To celebrate days on the river, nights spent by the river and the working guides who make it happen, we collaborated with Chums to design limited-edition gear that features artwork from two Idaho guides, Heidi Messner and Hannah Spencer. Guides are the heart and soul of the river community. They’re used to supporting others, but sometimes they need our support. Proceeds benefit the Redside Foundation, an organization that supports the health and strength of the professional guiding community in Idaho and Montana.
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness each year. Professional guides face unique challenges, and the Redside Foundation serves the guiding community with a 24/7 confidential helpline, counseling, professional development grants, scholarships, an annual health fair, resiliency training, and community building.
About the Artists
Heidi is a self-taught acrylic artist based out of Salmon, ID and loves sharing her vibrant river, mountain, and wildlife scenes with others. She guided on the Middle Fork and Main Salmon rivers for over a decade, and currently works in the fisheries field in the summers, paints artwork and floats rivers in between, and ski patrols in the winters.
“Being a guide and having numerous friends and family in this line of work, we are exposed to the mental and physical challenges on a daily and yearly basis. I’m extremely passionate about creating pieces of art that bring wonder, happiness and recharge memories of being in these natural places we all love and cherish.”
“As a fellow outdoorswoman, I am here for you, I have been in your shoes of this long, seasonal work, and can relate to the mental illness and physical/mental struggle of the guiding grind.”
Hannah Spencer migrated west in her late teens and soon became enraptured with the sage-infused desert canyons and the vastness of the seemingly never-ending sky. She saw a simpler way of life. She believes that decades of the western landscape feeding her its magical power kindled a personal transformation in her. Now living her childhood dream, she’s a self-taught woodblock artist and a fly-fishing guide.
“I use woodblock to challenge me and my thought process. As I carve the wood, I continually remind myself to soften the edges and dark areas, not to draw in every detail. Sometimes it is what you don’t carve or call attention to that has the greatest impact. A lesson in life and how I want to live.”
Her artwork begins out in the field where she sketches her inspired surroundings. Then she transfers the drawings onto a sustainable wood block in reverse. She carefully prepares the woodblock as a relief pattern, cutting away the negative spaces with Japanese hand tools in several sizes. When she is satisfied with the carving, she inks the block and prints it onto paper.
Hannah’s work comes from an old tradition that she deliberately chooses, “I avoid the overt use of modern technology by carving, pressing, and printing in the old-fashioned method…by hand.” She uses oil-based inks and prints onto archival Japanese paper for her black and white images and archival watercolor paper with watercolor paint for her colored images.
Currently, Hannah resides with her husband and 7-year-old twins on the banks of the Salmon River in Idaho. They live off-grid in a sustainable straw-bale home, which they built. They maintain bees, a garden that feeds the family, and pure joy for their surroundings.
Up your steez and support guides this summer when you rock the NRS Rafting Hat. This limited-edition trucker hat is handcrafted by Colorado-based Blowfish Designs for life on the river. The comfortable terry-cloth sweatband feels great against the skin and a mesh-back offers welcome ventilation on scorcher days. One size fits all with the plastic snapback adjustment. Features hand-stitching and a pre-curved bill.
Chums Original Retainer – LE
A new spin on the classic Chums eyewear retainer, this limited edition Chums Original Retainer features artwork by Idaho Guide Hannah Spencer. Classic Chums cotton eyeglass retainer keeps sunnies safe in water or on land. Fits all standard size frames with an adjustable bead to help create a custom fit.
Neoprene Chums Retainers are a favorite of river rats, beach bums and anyone that spends time on the water. This limited-edition design features original artwork by Idaho guide Heidi Messner. The industry standard for neoprene retainers, these Chums are lightweight, quick-dry and easily adjustable. Lock-stitched ends slip over most size eyewear frames, though for a tighter fit, slide the retainer further down your frames. Best spec for last: these retainers will float frames weighing up to 15 grams.
The durable Chums Surfshort Wallet allows globetrotters, hippies and drifters alike to carry everything they need while staying small and compact. Constructed with durable ripstop nylon fabric. Two zippered pockets safely stow your cards and cash. Features an outside ID window and disappearing key ring.
The Limited Edition NRS Guide Design T-Shirt celebrates days on the river and the working guides who make it happen. This soft cotton/poly blended tee features a heathered pattern. Featuring original art by Idaho guide Hannah Spencer and printed in the Pacific Northwest.
Why Redside? We’ll let the artists (and guides) speak to that.
“I’m a huge supporter of what the Redside Foundation has to offer for guides in this industry and community. [It] is a true gem and wonderful organization with endless resources available for all, and overall, they are all here for this amazing, hard-working community of past, present, and future guides.” —Heidi Messner
“When we support each other by creating healthy relationships and mindsets, we begin to build our own toolbox to help build healthier foundations for ourselves and for the community we live in. The Redside Foundation does just that. By paving the way to support the men and women who give endlessly to others and find themselves depleted at the end of their seasons, they are holding our heads, hearts and hands for a brighter world.” —Hannah Spencer