Category Archives: Art

White Pass Stages a Winter Carnival

This should fall under the heading, “Did you know?” Every year on the first weekend of March, at the summit of White Pass a Winter Carnival beckons snow lovers. I just experienced the 27th annual carnival and found the wealth of activities a delight.     

 

White Pass is located on US Highway 12 on the White Pass Scenic Byway. Many Washingtonians haven’t even visited this ski area and are surprised learn about what goes on there. It offers 1,500 acres of Alpine terrain, Nordic trails and lodging. Snow enthusiasts can downhill and cross country ski, snowboard and snowshoe. The lodge handles equipment rental, has child care, serves food and beverages and houses a well-stocked pro shop.

But back to the carnival. Several volunteers, many who work in the construction business, build a snow castle that becomes the showcase sculpture for the event. More than 15 people helped to create the castle this year. It is made with forms packed with snow. Each element of the structure contains a number of forms, so it’s a slow process, but it’s done that way to make it safe. Throngs of folks walk through the castle at the event, something the kids especially treasure.

    

A safe, snow structure is subject to a most unpredictable Mother Nature.

“It’s crucial that it stays cold for the castle. Rain and wind beat it up,” said David Ruby, a Packwood resident and lead volunteer.

The normal time frame to complete the castle is two weeks; that’s without any unexpected weather fronts.

Touring the castle and using the slide inside is free for everyone. Other activities may involve a fee.

During daylight hours on Saturday and Sunday, skiers and boarders race, take lessons or just tackle some runs for fun. On Saturday evening, a dinner of prime rib or spaghetti is available for purchase. As the night draws to a close, the entire ski patrol carries torches and crisscrosses on skis down the main hill. That signals the beginning of the fireworks show and the end of the evening. Sunday sees more of the same.

I urge you to mark your calendars for the first weekend in March, 2014, so you too can take part in the festivities at White Pass. Or visit anytime to play in the snow.

 For other winter activities available now, look at Visit Rainier.

Explore the Recycled Spirits of Iron Sculpture Park

When I visited the place where Dan Klennert creates and displays his artwork, I had no idea that my husband had been there a number of times before and had taken several of his friends and a brother to see this amazing art. It turns out we even had taken some of the very same photos.

Guess who this native Northwesterner is.

Klennert recycles in the broadest definition of the word and what he makes from what most of us would think is junk turns out to be beautiful. He keeps a room full of driftwood and another with 60 tons of horseshoes in it. A larger-than-life thoroughbred he made was created almost entirely out of horseshoes. In another room, he has several piles of “stuff” and he can tell you just what each pile is going to become as soon as he has the right part to complete it or has the time to get to it. A motorcycle, a bird, a sea creature…

His love of art began when he was practicing welding for a job. That welding morphed into artworks and he’s been creating art from recyclables for the past 40 years. He’s shown them around the U.S.

Daniel Klennert, artist extraordinaire.

This amazing four-acre sculpture park is located in Ashford, Washington, on the way to Mount Rainier. Klennert is happy to have you look around, take photos and ask him questions. And he hopes his art will put a smile on your face. It did mine.

While visiting, you're welcome to use this award-winning outhouse.

Get Into Soap Lake

As you might imagine, Soap Lake is a body of water, but it is also a town of 1,500 in Eastern Washington. I’m pretty sure they all know each other, because while we enjoyed a tasty restaurant dinner there at Don’s everybody else in the eatery recognized each other and chatted with them.

Soap Lake and the newly installed sun dial sculpture.

 

Soap Lake was formed by a mammoth waterfall that eroded basalt rock into what is now Dry Falls. When the waters of the last big flood receded, it left the mineral-rich lake. More than 15 minerals fill the lake, some say giving it extraordinary healing powers. Soaking in the lake water and spreading the lake mud over hands, arms and faces to facilitate healing was done by indigenous people, settlers and is still done today.

A list of all the mineral Soap Lake contains.

The name, Soap Lake, seemed appropriate because of the foamy ridges that formed on the beach on windy days. Besides the lake itself, local spas offer a Soap Lake experience where you can soak in lake-filled tubs. (Although a broken pipe has stopped that temporarily, it will soon be fixed.)

