Monday, November 12, 2007

Emerald City Rocks!

Ian and I went off to Seattle for a spontaneous weekend trip. Well, as spontaneous as one can be knowing there will be arduous lineups at the border! (One hour going down, 1 1/2 hours coming back) We went not to shop, but purely for the culture - the exhibit of quilts from Gee's Bend at the Tacoma Art Museum for me, and the Rare Soul Weekend for Ian. (I did also buy a few books - I am helpless inside the Elliot Bay Bookstore.)

The Gee's Bend quilts have been a major influence on my work, so it was a total thrill to see them "for real". I probably spent more time in that room than I have in any museum since I spent an afternoon in the textiles section of the V&A ten years ago. The work clothes quilts are probably my favourites but there was an abundance of pieces using all kinds of materials, even one of basketball jerseys.

My only criticism would be the cramped installation. The quilts were hung salon style, which made it hard to focus on individual works. I don't know if this was simply due to lack of space in the facility or if quilts STILL don't merit a professional installation in the eyes of museum curators. Would a similar installation been given to the work of Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell or Barnett Newman? Unfortunately the ultimate effect was a little too eye-boggling, even for me.


We also took advantage of the clear sunny day to visit the Glass Bridge by Dale Chihuly. That was eye-boggling too, but wonderful, and a real treat, with Mount Rainier in the background.

I accompanied Ian to one of the Northern Soul events. It was exciting for him to meet some big names in the (somewhat) obscure world of Rare Soul DJ's. It was fun for me to see the dancers, especially the young men and women all dressed up 60's style, showing off all the moves.

We also had some great food at the Malay Satay Hut at 12th and Jackson, and the Grand Central Bakery on Pioneer Square.

Stopping in at Bellingham on the way home, we parked in the unfamiliar downtown, only to find that we were right in front of Spin Cycle Yarns, a lovely studio of handspun and dyed yarns. I met the delightful Rachel, who had a dyepot going, filling the studio with the intoxicating (really!) aroma of wet wool. We explored a bit of the area as well and vowed to return - Bellingham seems to have quite the artsy community, and lots of cool old buildings.

We sat in the lineup at the border, listening to the Smiths of all things (I guess Ian finally had enough of the soul music) and eating our delectable sandwiches from the bakery. All in all a wonderful trip!

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