Writing about style, design and all things that catch my eye!

Perfectly imperfect and casually luxe; these are a few of my favorite things.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Moving Forward/Shadow Cast

The past becomes our future as the tide comes in and out (over and over). A seamless movement through time that is naturally affected by what came before. Looking back through my blog history shows that a not-so-subtle change has been afoot for all of 2012. In general, there are far fewer posts and the content is most often driven by places that I've been and have taken my own photos of. Of course, there are still posts on talented people that I think you should know about though. That will never change!

 I must say a big Thank You for being here with me as I leave a tiny footprint through the web...

As our days become longer, steadfast I will be in 2013. I welcome what lies ahead and view it as a figurehead on the prow of an elegant ship might (were that possible), with nothing but the sheer wonder of plunging intrepidly forward...

Figureheads at the new MOHAI 

May your own New Year be bright with sterling possibility!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reverse NEPO 5K, Don't Run!

Here's a post that should have been finished 12+ days ago...

...old news? YES!  Still meaningful news? Certainly!

In it's second year, the actively engaging, albeit snail's pace NEPO House offerings were just as as expansive as in their premier year. Curated for this iteration by Klara Glosova, Sierra Stinson and Zac Bent, this trio kept us on-the-move beyond the physical. In thinking back, I'm most struck by a theme that I kept seeing--- that of slowness, perseverance, & drive. Be it the bubbles being moved in tiny increments across a plate of glass by Hanita Schwartz,  the Endless Goodbye of Alice Gosti and Monica Mata-Gilliam, or witnessing the custom tumbleweed being pushed across the city Erin Elyse Burns, I was made to feel part of a tribe who does what it takes to get through this crazy thing called life.

Luckily, no training was necessary to power through this art & performance event though. Those who pleased could simply arrive and register with the Vis-a-Vis Society by choosing a race name from their list of possibilities. Due to the size of the crowd, it was important  to be flexible if your ideal name was taken though. With first hand experience over disappointment in this arena, I can say that there was a short time period where my group looked like a planned participant (of the dramatic kind) when the only "perfect" name had already been swiped up. Pretty soon however, everyone in my party was comfortable with their names (Heaven Sent, Stumble Upon, and Falling Down), and all was right with the World.

Ready, set, stumble (upon)....

chronicled last year's inaugural event that started in Pioneer Square and ended up at Klara's home/gallery/studio/event-space-- typically a quiet block atop Beacon Hill. This year, that original route was reversed (and even shortened a bit) to enable room to move at the finish line. Care for a glass of lemonade while your clothes dry on the line?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Art in a Box: LxWxH (!)

Box cover on the July/August 2012 Issue RP (re/Place)

Want to get in on a different type of CSA in Seattle? Instead of fruits and vegetables grown on small farms nearby, how about a bit of Community Supported Art created for you by talented artists and authors living in our midst? Expanding upon the locavore movement's socio-environmental foundation is LxWxH founded by artist and curatorial master Sharon Arnold. Think art by the people, for the people! I recently purchased my first box, and it is certainly a delight...

Sitting atop a pile of books is Armchair Philosophy by Julie Alpert
It's one of her Rorschach Tests LxWxH pieces (positive/negative studies)

Each LxWxH issue promises to provide two pieces of art by two different artists, along with an essay by a local writer. Boxes can be purchased individually for $130, or you can go with the annual subscription for $700 (6 issues). Some artists will even create one of a kind pieces for each box (as did both Ryan Finnerty and Julie Alpert for this July/August 2012 issue that I'm showing you a few snapshots from my own box). Not knowing which piece you will receive is part of the allure-- although it was also a bit of a challenge for me to just let go. Had I been able to choose my own, I would have picked different ones, yet I was so pleased with the contents of my box that I wouldn't even trade them if I could! Check out past issues and see how fabulously varied all of this local talent has been.

Top: Oil Painting by Ryan Finnerty 
Bottom: 2 out of 3 (!) Erasure Poems by poet Adam Boehmer 

A detailed note is attached to the back of each Memory Painting by Ryan Finnerty.
Adding to the charm & appeal of each piece.
This one is titled:
The One About Drudgery and the Appearance of Progress

I hear that there are still some boxes of the current issue available. You, too, can get your own special package of art & literature delivered straight to your door. The erasure poems by Adam Boehmer are visual works of art, too. My favorite one is The Water is Cold and I Love You. I absolutely adore that there are three poems typed from a quirky old typewriter onto copies of vintage photographs (perfection). That they were bound together with a handwritten title and signature (in pencil) was another special touch.

If not this one, then maybe the next. Become a modern patron of the arts and fill your home (economically) with local, hand-picked works! Supporting community grown projects tilled from our own urban landscape is where it's at these days.

Read my previous posts here for Ryan Finnerty, and here for Sharon Arnold.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ellensburg, by chance.

