Harry Hank is an Inupiaq (Real People) Eskimo who was born at Point Barrow, Alaska, on October 29, 1972. Harry attended some schooling in Point Barrow, but most of his life, prior to moving to Anchorage, was spent in Fairbanks. Harry’s inspiration to weave baleen baskets came from his grandfather, Carl Hank and his mother Marilyn Hank. His grandparents, Carl and Eunice Hank are listed in the book Baleen Basketry of the North Alaskan Eskimo. Carl Hank was included in an article in the National Geographic Magazine.
Harry started weaving by helping his mother with some of her baskets, and in 1992, he began weaving on his own. He weaves two distinctive baskets: one with a wide welt which can be woven quickly and one with a very fine welt. Some of these pieces are comparable to the works of the old masters such as Andrew Owenga and Joshua Sakeagak. Harry uses round rods for weaving clockwise and will often use white baleen as trim. He occasionally carves his own fineals but often uses the expertly carved fineals of the St. Lawrence and King Island carvers. His fineal motifs include walrus, bear, and seal heads, and occasionally whale flukes.