the meaning of wood, olympia edition

Posted in Art, Artists I Know, Artwork, Shows on April 17th, 2014 by Cheri – 2 Comments

One week ago tonight was the opening reception for The Meaning of Wood at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia (details in sidebar ==>>).

13 MOW OLY Opening 10April2014 033Peter left work early so we could make the trek south to arrive before the crowd so I could take pictures.

It’s a good thing we did; this is the scene an hour in (thanks to Peter for taking this picture while I mingled).

13 MOW OLY Opening 10April2014 020As was the case when this show appeared in Longview, it was curated by Suze Woolf. Continuing her work painting burned trees, these are her works. Tauromachia is painted on shaped watercolor paper, then mounted to foam core so it sits out from the wall, achieving a dimensional affect.

The work under plexi, Inverse, is cast paper, molded from actual burned branches, with painted versions above. I’d seen these when she was originally casting and love the finished assemblage.

13 MOW OLY Opening 10April2014 011My forests continue to grow. Forest of Tomorrow? is now at ~85 trees. Inspired by Suze’s obsession, my dead trees form a vein, as though they had been touched by fire and the smaller adjacent trees spared. It was a happy accident that the black trees are the tallest.

Forest of Yesterday has grown to five Brown Paper Trees, each of a slightly different design.

13 MOW OLY Opening 10April2014 004

This may be the final showing for the tallest tree. At over 5 1/2 feet tall and 2 feet wide, it is transported in six pieces and assembled in place. The height, coupled with the weight of the paperclips that join the toilet paper tubes, makes it unstable at the top. This time, we leaned it against the wall and nailed it to the pedestal base to keep it from falling.

On the other hand, with reviews like this one, perhaps I’ll work on ways to strengthen the structure.

The gallery manager, Nathan Barnes, suggested attaching one tree to the wall. It took us some time and input from show co-organizer Kathy Gore Fuss to find the right arrangement of the others.

Kathy’s painting Cedar IV, is on the right in the photo below. She paints the forest near her home in Olympia. I hear she has a fabulous studio and hope to visit when we take the show down.

13 MOW OLY Opening 10April2014 001Also pictured are Horizontals 36, 37, and 38 by Stephen Kafer. This photo doesn’t begin to do them justice – they are assembled from different types of wood, the grain and rough broken ends showing the real beauty of the wood.

Wood Solace by Perri Lynch Howard, is on the right. This is a new addition to the show with lovely detail of undulating wood laminate strips mounted on a wood base.

Ironically, one of my favorite pieces from Longview, named Solace, by Aaron Haba, also used wood to create movement.

This is a packed show, in a smaller space. I like the intimate, single floor arrangement. The pieces seem to play with each other more. I have more photos to illustrate that thought but will save for another post.

busy Saturday night (part 2) and RE Store Show (part 2)

Posted in Art, Ballard, Recycle, things I love about Seattle on April 16th, 2014 by Cheri – Be the first to comment

RE Store opening 12April2014 003

With the February jurying process a distant memory, it was fun to walk into The RE Store Recycled Art Show on Saturday and see the art, in person, that we’d previously only viewed on screen.

RE Store opening 12April2014 005This wall sculpture by Bret Lyon, “Movement No.37,” was as interesting in person as I had hoped. Made of the guts of a piano, it’s got a beautiful industrial feel. That it is not perfectly symmetrical is lovely.

I like art from cast-off materials when the work is so striking that it obscures the underlying materials.

RE Store opening 12April2014 015“Belle Aire” by Dennis Brandt begs you to look closely to see the toy doll, guns and other components, painted gold, that adorn the oversized toy car/planter (those are real live sedums!).

RE Store opening 12April2014 014This view of the gallery shows the work of Laurette Chasse (”Beijing, layered time/space map” is the screen in the center) and mosaic artist Jennifer Kuhns who were both mentioned in my previous post.

In the foreground is a duck “decoy” carved by artist IL from a piece of scrap concrete. With the large aggregate in this piece, it must have been quite a challenge to carve.

The three wood pieces in the back were created from salvaged fir beams and large bolts by James Taylor one of the talented carpenters who works for The RE Store’s REvision Division.