From www.soaplakewa.com:  Some day, Soap Lake will be discovered by the rich and famous. They’ll build a fabulous resort and take advantage of this absolutely one-of-a-kind mineral lake. They’ll hear about Soap Lake and its remarkable history. They’ll swim in the water and lie in the sun and know they have found a place that nourishes their soul as well as their bodies. They’ll be drawn back year-after-year until they decide to stay for the rest of their lives.

If you aren’t rich or famous, visit soon, before the price goes up. If you are rich and famous, we’ve been waiting for you.

Besides relaxing in the sun, Soap Lake has lots of activities throughout the year like Winterfest, the second weekend of December, with a juried art show, art sale, crafts and music. Lava Run to the Sun is a motorcycle rally in late July and the Soap Lake Box Derby takes place over Memorial Day Weekend.

“Outlaw Days” at Mary Olson Farm

When I bought tickets for “Outlaw Days,” I wasn’t sure what it was. But the tickets were only $5 each and I’d heard so much about the Mary Olson Farm in Auburn and the activities there, I thought I couldn’t miss.

You even get music with this interactive play.

Lo and behold, I stumbled onto a real gem. “Outlaw Days” turned out to be a play, but not in the usual sense of the word. Instead, when the scene changed in the production so did the audience and the actors. We followed the play around to different places on the farm and ended up inside the barn for the final act. I’m not sure what they call that kind of play or even if it has a name, but it sure was a fun experience.

The interactive theatre experience centered on a time in 1902 when the Olson family was taken hostage by the notorious outlaw Harry Tracy. I’m not sure if it’s true or not, but the actors make you think it could have been. The acting was stellar and must have been difficult because almost all of them played multiple roles. So there were lots of quick costume and character changes.

 

The play continues this weekend and I urge anyone interested in history or dramatic arts to attend.

The Farm holds numerous events including overnight camping, summer camps for kids, group tours and special events like “Outlaw Days.” A project of the White River Valley Museum, the Farm originally operated as a subsistence farm. In 2011 it was restored to its current state and opened to the general public. The interior of the house is furnished just like an old farm house.

 

Boise’s World Center for Birds of Prey: An Awe-Inspiring Experience

Lately I’ve been traveling quite a bit in the Northwest for travel writing assignments and my most recent journey took me to Boise, Idaho.

Who I slept with at Hotel 43 in Boise.

Boise is home to the World Center for Birds of Prey, a place like no other I’ve experienced and unique in the world. Birds of prey portray grace and confidence to the extent that it reminds us all that nature is in charge. Daily tours and live bird presentations here provide visitors an up close and unforgettable encounter with birds of prey. The facility showcases a California Condor exhibit, an interpretive trail with a stunning panoramic view of Boise, interactive exhibits (lots for children) and outdoor flight shows in the fall.

The Peregrine Fund, headquartered here, is a non-profit dedicated to saving birds of prey from extinction. Throughout the world these birds are threatened by shooting, poisoning and loss of habitat. A 30-year effort successfully removed the Peregrine Falcons from the endangered list. Now they are trying to help other birds of prey.

This is Wally, an Eurasian Eagle Owl in training. Notice his markings resember that of a tiger.

 

Endangered birds are raised here and released to their natural habitats.

The Falconry Archives, in a separate building, honors falcons through art. Of special note is the Arab Wing, paid for by the United Arab Emirates. Since the 1200’s Arabs have hunted with falcons. An exhibit highlights bird hoods so ornate you wonder how many hours of work it took to make them. My guide likened them to fishing flies.  

The Center is very accessible and all on one level. Plan to bring a lunch and use one of the courtyard picnic tables. You’ll not find a better view.

Kids can try on different birds of prey' wings like this one.

I highly recommend this as a must see on your bucket list. I didn’t know about it until I visited Boise, but I’m sure glad that I did.

Storytelling at Powellswood Garden

This is a heads up for an event scheduled for July 14, 2012 at Powellswood Garden in Federal Way.

 

I love to see our beautiful local venues diversifying to draw in more guests. It not only showcases the venue, but in this case some very good professional storytellers, too.

