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

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

Saturday, May 30, 2015

2014 NEPO 5K Photos Culled From my Digital Attic

Memories of the sheer positivity of last year's 2014 NEPO 5k Don't Run fall forth from my photo library (heavy on family shots this year). Not all artists are mentioned as I have lost my concise & very handy map.This truly was the most uplifting, happy-energy NEPO 5k to date (their final version, as it currently stands, will culminate August 29, 2015). Thanks go out to the magnificent curators Klara Glosova, Sierra Stinson and Zack Bent.

With Akiko Masker making bento boxes.
Cutie Beauty, Ward Warlow and Cub- Sometimes-Cat.

Cloak Megumi Shauna Arai

Neuroses will return at 3:30.

Greg Lundgren advertises at squirrel/ground level 
At the finish line.
Here are the first 3 NEPO 5k Don't Run events that I wrote about in further detail: 
2011,  2012  and 2013

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

interconnectivity (in a one week span of time)

In brief: I first saw the finished John T. Williams Memorial Totem Pole last week. 
Today, I spoke to Rick L. Williams at Pike Place Market at 10:45 a.m.
By 11:10 a.m. I stood in a room at the Frye Art Museum watching a video projection when I faintly heard an audio recording repeatedly stating "Put the knife down," followed quickly by the sound of 5 gunshots.

I instantly cued in, and knew what this was from. Two weeks ago I might not have even heard it since there was another video projection in the room (with much louder sound).
I thought about how painful this would be for the family of John T. Williams to hear in a gallery space, and then I remembered that they both heard and saw much worse in the courtroom. They still must be mentally reliving it everyday.

 I almost forgot that I first wrote a design post in relation to this back in 2011. 

The show at the Frye is called Your Feast Has Ended, and even in its visually fun moments, it is a powerful commentary on race relations, power, and an appropriation of cultures that (probably) are not your own by birthright. It is a must see show.

Video still from a version of this one
by Nicholas Galanin. Even the
audio is edited for the
Frye show.

 In full (PLEASE SKIP AHEAD to the jump if in a hurry): last week I finally stumbled upon the totem pole in its permanent location on the grounds of the Seattle Center. Oddly, this was a long time coming for me to see in person since it was erected there almost two and a half years ago (and I am at the Seattle Center on a regular basis). I had even spoken to master carver Rick L. Williams on a few occasions as he tirelessly turned this massive trunk of a red-cedar tree into a 34' commemorative totem pole to both honor the memory of his brother John, and also to promote cultural awareness for all peoples of Native American and First Nations heritage.

When I stopped by Pike Place Market this morning, I was standing off to the side talking to my husband on my cell phone. Rick was walking by and I held the phone down and away from my ear to tell Rick how beautiful his finished work was. We spoke for about 5 minutes (of course, my husband hung up on me during this time!). Although it seems unlikely (due to the sheer number of people interested in his work), Rick says that he remembers me from years ago. He's a charmer!

I heard about his house in Concrete, about his son who lives there, plus his amazement at the outpouring of love and gratitude he receives around town. He says that in his language there is no word for hate, and there are no swear words. It isn't in his nature to hold a grudge, plus, I can tell you that his smile could light up the world.

A little while later, when I entered the room at the museum, I wasn't expecting for everything to fall into place when I heard those gunshots. I stood there for a long time trying to hear them again, yet I never did. It felt profound* to be in this space watching two looping videos across the room (one with a modern dance along to tribal drumming and chanting, and the other with a traditional dance set to techno music).

Foreground: Nicholas Galanin / Inert 2009,
Plus his video loops of two connected, yet
disparate dance pieces.

In the end, my own three, connected experiences over this past week were: 
unexpected, fortuitous,
 and basically just meant to be.

This sort of thing happens to me a lot.

Tonight, I'm still thinking about the fact that with his piece of wood and his 3" blade, that John T. Williams was carrying the equivalent of a paintbrush and a canvas. He was just trying to cross the street. May the totem pole be the beacon of peace that it's meant to be. It's the first one raised around here in over 100 years, and it is sure a thing of beauty.

On a related note, be sure to look at the work of photographer Matika Wilbur who is traveling the United States to document tribes in these modern times. Simply stunning.

*I had just spoken to his brother not a half an hour prior!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Recap: NEPO 5k 2013 don't (you dare) run!

The Vis-a-Vis Society offers up names.