RE Store opening 12April2014 007They reminded me of my wonderful old 1928 house built with original growth fir beams.

I enjoyed the show in person and was proud of the art we’d chosen. I was also relieved that there was enough to fill the space.

I shouldn’t have worried though, as Marybeth Barr did a great job hanging the show, as always. That’s her back (and mass of wavy red hair) in this picture.

Nice job everyone!

interactive art, selfies and reconnecting

Posted in Art, Artists I Know, Assemblage, Cheri's Work, Shows on April 14th, 2014 by Cheri – 2 Comments

Interactive opening 12April2014 017Saturday evening was busy for us, with the openings of Interactive in Redmond and  The RE Store Show in Ballard.

Here I am with my Peep Show at the former, a show that includes 9 works of art that you can (and should) interact with to get the full effect.

That is also me below – can you tell?

It’s a drawn selfie, a clever idea presented by artist and art educator Phil Jensen. Standing in front of a mirror, Phil told me to close one eye, reach out and at arm’s length, and draw what I saw.

selfieA taped transparency sheet allows each person to leave with his or her own image.  Mine is smudged – I erased the marker to redo the lower part of my face (hmm, I guess I really do have a square jaw!). Though I’ve not drawn in years, this makes me want return to it.

This is Phil, posing wearing another interactive piece, an apron by an artist duo. Jacqui Calladine created the garment of recycled textiles. Annuska Perkins designed the motion-driven lighting. The audience is invited to wear the apron and see how movement changes the activity, pattern and color of the lights.

Interactive opening 12April2014 001Interactive opening 12April2014 022

Interactive opening 12April2014 025It’s a prototype – they are exploring what can be done with the idea without being overtly costumey. I’m sure I’ll have to dream about ideas for this technique!

Here’s Annuska fitting it on another of the artist participants, Heather Washburn. I also wore it for a while – we artists clearly are adventurous about such things.

With our pieces hanging across from each other, we started talking as the reception got under way. She seemed so familiar to me, but it wasn’t until she said her last name that I realized that we’d met 10+ years earlier at a company event (her husband Dan and I both used to work at Point B).

Interactive opening 12April2014 018Funny small world, isn’t it?

Here are Dan and their son “interacting” with another piece, creating colorful leaves to add to the wall-hung collage started by Rosie Peterson.

This is my kind of interaction, where I actually get to create something. I’ve been known to get lost in the hands-on activities at museums. Without being self-conscious, I don’t care if they are designed for kids. I just like to make things.

Interactive opening 12April2014 021My leaf is near the top and a mix of past and present me. The pattern is the doodle form found in all my high school and college notes – I was easily bored in class.

The color flow is a theme that shows up in my art and quilting repeatedly – though I’ve challenged myself to work more simply and monochromatically, my exuberance with color often returns.

Stop by Redmond Town Center this month or next to see/do the show (details in sidebar ==>>). Take time to read and follow the instructions or ask the staff to show you how to interact with each piece. It’s a lot of fun.

Kudos to the all-volunteer VALA Eastside group, all artists, who put this on: H Thomas Spencer (hung the show and has a piece in it), Marianne Johnson assistant director, Jessica Lambert co-founder and executive director (left), Marisa Mouton communications director (right), and all the other VALA volunteers. Thanks for this opportunity!

Interactive opening 12April2014 006

Seattle RE Store’s 2014 Recycled Art Show opens tonight!

Posted in Art, Ballard, Recycle, things I love about Seattle on April 12th, 2014 by Cheri – Be the first to comment

It’s been a busy week of art openings. We were in Olympia Thursday night for the second incarnation of The Meaning of Wood (post coming eventually?). Tonight we’re headed to Redmond for the opening of Interactive where my “Peep Show” is hanging.

But this post is about our second planned stop of the evening – The RE Store’s 13th Annual Recycled Art Show. It opens tonight from 6-9 pm and runs through May 7th at Blowing Sands Gallery in Ballard (details in the sidebar==>>).

10 Century 2110 GodivaI don’t have work in the show, but was one of the jurors, along with Diane Kurzyna (Ruby Re-Usable) and gallery owner David Smith.

These are a few favorites that I look forward to seeing, in person.