Experience storytellers from across the nation who mesmerize and entertain audiences of all ages in their own unique styles. From Seattle, Debra Harris-Branham conveys lively African-American folktales; Joe Hayes, who hales from the Southwest, specializes in bilingual Spanish-English tales of that region and Appalachian master teller Donald Davis brings his audience to laughter and sometimes tears with tales of growing up in North Carolina.

Read about the other storytellers performing on July 14 at the Powellswood Festival site.

Storytelling includes folktales, myths, legends and even tall tales. What better back drop for listening to these treasures than a garden full of colorful blooms and beautiful water features. What better way to introduce computer-addicted children to an ancient art.

And it’s a real bargain:  Adults $10, children $5 and a family ticket $20.

Heather Larson writes about the Pacific Northwest from her office in Tacoma, Washington hoping she can entice you to visit or share your own memories of the region.

King Tut Exhibit Opens in Seattle

Tomorrow, May 24, 2012, the Pacific Science Center welcomes visitors to view Tutankhamun: The Golden King and The Great Pharaohs’. Today, I had the privilege of seeing this phenomenon as a member of the press. I love my job. Go if you can. It won’t be shown again anywhere else after January 6, 2013 and the Science Center expects to sell out.

Seattle hosted a similar exhibit in 1978, but the current one contains twice as many artifacts. People who attended in 1978 recall waiting in long lines. This year that problem has been solved – you buy tickets for a certain day and timed entry. So far 90,000 of those tickets have been sold.

Possibly the first flip flops. Photo credit to Sandro Vannini, National Geographic.

King Tut became a king at 9 years of age and forensic analysis says he died at age 19, probably from an infection in a fractured leg. Even at this young age, he had everything he could possibly need in his tomb.

More than 100 remarkable objects discovered in King Tut’s tomb are on display. I found the complexity and intricacy of the jewelry fascinating. Small beads and miniature cornflowers make up a necklace called the Gold Collar. A Necklace and Pectoral of Mereret looked unlike anything I’ve ever seen, but could almost be described as a pendant that was also a very intricately-crafted picture. Twenty-five amulets were found around the neck of the mummy.

Much of what was found in King Tut’s tomb was created specifically for the afterlife. A gold Pair of Sandals adorned his feet while finger protectors were worn over his rings and toe protectors covered his toes – all to protect him in the afterlife. You’ll find a model of a boat in the exhibit because the Nile River was the main source of transportation in Ancient Egypt. Thirty-five ship models accompanied the boy King in the tomb so he could boat wherever he needed to go after death.

You can tour the exhibit with an audio accompaniment, which I highly recommend. Different music, composed for each of the galleries, transports you back in time and helps you experience 2,000 years of Egyptian history. These ancient treasures remain one of the world’s greatest legacies. The beauty, preservation and stories behind each item evokes all kinds of emotions. Reserve your ticket as soon as you can.

King Tut's finger and toe coverings

Pacific Science Center members receive a substantial discount. Non-member adults pay $27.50 for Mon.-Thur. or $32.50 for Fri.-Sun. Youth (6-15) are $16.50 for Mon.-Thurs. and $21.50 for Fri.-Sun and children (3-5) pay $15.50 during the week and $20.50 for Fri.-Sun. Admission gets you into the Pacific Science Center for the day and if you can take advantage of that as they know how to entertain there.

Port Ludlow’s Fireside Restaurant Does the Kid’s Menu Right

What do you do when the kid’s menu at your restaurant just isn’t cutting it with the children you’re serving?

You could change the offerings to what you think kids would like, but how accurate will that be? Or you could create an event where children actually choose what they want on the menu. That’s precisely what happened at The Fireside at The Resort at Port Ludlow in Port Ludlow, Wash.

A plea was sent out to find children interested in taking part in a “Tasting Event” just for them. The judging panel was made up of five children representing ages 5-10. Each judge donned an authentic chef jacket, which they were allowed to keep, before embarking on their tastings.

Rose Peterson showing off the new kid's menu she helped create.