The 3rd annual NEPO 5k Don't Run was a roaring success of heartfelt, energetic, (at times) incredibly serious, yet mostly fun filled performances and/or artworks by a multitude of artists. The fact that it occurred over 6 weeks ago is of no matter, for it's never too late to share (I even loaded these images the day after the fact, yet I had lost my map and was daunted by the effort of looking up all of the contributing artists so as to credit them). Luckily, the event was captured by professional photographers and was recently shown to us in full on the NEPO website. YES! Peruse for yourself and see just what a fantastical day it was. Thank you Klara Glosova, Sierra Stinson, and Zack Bent. Your artistic endeavors help make Seattle a great place to live (and/or visit).

If you will, follow along for a few of my photos...

Kate Larson's piece "Memory Place" (to us, our two names are a noun and a verb!). 
Wordsmith Adam Boehmer wrote out a bold statement with pure white sheets.

Julia Freeman's "Ve-uws: A Peepshow" where hands were assembling 
or disassembling 
works out of several windows in this miniature big top. 
Eric Aguilar's The Feral Spirit

My friend Barbara in front of (?). Anyone know???

The New Animals What Goes Up performance

Carolina Silva made little houses.

Sitting atop the Steps of Love, Seanjean Walsh is dressed as
the Yellow Kid (who recites poetry).
Love Cyclops by Glenn Herlihy. This is my favorite image of our day.

"Lineage" by Jared Bender featured hammers of all types as they were mechanically turned on a rotation device. The strike pads were as interesting as the hammers. It was mesmerizing, yet you must imagine it for my video won't properly load... 

#1 and #2 (2011 and 2012)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Art by own Miss M Summer 2013

Two years ago I wrote about my daughter Miss M and how she's always creating something or other with her hands. Some things never change, and it's time for an update-- especially after her summer spent drawing and painting at the Gage Academy  where there were countless hours spent with paper, pencil, & charcoal under the classical tutelage of Tenaya Sims, and with canvas & oil paints via the skilled teachings of contemporary artist Kimberly Trowbridge . Today is the final day to see two pieces by each of the 10 teen artists involved (hanging in the 1st floor corridor) at SAM. I need to get there myself asap!

Opening night show after 5 weeks of intense work (7+ hours a day).

The Gage Academy holds these courses every summer, yet there are other classes to be taken in the fall, winter and spring. Be sure to check them out if you know teen artists in and around Seattle. Their teaching talent is of the highest caliber, and I am always impressed by the knowledge Miss M takes away with her.
Maggie Grae, self portrait for AP Studio Art 

Supplies on hand at every turn.

 I look forward to what is to come in the next few years! Seattle is such a fantastic city for creative minds.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Statement Pieces by Michelle Starbuck

You know you've got a winning piece of jewelry on your hands when each and every time you wear it, someone asks you both of these questions: "Who made it?" and "Where can I find it?" My own necklace (pictured above) is one such as this. It was made by Chicago jewelry artist Michelle Starbuck who crafts bold pieces by reworking unique vintage finds (& selling them at a price point everyone will love). These are not precious pieces. They are solid and strong; referencing such things as geometry, equestrian needs, American industry & even architecture.

Mix it up and wear these pieces with your precious and semi-precious gems, your gold and your silver. Or, as I often do, just wear one noteworthy necklace made of pure brass. I like that it has three rings of varying sizes. I've even attached personal meaning to it where no meaning is. This is what makes our treasured pieces special, makes them ours.

fresh from the tumbler

New Studio Space 2013

I recently had a chance to ask Michelle a few questions, and when I asked her about her process, she told me this:

"When I'm designing a new piece, I'm always looking for the simplest way to use unique materials.  I use vintage findings and I like the focus to be on the materials, so I try not to overcomplicate things.  When I was working on the design for the Molecule Necklace, I had tons of the little hexagon pieces connected together.  Then I started taking them away until I got down to it's most minimal form.  I definitely think less is more. I like having a lot of tools to work with so I can modify vintage pieces.  Sometimes I'll find a shape that I like, but the finish is terrible.  I like knowing that I can throw it in the tumbler and take the finish off and make it matte or shiny."