The striking piece on the left is “Century 21″ and was made by Brian Brenno out of recycled aluminum cans.

Equally interesting and iconic is this mosaic made of scrap glass by Jennifer Kuhns, entitled, “Godiva.”

Thanks to Ruby for getting this post up before I did and including links for the artists (which I lifted – I’ll say it again, “thanks Ruby!”)

This paper collage of published images is by veteran RE Store Show artist Laurette Chasse (of Ballard gardening fame). Her work is always wonderfully layered and complex. This is “Sir Philip Phalarope.” This image doesn’t do it justice. I am intrigued by the fish in the sky and butterfly on his chapeau.

10 Sir Philip Phalarope

Here’s a wonderful abstract piece, “Lid V” made of metal objects so artfully layered and arranged as to disguise their original provenance. That sounded high-brow and arty, didn’t it? In truth, I can’t recall the materials, nor the artist’s name. I’ll update tomorrow with details.

10 Lid

Update 13April2014: The above piece was made by Tristan Francis who says, “For many years I’ve been collecting objects found in the gutter, on vacant lots and in salvage yards. These bits of debris, with their distressed or oxidized surfaces and subtle colors are beautiful to me and serve as my palette for assembling works.” Incorporated in the tiny piece pictured above are a can lid, copper flashing, glass tile selvage, rubber grommets and nails.

This is always a great show and where I got my start showing art from cast-off materials.

Well worth a trip to Ballard!

was it fated?

Posted in existential experiments, reflection on April 8th, 2014 by Cheri – Be the first to comment

After many years of faithfully following my horoscope, today’s should have read like this:

Today is an 9. Follow your instincts early and communicate clearly. Your patience will be on display. Listen with your heart and you will know what to do. Persistence will be rewarded.

Instead, for Pisces the day would be a 5 (give me a bad day or a good day but please, don’t give me a meh day!). There was some drivel about the team and making money. Who writes this stuff anyway? I need my existential horoscope, not the corporate version.

So, per the Seattle Times, the chain of events that was my morning wasn’t my fate. I was just in the right place at the right time. Though I think this story might sound like a humble brag, I’m going to share it anyway…

After being sick most of last week, I’m catching up on office, online and email tasks this week. After seeing Peter off to work at 6:30am, I spent several hours at the computer. Hoping to get in a treadmill warm-up in before my exercise class, I arrived at the gym ~9am.

Exiting my car, I saw a man on the ground in the alley next to the parking lot. As I approached him, asking, “Are you okay? Do you need help?” his red-tipped told me he was blind.

John said he felt dizzy. As he tried to stand, he looked pale and appeared unsteady. Instinct kicked in – I insisted he let me help him sit before he fell and hurt himself. He asked me to call 911. A construction worker from across the street joined us – we pieced together his medical history (type 1 diabetes, had been sick yesterday, felt dehydrated, and had had just water and coffee this morning), shared with dispatch and waited for the paramedics to arrive.

Construction projects had traffic in a snarl and it was so loud it was hard to be heard, in person and on the phone. My location instructions got garbled several times and we waited ~15 minutes for the paramedics to arrive from the fire station a few blocks away. Everybody was having a challenging day but all were calm and helpful.

By the time they evaluated him, John’s blood pressure had stabilized, his skin had pinked up and he was feeling better. I called him a cab and helped him up the street and around the corner so he could wait on the front steps of the YMCA.

I noticed my classmates starting to gather, eager to claim their spots. Typically I get caught up in the rush and anxiety but my gut told me to stay put, be calm and patient. The 5 minute promised wait for the cab stretched into 20; I got water for John, shared my post-workout snack (grapes) with him and suggested some foods he should eat at home to replenish his electrolytes as he rehydrated himself.

We’d been chatting all along, sharing tidbits of our lives and thoughts. By the time we heard the guy yelling in the street, John and I had a comfortable rapport. As we talked about mental illness and I shielded us from view of the yeller, we were approached by a second homeless man. While he ranted, John mumbled faint “ums” and I hummed (I highly recommend humming when you’re feeling stressed – we all know music can be relaxing but the vibration also brought me calm.) Eventually, the second guy wandered off, distracted by something.

