Last month I traveled to Grand Rapids Michigan to spend some time with family there. While searching for a place to have lunch in the downtown area, we were struck by the the city’s commitment to public art. There were beautiful murals everywhere. Maybe it has something to do with the local art school, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University. Most impressive to me were two multi-media pieces: “Imagine That!” (2009) by Tracy Van Duinen, Corey Van Duinen, and Todd Osborne and “The Metaphorest Project” (2011) by Tracy Van Duinen, Todd Osborne, Phil Schuster, and Andy Bellomo. These two murals combined handmade tiles, mosaics, trompe l’oeil painting, printmaking, and sculpture in such imaginative ways. My photos don’t do them justice.
The weather is finally starting to get nice here in Seattle. Yesterday, I took Sam and Louie for a walk through Olympic Manor, a section of North Beach that has a high concentration of lovely midcentury homes and beautiful views of Puget Sound. At the east end of the neighborhood, behind a grove of trees, there’s a small playground that I’ve never really noticed. On the perimeter of the play area stand five large concrete columns covered in wonderful mosaics depicting plants and animals of the pacific northwest. According to a plaque the project was completed in 2003. I’ve searched the internet for the name of the artist but haven’t had any luck yet. If you find yourself in this part of the world, it’s worth a visit!
Today I was delighted to receive a message in my email from a resident of Olympic Manor who worked on this project:
“So happy to hear you enjoy the park – I was the volunteer coordinator on this community project. Bronwyn Groman created the designs and Wilbur Hathaway was the lead on the mosaic process. David Ringstrom, a partner at Atelier Landscape Architects provided the layout and original idea. Catherine Weatbrook provided the kiln for all of the tiles for purchase and painting. There were many volunteers and countless hours involved in the completion.” – Deb Stamey
We recently returned from an amazing road trip to San Francisco. Along the way we stopped at Point Arena Tileworks pointarenatileworks.com owned by artist Matt Matijczyk. Matt was kind enough to break away from mixing his glazes to chat with us about his work. He’s had his shop for years and has done a few commissions but mainly he makes his living by selling tiles to travelers on the Pacific Coastal Highway.
On a recent trip to Grand Canyon National Park, I came across this Navajo pottery in one of the gift shops. I was struck not only by the vibrant colors so characteristic of the region but also the mastery of sgraffito.