Category Archives: Art — there is art here!

An adventure with the Big Duck

So the World’s Largest Rubber Duck floated into Tacoma this weekend and of course I had to go see it. So I grabbed dear daughter and her friend and off we went. I was expecting a difficult time getting to the duck which is part of the Festival of Sails, but it was a breeze. We found a marvelous parking spot in the free parking garages near Freighthouse Square and the Link came along right away. We hopped off at the Union Station stop and walked down to the waterfront. There was a short line to gain entry to the metal walkway to the docks, but I had advanced tickets, so that went well too. We had a grand time exploring most of the historic ships and taking photos of the huge duck “Mama Duck” which is six stories high. Doing some research I learned that the duck was created by artist Florentijn Hofman from The Netherlands. In addition to US stops it has also appeared in Australia, Taiwan, China, Belgium, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil and elsewhere.

Really it was a great deal of fun. When we went to leave we found a long line to go up the metal walkway, but the line wasn’t moving. The word quickly spread that there was an electrical concern (maybe fire) and the ramp, which was the only way on or off the docks, was closed. The ships on display were without power, making me concerned for the big duck which was set up with a electric propeller fan. So while most folks waited patiently in line, the three of us went back to explore some more and hang out in comfort. In the end the city’s fire boat pulled up at the other end of the dock providing a pathway (evacuation route) to the shore, though that jump at the end was a pretty big one! Happily there were some nice guys to offer a helping hand.


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Natives at the Pacific Bonsai Museum

Dear daughter and I went to revisit the Himalayan Blue Poppies at the Weyerhaeuser Rhododendron Gardens in Federal Way before they completely faded away for the season. In the United States, these poppies only grow in parts of New England, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, so we are lucky.

While we were they we checked out the adjoining Pacific Bonsai Museum, which we had been through a half dozen times. This time though there was a really great exhibit titled Natives. Per the brochure “each display in Natives is a composition of four artists — the bonsai artists, the kusamono artist (Young Choe), the ceramicist (Victoria Chamberlain) and the visual artist (Iuna Tinta)”. In case you don’t know (I didn’t) a kusamono artist creates potted arrangements of wild grasses and flowers in unique pots or trays. So each display has a bonsai, a companion kusamono (accent), the ceramic art (often using minerals from the depicted region) and a visual piece of art, all of which are centered around a particular place. It is a marvelous exhibit and worth some real time. The exhibit runs from April 8- October 8, 2017 and more information can be found here.

And, of course, there are some photos of the blue poppies and other foliage from the gardens.

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Lewis and Clark, End of the Trail in Seaside Oregon

The Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled 4,000 miles over 18 months to reach this place on the Pacific Ocean. This statue by Stanley Wanlass commemorates Lewis and Clark as well as Seaman, the Newfoundland dog that traveled with the expedition. At first I thought it odd that the statue faced away from most of the traffic, but of course it makes sense, Lewis and Clark are looking west!


It was our first time in Seaside Oregon and dear husband proclaimed it much like Atlantic City, NJ. Well, perhaps the Atlantic City years ago prior to gambling being legal there! The downtown area was full of stores, restaurants and hotels. Even the beach had a good number of folks on it, though they were sensibly wearing coats and rain gear. Mostly I just walked since I had our dog, Lilly, with me and she isn’t welcome in the establishments for the most part.

 

Artist & Craftsman Supply Tacoma

The Artist & Craftsman Supply Store at 612 St. Helens in the Antique Row area of Tacoma opened in November 2016. Dear husband and I finally made our way down there and really we were very impressed. Dear husband has been in many an art supply store, but he declared this to be the best stocked that he has ever seen. We picked up some Easter basket stuffers, a book, some paint and some photo-transfer sheets. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and I’m positive we’ll be back.

Artists & Craftsman is an employee owned company with  many stores, mostly along the country’s coasts. There is a website for the company. The Tacoma Artist & Craftsman store has a Facebook Page with information on upcoming events and sales. Educators receive a 10% discount.

The building, constructed in 1928, was originally the Wagner Motors Building with Silas E. Nelsen as the architect. It was the dealership for Studebaker – Erskine. It continued to have an automobile orientation until 1949 when it became a carpet distributor. I remember it being the Mandarin Antiques Store. Artist and Craftsman occupies most of the lower level of the building.