It was an odd experience, to be trapped in the midst of mental illness. Normally I would have averted my eyes and walked away. But I felt protective and needed to finish what I’d started.

Honestly, I was relieved when the taxi arrived and the driver capably helped John into the back seat. It was just shy of 10am but it felt like later in a long day. I was a little dazed by the experience. Y staff and members kept thanking me, echoing John’s earlier words. I just kept saying that I couldn’t imagine not helping – it comes naturally to me. This wasn’t a new experience – I think it’s my calling, “to be on the scene.”

Stashing my stuff in a locker, I took the last open spot on the floor. Body Shop worked me hard, helping to shake the surreality of the morning.

I spent the afternoon sending emails – sending thanks for contributions and sending invitations for the upcoming ALS Luncheon. It felt right, in harmony with my morning.

Fate, destiny, a calling, a choice or free will – who knows why we do the things we do?

I’ll keep reading my horoscope, just for entertainment. But when I need guidance, I’ll listen to my heart, my gut, that little voice inside my head that helped me stay calm so I could help.

what a difference a week makes

Posted in Peter's photos, Spring on March 25th, 2014 by Cheri – Be the first to comment

This was the scene Peter saw as he headed out to work last Tuesday. Beautiful, isn’t it?

08 March 18 sunrise 2

This morning dawned much less picturesque, the flat grey sky not worth photographing.

Seattle’s had sun the past few days, with a mid-60s high yesterday. It drew our adult neighbors outside to mow, sweep and weed, while their kids raced up and down the sidewalks (riding on 2 to 5 wheels, depending on their age and bravery).

With a gloomy forecast for the week, I needed to post proof that we’ve had nice weather…

08 March 18 sunrise 1

…and remind myself that it will return. This is Spring in Seattle.

the eagle has landed

Posted in Birds, Port Townsend, flash back on March 14th, 2014 by Cheri – 2 Comments

It’s impossible to escape my childhood memories, including this phrase, spoken by Neil Armstrong, when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Contemplating this blog post while I was procrastinating some other important task, I was transported back to the 1960’s and my 9-year old self’s wonderment at a man walking on the moon.

I can’t say with certainty that I saw the moon landing; we were one of the few families I knew that didn’t have television in our home. I don’t think we owned one for a long stretch of my childhood. Perhaps my parents were progressive, or my father was a Luddite, or maybe we couldn’t afford one. I don’t know (and I enjoy the mystery of not knowing). It was quirk of my growing-up years (foretelling a quirky life, perhaps?).

I recall that we had a rented TV once or twice, during the holidays. And I distinctly remember being fixated on them whenever we visited others’ homes. Closing my eyes, I can still see my “Uncle” Lloyd’s apartment as we watched The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

So maybe I did watch the Eagle land, either at some neighbor’s house or perhaps even at school. The space program was pervasive in our lives and, without the distraction of cable and all the other forms of media we consume today, the thing to watch, literally.

07 eagle eating roadkill (PT) 1Sorry – I digress.

Such a noble sentiment; naming the lunar landing module after our national bird, the majestic Bald Eagle. Except it’s not so. Sure, raptors look amazing in the sky, soaring with their enormous wings outstretched, capturing thermals to lift them up, seemingly without effort.

In this lush corner of the country we call home, eagles are plentiful.

07 eagle eating roadkill (PT) 2But they’re flying high to escape the predictable, annoying and relentless pursuit by crows. Crows own this urban environment and all the carrion that normally makes up an eagle’s diet.

I hear that near the ocean, it’s seagulls that harass eagles in the air.

Visiting Port Townsend, Washington last month, we didn’t witness the latter.

07 eagle eating roadkill (PT) 3But we did get to watch this adult eagle as he munched on his road kill lunch.

Despite their fearsome talons, eagles scavenge most of their diet, prefer already-dead to hunt-and-kill.

We stopped as long as we could, until an approaching car forced us to drive past, startling him off his meal, me taking pictures, hoping for a good shot.

ask and you shall receive

Posted in Books, Port Townsend, Thrift on March 3rd, 2014 by Cheri – Be the first to comment

Though not religious and, in all honesty, not really spiritual, it seems I have a cosmic connection with the gods of the thrift store. Quests used to be on a written list but now all I have to do is imagine something I need and, voilà!

