Short Forays: The Seattle glass scene and a great free museum about Seattle and gold!

From now until the end of July you can (and, you should) see the exhibit Glass at Pilchuck: The History of Making Glass, at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) (lots going on there now that seems interesting as well). Sign up for the open house at the Pilchuck school for a very special, short foray to Stanwood, Washington (July 10th) and catch the Emmy award winning documentary – Pilchuck: A Dance with Fire on PBS or KBTS (no listings now but soon to be shown).

This is a trinity of activities that bring you local and international art, history and beauty! Pilchuck has celebrated its 50th anniversary becoming the preeminent school of glass internationally. Arguably, the best place to learn, practice and develop the art of glass in the world surpassing even Murano, Venice.

We caught the documentary at SAM last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. Director/producer John Forsen‘s Q and A was interesting and informative. Early members of the very artistic Pilchuck family were present to give insights.

Pilchuck is largely responsible for the studio glass movement and has established the Pacific Northwest as the place to be learning and practicing the art of glass from glassblowing and solid of hand sculpting (hot shop) to etching and engraving (cold shop) work. Dale Chihuly was the spark that lit the furnaces and Anne Gould Hauberg and John Hauberg kept the fires burning with vast donations (including the campus) and much monetary support.

The genesis, journey and juggling that made this institution a phenomenon is a well-told story in the documentary. The bits of animation interwoven (Monty Python style) to tell the history of glassblowing are fun and fascinating. The music captures the eras of the school’s developmental ages. Wonderful archival video, clever use of slides, relevant and interesting narrators who were in on the school from its inception in the early hippy days of the 70’s, through its growing pains through and to today’s prominence weave the tale well and enjoyably. Gary Gibson wrote the screenplay. Jeff Bridges narrated (he and Chihuly are old friends). Amazingly, nearly everyone connected with glass nationally and internationally has entered these doors as students, glass workers or instructors and this film documents that claim-to-fame well.

Added Bonus: Another short foray, I enjoy is the Chihuly Garden and Glass at the Seattle Center. Heard the Collections Café is a fun sight and good food but haven’t tried it. The tickets are a bit pricey (less if you are a King County resident); but, worth it. Be sure to see what is playing in the movie theater on site. They have daily events and talks. The Seattle Center is a good spot for some summer time away – sit by The International Fountain and watch the kids dodge the water and on most weekdays it is uncrowded. It is the site of many cultural festivals some you may want to attend! Here is info on parking. Travelzoo has a special on The City Pass for $47 offering entrance to several great places for Seattle’s top attractions Chihuly Garden and Glass is one of them – worth checking out!

The National Park’s Klondike Gold Rush Museum in Pioneer Square is a solid gold nugget of free and fun education. Its interactive displays are great, the passport etching and stamp book a wonderful hands-on activity and the films shown are well done and really give you a great feel for the amazing history and times. The Klondike Gold Rush was short-lived, only two years; but, its influence on Seattle’s early history and future as an urban center was immense. John Nordstrom used monies he got in the gold rush to start the famed Nordstrom’s shoe store.

We spent an hour browsing and could have easily spent more time enjoying the well displayed history and exploring the small gift shop. Parking is on the street where curbs can be nearly 10 inches high so watch your car doors and step. Homeless are prevalent in this area so be prepared to encounter some pan handling.

Bakery items at Grand Central Bakery are worth a stop.

Grand Central Bakery was where we ate lunch. I had so many great memories of this restaurant – its huge cinnamon rolls and hearty sandwiches, cozy brick sitting area with fireplace, great shops like the Paper Cat Stationary, David Ishii’s book store and the corner flower shops (which changed hands several times but was always interesting) brought us here often with our young kids.

Unfortunately, now the cinnamon rolls are a lot smaller, the Paper Cat, Davis Ishii’s books and the flowers are no longer there. The hearty sandwiches and cozy setting are also now not the same. There is another book store in the Ishii space and most of the shops are vacant in the building. I would not recommend you go for lunch; but, I would pick up their baked goods and breads to take home! Their seeded bread is excellent!

We did stop and browse the beautiful inventory and watch some glass blowing at The Glasshouse Studio…which brings me to a very symmetrical end to this blog post!

Mark Your Calendars Now: July and beyond…

New at the Frye: Exhibits – “The Frye Art Museum is honored to present masterworks by Vilhelm Hammershøi, one of the Denmark’s most distinguished Symbolist painters, on the one hundredth anniversary of his death. ..A master of atmospheric and psychological interiors…” and events.

New exhibit Museum of History and Industry: July 2
through September 22ndToys of the 50s, 60s and 70s! FUN! “Take a time-bending journey through hundreds of playthings and their rich veins of nostalgia, memory, and history within three living rooms and one garage. At the very core of the exhibit are reflections on the significance and silliness of childhood passions from published sources and first-hand personal accounts.”

AAA Journey Magazine’s Northwest Summer Fun: a “roundup of unique, intriguing and just plain fun destinations, attractions and activities sets the stage for warm memories”. What’s going on this summer. And, more.

Let me know of your short stays and forays in the comment section!

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