Last week, my husband and I were all packed up and driving on our way to do a tour of Washington wine and farmland country when our check engine light turned on and the car started smoking. I jumped out so fast that I spilled my coffee. At that moment, our Walla Walla trip was over before it even began.


Ellensburg proved to be a welcoming college town with a number of well preserved historic buildings, and our 30 hour visit proved memorable, although not at all what we'd planned.

We had been preparing to stay one night out on a family member's farm in the Palouse, yet it turns out that the closest I got to a wheat field was while I was standing there on the side of that highway in 93 degree heat. I did see a lot of hay go by on large semi trucks though. Over 90% of the Timothy Hay grown in Ellensburg gets sent to Japan. It's like fine French wine, Cuban cigars, or any other commodity that has a strong lineage directly linked to it's landscape. Just as our server at Brix Elevage Wine Bar was telling us about his friend who reps this hay, in he walked with two Japanese customers who were in town for that sole purpose. We were introduced, and later we went over to talk with them since one of our daughters is in Japan right now.

Detail of a John Ford Clymer Painting at the Clymer Museum

We spent time on Thursday and Friday at Ellensburg WineWorks  and if you are ever here, be sure to do one of their tastings and buy some wine. It's important to note that you can get a glass of great wine for under $7 in this town! Plus, if sun is what you are looking for, the weather on Friday was 97 degrees (30 degrees higher than Seattle).

Sometimes it turns out that being stuck isn't entirely bad...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Intrigue and the Architect

St. Louis Gateway Arch, photo by Beth Grant*

Being the granddaughter of a Norwegian American architect who moved in the early 1970s from Long Beach, California, to (the middle of nowhere) Nebraska, I am personally familiar with architects who make drastic decisions that don't always make sense. Sometimes it's what we don't know about people that make for the truly grand tale though, and it takes a lot of interest and patience to uncover clues. Enter in to the life of Eero Saarinen, and of the woman who has spent over 20 years exploring his life. There are curiosities to be found, and even a link to secret war rooms during WWII.... 

Mina Marafet is the curator of this show.

The current exhibition at The Nordic Heritage Museum focuses on the architect and designer, Eero Saarinen, who was born in Finland and moved to the US at the age of 13. The child of the famous Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen, it is interesting to note that the two of them shared both a birthday, and later, a profession. With an artist for a mother, it's clear that he had a strong foundation on which he could (unknowingly) become an innovator of 20th Century Design.

During the member reception I nearly missed the guided tour given by curator and design researcher Mina Marefat PhD who has spent decades on this project. She's an architect, urban designer, architectural historian and professor who teaches at Georgetown University in Washington DC. As such, she really made the show *pop*. I was able to briefly speak with her after her presentation. She is poised, intelligent and lovely.

As for Eero Saarinin, in addition to designing famous buildings that we know of such as Dulles Airport, the St. Louis Arch, and the MIT Chapel, the jump start of his career was really in winning a competition for a building that was never even built. MOMA had over 400 entrants for the Smithsonian Gallery of Art project. Hands down, Eero's team won (he was the mind behind it) and its design remains an important chronicle of its time.

You can see that most of the photos that I took don't show his buildings, yet rather, furniture! That classic one legged Scandinavian style of chair that we know so well was actually designed by him, and Mina said that he was the first person to ever design one. A friend of Charles Eames, the two of them often collaborated on furniture designs, and even houses such as this one. I find all of it very fascinating.

From Mina's research we learned that in 1942 Eero moved to Washington D.C. She immediately questioned why he did so, and it took over 10 years for the information she requested to be declassified. When it was, she was surprised to find that he was actually a member of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) which was the forerunner to the CIA. He designed their state of the art war rooms and even created models of buildings that they planned to blow up in the war. A man of his word, he never personally spoke of this time, and Mina was the first to uncover it! How does one even keep such a secret?

Eero Designed the TWA Terminal-- now JFK.

As for my grandfather, Marvin Rosvold, I know that the root of his major move to Nebraska was the fact that he was given an airplane to fly. Ironically, he had joined the Air Force the same year that Eero moved to Washington DC (to join the OSS). As a WWII P47 fighter pilot, he was shot down on his 65th mission during the Battle of Normandy, yet I never even knew this while he was alive. Luckily, he survived and went on to fly 12 more missions. In later years he designed airports, military bases, churches, and the American Embassy in Saigon, Vietnam (later destroyed). My mother likes to say that my creative streak comes from him. True, true, I'd say...

If there was one thing I would like to see more of in the exhibit on Eero Saarinen, it would be more photos and possibly actual models of his architectural designs. Mina mentioned that very few originals survived and that recreating them would cost thousands of dollars. In the end, while I learned a lot about his life, his design philosophy, and his furniture design, I was left wanting more concrete visuals of buildings. He was a prolific man, and since my interest was piqued, I've found many images of his works while searching online myself.