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Update one week later. It finally stopped raining for a few minutes and I got a photo of the outside of the building.

 

Principia, the world’s largest Foucault pendulum

The Oregon Convention Center features some wonderful public art and one of my favorites is Principia, the world’s largest Foucault Pendulum. The Convention Center’s art guide says this about the piece “The dramatic Foucalt pendulum hangs from the north tower and swings across a 40’ halo of suspended gilded rays. Directly below, a 40’ blue terrazzo floor is inlaid with brass rings and colored stone “planets” depicting a fantasy solar system.”. It is a beautiful creation and I suspect that many people don’t notice it gently swaying over head nor the terrazzo floor underfoot.

Very short videos can be seen here and here. A brief explanation of the history and importance of the Foucault Pendulum can be found on Wikipedia. A fun way to see the art is to go to the convention center’s 360 page and look at the Exhibit Space, Pre-conference Halls A & B.


Holladay Park, Portland

Holladay Park at the NE 11th Ave & Holladay St. in Portland, Oregon is named after its creator, Benjamin Holladay who was “a sharpster, a con man, and a rake” according to the City of Portland Parks and Recreation Department. The park occupies an entire city block and features three cast-bronze sculptures by artist Tad Savinar and a spouting fountain (I just got caught once!) designed by designed by Tim Clemen and Murase Associates.

There is a video of the fountains here.

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Interesting Art in Auburn

bird head with forks

Gear Art

 

 

 

 

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Auburn has some terrific public art and today I braved the cold rain to capture two of the best. The delightful piece is called “Gear Ball” and it is by Jenny Ellsworth. It is made of truck parts and is part of the Auburn Downtown Sculpture Gallery.

Greg Bartol and Deborah Drllevich’s Silverware Ostrich earned the People’s Choice award in 2015. It is a great piece from a car drive by, but I’m so glad I got out of the car to really take a look at it. It is made out of silverware!

More about art in Auburn can be found here. I plan to go back when the weather turn nice (hopefully soon!) and see all the other pieces!

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Decline to Sign, I-1552

There was a rally today (2/25) against Washington State Initiative 1552, which would “repeal critical protections for transgender Washingtonians” (Source). The news reports that there were over 2,000 people there and I readily believe that. I was delighted to see many people I know there supporting themselves and their transgendered friends and family. I started at the railing, but moved up to the sky bridge, where the view was better, though it was more difficult to hear (of course).

I was standing on the sky bridge when a young mother came out with her child who was maybe three. They walked over to see the cheering crowd and she turn to her child and said “look how many people love us!”. It was a lovely moment.

Later I found my first Tacoma Rocks Rock which I later hid. Oh and there is a photo of a flower on my table at lunch and some of the old buildings on the University of Washington Campus.

 

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Folk Art in West Seattle

Dear husband and I were recently in West Seattle and I took the chance to check out some folk art, roadside attractions. The first stop was at 5274 44th Ave. SW, Seattle, WA and that home had some wonderful tree carvings in the front. Dear husband especially enjoyed the fairy hanging out on the chimney. The roadside attraction info can be found here. This is a private residence, but the art can readily be seen from the street.

The second stop was the nearby Walker Rock Garden at 5407 37th SW, Seattle, WA. I remember going to see this rock garden more than 20 years ago when it was open one Mother’s Day. I was so impressed. Here are some older photos from when I begged a peek. The amazing rockery was created by Milton and Florence Walker and the property has since sold. I’m not sure of any future plans, but it would be so wonderful if it was again opened up to the public on special occasions. The roadside attraction information can be found here and there is an Atlas Obscura entry, with some good photos, that can be found here. This is a private residence and not open to the public.

 

 

The signs of the Lincoln District, Tacoma

Today was the celebration of the Lunar New Year in Tacoma’s Lincoln District and I took the chance to snap some photos of the new signage that reflects the revitalization of the district. An article on the revitalization project can be found here. I love this district and am really looking forward to how the revitalization project proceeds. It was also a joy to see how some of the more recent immigrants are positively shaping the country.

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