hosts monthly open sewing sessions from September to May.

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Information from: Daily Sitka (Alaska) Sentinel, http://www.sitkasentinel.com/

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