Sourcing at the Wolf Myrow warehouse in Rhode Island

Locating materials takes a lot of time and energy. Her recent trip to a giant warehouse was a highlight of this year. When I asked her about it, Michelle responded with the following:

"I've been wanting to go to Providence since I first started making jewelry 8 years ago.  The warehouse I went to was sort of a myth in my head and it turned out to be just as amazing as I had hoped.  I have to rely on other vendors that live in the area and pick through the findings and resell them online.  So it was truly an epic experience to get to dig through it myself for the first time.  I learned a lot from that trip and I'm excited to go back and have better strategies for making decisions faster and buying enough.  Next time, in addition to taking photos as I go, I'll be bringing a notebook, a calculator, and snacks!"

Aside from my top photo, the additional photos are courtesy and copyright of Michelle Starbuck Designs.Shop Indie! Find her in Chicago area stores, at craft fairs, trunk shows and on the web (like I did).

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bon Voyage Copper Gate

Another Ballard landmark is closing their doors for the final time. As of this very moment, that means that you have two nights left in which to visit and have aquavit with a side of pickled herring while listening to live music in their Pussy Room-- shown above with elegant, tufted red velvet wall backings and leather seats (I prefer to call it the Womb Room- as it's the opposite of crass, plus, it's the only area with nary a nude in sight). While the Copper Gate has been around since 1946, it was reincarnated 7 years ago into this go-to modern haunt with a Viking ship shaped bar station, and a whole lot of tasteful, almost innocent nude paintings and photographs of women from a bygone era. In all actuality, these women look a whole lot like all of the women that I know (aside from their hair styles), and a rebirth of the natural nude is something that I hope occurs en masse soon.

Since the Copper Gate has been a local place where I've had drinks with girlfriends, dinner with the husband-- & even held my small 40th birthday party (at a fragile time of loss), I will indeed miss it. Cry me a river, for down goes this Viking ship...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fallen Tree/Enchanted Pendant

Custom pendant necklace by artist Julia Harrison

This is the story of a fallen tree and the special pendant that was made from it's branches. Strength, fragility and purity can be seen in this one piece of wood!  It came into being when I was pointed towards wood artist Julia Harrison. Thus, in the middle of December 2012, I took a log (in a brown bag) over to Julia to do what she may with it (following a discussion of the approximate size desired). Foremost, she needed to let this very fresh wood dry out a bit though. I was in no hurry. As the months went by, this log later shot out branches and leaves in the warmth of her home. To me, this was a very good sign for the resiliency of the tree itself.

 Enchanted apple tree, summer 2011

To backtrack, in the dark of night on the first of November last year, our enormous apple tree slumped to its side in the yard.  Remarkably, not a single root was exposed. In the days that followed, our eldest daughter was still to be found reading amongst its massive limbs. She would even have slept beneath it in wake had we let her.

Over 80 apples were harvested from the fallen tree- previously unreachable.

While we thought we had lost the tree, instead, we had it drastically pruned, pulled back into place, and propped up. While still stark looking, it is growing strong this spring. As for the girl, she has just now been given her necklace at an apropos time. Julia even mentioned that the wood is actually translucent when held up to strong light! It's true. I do so love that, and I am forever grateful that Julia would take the time to work on such a small scale project for a friend of a friend.

Pendant photo by Julia Harrison. Be sure to see how beautifully crafted her artwork is by clicking here.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

ONN/OF (festival of light) withdrawals

It's only been one weekend since the second ever ONN/OF festival flooded the city of Seattle with a well needed dose of light. If you are in said city, go look out your window right now and give a big sigh as you join me in saying "I really wish I could go back to PDL's  Northwest Sunburn Unit and catch a dose of those hot, hot (cancer causing) rays."

So many people turned out for the Saturday night opening that come 10 p.m. the line to get in stretched through the vacant BMW parking lot and out onto the sidewalk. Inside, a DJ was spinning pumping beats as 80's aerobic exercise videos filled a section of the wall. The place was packed and it felt sort of like an art rave. In typical Seattle fashion not that many people were dancing- plus, some of those who did were carrying on with their "site-specific-installation-art" persona. On to some snippets of what was there...

Klara Glosova-
 In watermelon sugar the deeds were done and done again
as my life is done in watermelon seeds.

Julie Alpert

Making hair fascinators under the tutelage of Kate Ryan.

My eyes were (happily) burning from that fierce heat source mentioned above, thus, I took few photos. My memory has etched a strong accounting of these temporary works though thanks to curators, event planners & docents (etc!) Sierra Stinson and Susan Robb. What a fantastical event it was- I even went back the next day for a bit of lazy Sunday afternoon wandering.
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