Rose Peterson, who was seven years old when she participated, and the other judges tasted and critiqued a variety of menu items and voted for their favorites. Each child then selected one menu item that would be named after him or her.

Liza’s house noodles with garlic bread, Taylor’s tenderloin steak, Journey’s banana split, Megan’s chocolate mousse and Rose’s sliders became permanent menu items. But the judge’s responsibilities didn’t end there. They also had a week to create art that illustrated their chosen menu item.

Now when a child receives their own menu at The Fireside, it is illustrated with authentic children’s art and the items listed have a real kid’s seal of approval.

Rose enjoyed her judging and never orders anything but her sliders when dining at The Fireside. She also helps out by watering the herbs whenever she’s in the neighborhood.

Snow White and a Milk Flight

As a child I always wanted to be a ballerina and dance on my toes. Instead my parents signed me up for accordion lessons. If I’d known how hard toe dancing was then, I probably wouldn’t have minded the accordion. The special pointe shoes help keep your toes together, but the dancers still have to have tremendous strength in their feet and legs.

Courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet

While watching the Pacific Northwest Ballet School’s production of “Snow White” in Seattle this past weekend, I marveled at how many of the dancers spent prolonged periods of time on their toes. What a feat.

All the footwork looked clean and crisp. The 70+ students performing showed extreme flexibility and graceful movements at every turn. This was the opening performance of “Snow White” yet everyone seemed well-rehearsed.

I went to see this ballet with my daughter and three-year-old granddaughter, Kita. I thought Kita might fidget or even have a full-blown melt down having to sit still for awhile, but she never once took her eyes off the dancers. Upon arrival we were given a booster cushion for her to sit on so she could easily see the stage. Of course, there was a lot of movement on stage, brightly colored costumes and a King who narrated the action.

As you probably remember, in the story the Evil Queen, Snow White’s stepmother, wants to be “the fairest of all.” Every time she asks her mirror who is the fairest, it replies, “Snow White.” In order to get rid of her competition, the Queen tries to harm Snow White in a number of ways. Finally, disguised as a beggar woman, the Queen tempts the fair young maiden with a poison apple. Snow White can’t resist, takes a bite and falls into a deep slumber. It’s not long before a handsome young Prince happens by (after all it’s a fairy tale), falls in love and wakes Snow White.

When the Evil Queen discovers her nemesis is still alive, she tries to put a curse on the mirror and becomes caught in her own image for all eternity.

The entire ballet lasts an hour, which is just perfect for young children. At the end, the dancers were met with some well-deserved, thunderous applause.

There are only two performances left:  Noon and 3:30 p.m. on March 25 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. For tickets, visit www.pnb.org or call (206) 441-2424.

Kita trying to decide which flavor of milk to try next at the Purple Cafe.

We stopped for lunch at the Purple Café and Wine Bar in downtown Seattle prior to the ballet. There Kita was served a milk flight – glasses of white, chocolate, strawberry and caramel milk, which kept her entertained until her food arrived. All in all it was a totally kid-friendly outing.

A Partnership that Worked

Saturday I attended the 18th Annual RAGS sale that benefits Pierce County’s YWCA domestic violence programs. Participating artists, selling wearable art, donate 33% of their sales to the cause.

Last year this same event raised $97,000, which helped the YWCA assist 2,845 women and 2,860 children.

Tables and racks full of beautiful clothing, high quality jewelry and attractive scarves were set up in every crack and crevasse of the venue. Besides being eye-pleasing, everyone was friendly and accommodating, plus they had streamlined their checkout system so there was virtually no wait.

But the reason I’m writing about this event, that won’t happen again until March 7-10 in 2013, is because of the partnership it forged.

The sale was held at our local Mercedes dealer – Larson’s Mercedes-Benz of Tacoma, which is located in Fife, just outside of Tacoma. The space looked new and shiny, it was huge with lots of maneuvering room for shoppers and you felt like you were rubbing shoulders with the rich and elegant. The dealership had their deli open for the event, so you could eat and then shop some more.

I love it when diverse businesses form partnerships or businesses support a charity in a big way by hosting their event. It’s always beneficial to both parties.

What businesses can you think of that have forged successful partnerships?