Inspired by a book, pictured on a shelf, in the on-line musings of a fellow artist, a similar yellow spine called to me recently from the lowest shelf in a Port Townsend thrift store.

06 thrifty books 2

Then, a zippered notebook with handle appeared at a Seattle Goodwill just days after I’d imaging replacing a conventional notebook used to store supplies for a future art project (the thin foil yogurt lids kept sliding out of the plastic sleeves).

This is some good karma! I need to go shopping more often.

lunch l’orange

Posted in Cooking, Health on February 20th, 2014 by Cheri – Be the first to comment

Sitting at the window desk in my office one day last week, I noticed that my lunch had about as much color as the gardens do this time of year. Bleah!

It brought to mind the old adage that a colorful meal is a healthy meal. “So,” I thought, “is this a healthy meal?” It’s not as bad as most fast food, where potatoes pass for a vegetable. But it’s also not up to my standards of including leafy greens with lunch and dinner.

05 monochromatic lunch

Most of the good stuff is orange – home-made soup, carrots and a tangerine. The hemp seed is a nice protein addition, to be sprinkled on the soup. All are good, whole, foods.

The gluten-free crackers give the creamy soup some crunch but are highly processed so should be a limited part of my diet.

The Pringles satisfied a need for indulgence (yuck – why does something so devoid of nutritional value taste so good?). At least I didn’t bring to whole can to my desk. And don’t even get me started on the Diet Coke (who knows what havoc sodas wreak in our bodies?).

Reflecting now, swapping kale chips for the textured potato product and freshly-brewed unsweetened iced tea for the carbonated beverage would have been the way to go.

I took this picture to remind myself to make better choices, posting it on the blog to create accountability.

my calendar dog

Posted in Dogs, Humour, Nostalgia, Photography, in memorium on February 13th, 2014 by Cheri – 2 Comments

Buddy was so photogenic – that charming little face, often full of worry, but sometimes carefree – that I always thought he’d be great featured on a calendar. Now, in honor of his passing, I’m finally realizing that idea. hover over each image for its title



01 - January - Snow Buddy

Buddy, with his thick coat, was built for snow and cold. He could handle any kind of weather.



02 - February - Travel Buddy

What better time for a getaway than the shortest month (that can feel like the longest)? Buddy enjoyed a visit to a hotel where dogs were favored guests.



03 - March - Easter Buddy

Always eager to please, Buddy accepted all indignities with patience. Why did we decide the dog needed bunny ears? Probably because it was so darned cute!



04 - April - Take-your-Child-to-Work Buddy

Parents, all over the country, take their children to work in the spring. A photo of Buddy, dressed in suitable work attire, adorned his papa’s cubicle.



05 - May - Backyard Buddy

This photo of Buddy, in our verdant backyard, became the basis for a portrait we commissioned of him. The artwork hangs in our office, a reminder that hope springs eternal.



06 - June - Beach Buddy

Though the dog park was a year-round destination for us, Buddy particularly enjoyed the summer months when the beach was full of yummy seaweed.



07 - July - Garden Buddy

In the heat of summer, what better place to rest than a cool garden? The addition of a new patio shrunk this patch of vinca days after this photo was taken. Buddy must have known.



08 - August - Jailbird Buddy

Exhausted, yet eager to rejoin the fun, Buddy has a time-out during a summer gathering of dogs and humans.



09 - September - Back-to-School Buddy

Ever the sharp-dressed dog, Buddy sports a formal look for the back-to-school season. Once again, he was patient as we dressed him in papa’s old clothes.



10 - October - Halloween Buddy

Sporting a more traditional costume than most of the trick-or-treaters, Buddy is ready to greet the hoards on Halloween. (He’s dressed as a train engineer.)



11 - November - Thankful Buddy

A warm, safe home, loving humans, premium food, frequent dog park visits and your own furniture – things any dog would be thankful for. We’re thankful to have shared Buddy’s life.



12 - December - Santa Buddy

Cute doesn’t begin to describe our very serious little canine elf. Santa Buddy enjoyed opening gifts and all the excitement of the season.