Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Our Long Weekend in Seattle

The first weekend in December Steve and I flew out to Seattle ... and we both took hundreds of photos. Honestly, I meant to blog about the trip sooner, but the holidays were quickly upon us and the photos were neglected until New Year's eve when visiting my parents in Slippery Rock. Thus, I'm posting now .... a month later .... and with the knowledge that we're about to travel to Phoenix for another long weekend of sight-seeing during which time I'll be taking even more photos!

So....the trip in a nutshell:

We arrived midday on the "First Thursday" of the month ... which meant all the art galleries, artist studios, and exhibition spaces in the Pioneer Square area where open late. This was a perfect, artsy way to be introduced to a city full of culture, diversity, and fun!

We visited too many studios to count in a converted warehouse(619 Western Avenue)....six stories of creativity. The crowd of people attending was as interesting as the artwork.

One young girl carried a "purse", or should I call it a "pet cage" of mice. There were "goth chics" and fashion models and Harley Davidson-cyclers and "leftovers" from the hippie generation. There were businessmen and socialites and parents of art degree seeking college students. People came in taxis, cars, mass transit, bicycles, and skateboards. Amazingly, I didn't feel "old" or "out of place". I felt like a "little fish" swimming in the "ocean" ... and it felt great. How I'd love to live in a city with such a vibrant visual arts scene, where the "established artists are names like Dale Chihuly" and everyone else just MAKES ART. It was a slice of heaven.

I particularly LOVE how artists "clean up" for such shoving supplies into corners! (I do this too!)

I also adore the arrangement of sort of looks like my organizational system for yarn and thread....and just about as "neat and clean"!

The diversity of "source material" and "articles for inspiration" look similar to my "stash" too!

The inventiveness for electrical needs is impressive...and I'm not going to show a photo of my small dry mount press as it looks even more like a "fire trap"!

Now....I really wish my studio door had such a brilliant "sign"! I might have to work on this one!

So....this is me....trying on a piece of fashionable artwork. I didn't purchase it....but maybe I should have!

Visiting personal spaces of creativity has always fascinated me....and no wonder! Each artist has a unique way to approach the process and a special manner of surrounding himself with visual ideas! It was a GREAT evening!

We saw some amazing fiber work Luke Haynes' quilts which were on exhibit in his own gallery along with two other male quilters: Joe Cunningham and Shawn Quinlan.

Two days later, we found the "official guide" for "First Thursday". There is no possible way that one person can take in all the events and locations in a single evening. It is MIND-BLOWING! If I ever have the opportunity to return for this monthly event, I'll first visit:

There are SO MANY galleries in this area of town! There's art for every taste and every budget. Even vacant/for rent store fronts weren't empty but used for installation artwork like James Barker's Metal Land. The sign read: Recycled sheet metal and prehistoric computer parts!

Our hotel was in the Pioneer Square district....very near the famous Smith Tower, once Seattle's tallest structure (now 7th).

Nearby is a Waterfall Park. It was the original UPS location!

(Above: The Victorian bus stop in Pioneer Square.)

Seattle is a city known for its coffee too. Pioneer Square has several nice coffee shops ... even "sole proprietor-ships" like Zeitgeist where the artwork rotates and is booked approximately six months in advance.

We had both a cup to "drink in" and a cup "to go"!

(Above: Art at Zeitgeist)

We also spent the better part of an afternoon browsing through the famous Pike Street Market. I took dozens of photos of pasta, fish on ice, news stands, Christmas wreathes, and booths of handmade craft items.

(Above: The Pike Market pigs dressed up for Christmas...including a lead sleigh-puller with a bright red, shiny nose!)

(Above and below: Pike Street Market interior shots)

(Above and below: SEAFOOD!)

(Above: One of the beautiful dried floral arrangements)

We also took the 1962 monorail from downtown Seattle to the site of the Space Needle....the sight of the '62 World's Fair.

The grounds include International Fountain. No still image does this amazing water display justice. The streams shoot at various heights and pressures to classical music. It is dazzling and people applaud. (So did we). I took a video .... Beethoven .... it is HERE!

In 1962 my grandparents were in Seattle. Grandpa was in one of the exhibition booths promoting the use of an electrical truck called GOLIATH. He and grandma had dinner at the rotating restaurant atop the Space we did too!

The sunset was magnificent!

The cityscape at night gave me an opportunity to capture the lighting using every possible combination of shutter speeds and aperture openings on my camera....and THEY ALL TURNED OUT! (Probably because the city is too beautiful for images to ever be bad!)

Unfortunately Santa's hours in the Space Needle were only during the day time....because I would have paid for my photo with him in his futuristic sleigh!

The dinner was very, very good too.....expensive....but worth it! (Steve moved too much....this is NOT the result of too much wine....I think!)

We also visited the Seattle Museum of Art and its sculpture park! One can see this Calder piece long before entering the area!

One evening we attended the Nutcracker by Pacific Northwest Ballet. The sets, customs, and curtains were all designed by the famous Maurice Sendak. Obviously, one isn't allowed to snap photos of the performance .... but everyone was taking pictures of the curtain. I had to pose with the sculpture of the Mouse King in the lobby too!

We also made two trips outside the city.

One was to the Bellevue Art Museum (all fine crafts and really, really wonderful). The institution accepts unsolicited exhibition proposals. I'm very likely WAY OUT OF MY LEAGUE....but it is worth a shot...perhaps my work might merit consideration for curated group shows? Who knows! While there April Richardson was giving a free, hands-on monoprint demonstration. It was lots of fun.

We also took the ferry to Bainbridge Island.....

....enjoying the amazing view of Seattle and then walking the shopping district full of flower shops, art galleries, a kayak shop, an independently owned fabric shop called Esther's...

....and another sole proprietorship, a knitting shop called Churchmouse Yarns.

At 10:30 at night on Saturday, we went to the IMAX theater to see the new Harry Potter movie! It was fantastic on the large screen and the place was PACKED!

Despite leaving well after midnight and walking all the way back to our hotel, it was so much fun. Besides, Seattle's sidewalks are even great. They have a "walk of fame".... including Dale Chihuly's footprints!