Catch this Eero Saarinen exhibition through August 19, 2012

*As a fan of Instagram, I took all but the first photo myself.  One of my favorite Insta-friends is Beth Grant who emailed me the St. Louis Arch photo. Isn't it stunning? In our exchange about another photo of hers, I learned that her grandfather helped to build it--  what a great twist to my tale!

As I get to the end of this wordy post, I'd like to say thanks to all the great men out there. It is Father's Day weekend after all! Let's celebrate the guys...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

haunting interior shots

Twin Peaks has been playing in my house lately, yet I'm not the one watching it. However, from a time long ago, that background music is indelibly set in my mind (along with the voices of the characters). As such, they have only added to the mystique of my recent travels when I've taken pictures in the grey/blue light of this Pacific Northwest locale. This time, come inside with me in tiny Centralia, and out on Hood Canal...

The Cabin, Hood Canal.

To tell the truth, this actually started out as sort of a test post since the font on my last one was all wrong. The recent changes to google blogger created some other oddities, too. I'm just trying to live with it all since I can't fix it. Please bear with me!

 Special thanks to Instagram for these photos that I took. It is indeed my latest obsession... 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Serene Sky

A typical April in the Pacific Northwest is one where the sky is overcast with a serene grey tone. Those intermittent days when the sun truly comes out feels worlds apart from these blue tinged days-- more exciting, yes, yet not nearly as contemplative as the ones where the sky never lets in a single ray of sunlight. From the Mima Mounds of Central Washington to the banks of Hood Canal, see the allure...

At the Mima Mounds outside of Olympia.

Mima Mounds

...back out to Hood Canal which I last blogged about in July 2011.
The runaway beach ball-- eventually retrieved. 
61 degrees Fahrenheit-- time for swimsuits!
Creating our own warmth with endless fires both inside and out. 

I feel like all this grey creates a state of being that makes me think that something pending is just around the corner. Wondrous things maybe. As such, I'll take these days and bake a cake before reading a book while seriously bundled up! No matter the state of the sky, enjoy your final days of April.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Red Current (sweet fruit) at Roq La Rue

It's raining, it's pouring, and since there are only 5 more dates to catch this remarkable show curated by the smart and captivating local artist Sharon Arnold, put on your Wellies and get out the door. Make haste as there are 37 incredibly varied and talented artists whose works are displayed salon style in this swooping space.

Kimberly Trowbridge Arcadia on the back wall (it's massive)

To see what the opening night party looked like, take a look on Hi-Fructose (plus see photos of the artists standing beside their work). I was otherwise engaged that night with out of town guests, yet I hear it was really and truly an epic event. While the fact that these are all female artists is something that doesn't need mention, I did remark upon it to my own (young) artist daughter Miss M as it seems notable that people would never comment on gender if a show only included works by male artists. As in, "Hey, there's a show called White Matter that's featuring 37 male artists." Hmm, no, you would never hear that. Now that I've commented, I'll tell you that this show is indeed overtly centered on women, and yes, it's absolutely amazing.

Pelican Goddess by Mandy Greer shimmering in the sun

My own Miss M is enchanted (as was I).

Seattle is such a great art town. The recent wave of shows and events is pointing in the right direction-- which looks to me to be forward thinking and groundbreaking. It's been a lot of fun, and it feels very welcoming and inclusive. It's also clear that Sharon Arnold has done it again. Be sure and adventure forth to see what she's gathered for show and tell this time!

Photos taken with my iphone 3gs which means no flash. 
The Pelican Goddess would like for you to see her face in person.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

spring dreams of colorful festivities

Come the end of February, tiny hints of spring make me dream of fresh flowers, pretty dresses, and gorgeous tabletops set out in a garden setting. Seattle's own events and styling duo Tes de Luna and Sarah Furstenberg have fueled these visions with their ideal (to me) kind of parties. They formed their company in 2011, and aptly named it Crinoline and Tweed. Sounds like perfection, right? 

I invite you to continue along with me and daydream as we wander through some more delightful scenes. 

flowers by marigold & mint

Be sure to look at Crinoline and Tweed's photo gallery for more enticing shots, and read their blog  for further examples of their memorable parties. With their attentive eye to styling, they often utilize natural abundance as the backdrop (via location, flowers, favors), they go the full mile of individualizing each event by sourcing wardrobe items, creating artistic touches like custom invitations, banners or name plates, sourcing the best florists and bakers (etc). It all comes together like the perfect setting in a movie; yet all along the way, they make it look effortless!

mini pies!

I'm planning on attending the March 31, 2012 NW Vintage Wedding Fair to visit with my friends at Crinoline & Tweed, both to see their table, and also to catch what the other fabulous vendors have on display. While I only know of one current 'future bride' amongst my friends, I'd like to continue to delight my own party loving sensibilities! You're all invited...

Photos courtesy and copyright of the ladies over at Crinoline and Tweed.
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