Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 2014 Gallery Picks Newsletter

2014 has indeed arrived!  Time to celebrate the time-worn tradition of In-With-The-New, which dovetails nicely with the array of new artists, art works and events we have planned for the upcoming year.  For examples, please scroll down, take a peek at these terrific upcoming and current items, and click on the links beneath each photo to visit them in our online shop for more details.


Tumblers. Joel Sayre
What have we here?

Rocks? Stones? Boulders?
Actually, they are gorgeous, smooth, individual pieces of
wood, finished and stacked, each a one-of-a-kind sculpture,
shown in the photo amiably inhabiting the foyer of a house.
Here are a few words from the artist to describe his process:

Collectively my pieces are known as Tumblers. When I was a boy
my best friend's family had a little rock polishing machine in their
basement. I don't remember what it was called, but the idea was to
put little rocks in it, turn it on and let them tumble around in the
barrel of this thing for awhile - hours, days, I've forgotten. Then turn
it off and pour out all these shiny smooth rocks of all shapes.
Early on after putting a final coat of finish on a wood piece and admiring
how shiny and smooth it was it occurred to me that I was looking at
a giant version of what we used to so eagerly retrieve from that noisy
little machine in my friend's basement. Tumblers.

All of the wood that I use for my sculptures comes from trees salvaged
here in the Seattle area. I have been all over the place in an old red
pickup collecting wood to bring back to my shop where it sits and dries
for a long time, sometimes years, before I am able to work it.


The process of actually making a tumbler is fairly simple yet very labor
intensive. It's all done with hand held power tools and can take days, or even
weeks depending on size and complexity. I get immense satisfaction watching
a piece take shape, watching it unfold and become what I had hoped it would be.

Tumblers aren't about straight lines and perfect circles. They are about
good shapes and interesting patterns. … The way a piece ends up feeling
to the hand is as important as how it looks to the eye.

Joel uses primarily walnut, ash, butternut, and monkey puzzle
tree woods in his creations.


Silk Batik Tunic.  David Mendoza
This hand-painted batik tunic features free-form patterns
in black, indigo and white on the very softest silk!  The styling
of the garment is quite simple but in that way is
fully representative of the elegant, sophisticated designs
David has delighted us with over the years.
We also have a good selection of his crinkle silk crepe
boat-neck tops and scarves featuring his trademark
batik motifs.

Freshwater Pearl Necklaces.  Bryan & Maria Chapin-Cao
Simply gorgeous!

Maria recently returned from her annual trip to China,
where she visits freshwater pearl "farms" and picks
out the very best they have to offer.  This time around
we're delighted with the single-strand 18" - 21" white
or silver-grey necklaces she has brought in.  The
quality is outstanding, the prices are exceptional, and
Maria's perfect pairing of the pearls and her expert
knotting produces classic art to wear and cherish forever.

Here's a little about the artists:

Maria and Bryan Chapin-Cao first met in Beijing during an
intercultural exchange outing.  They were later married there
in a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony.

Traveling through central China, Maria and Bryan met and befriended
a wonderful group of pearl "farmers". These farmers facilitate the
growth of pearls in a process called "culturing".  Pearl culturing
involves implanting an irritant into the body of the mollusk
and then placing the mollusk into proper growing conditions.
Our Chinese friends culture their pearls inland, therefore create
pearls in a condition called "freshwater". These small freshwater
ponds are nurtured and the water quality monitored for three to five
years before harvest.  This process is environmentally friendly because
it requires the ecosystem to be clean and carefully tended. All parts of
the mollusk are used, creating no waste. The body of the mollusk is used
for both human and animal consumption. The pearls are highly sought
after, and the shell is used for both jewelry and as an organic fertilizer

We find pearls to be naturally beautiful, no two being exactly
the same. We make our jewelry in such a way as to bring
out the exotic luster and natural beauty that has been a symbol
of wealth and beauty for women since the dawn of recorded history.
We take great pride in our work and our unique creations
give us great joy, a joy equal in parts to knowing that there
will be someone purchasing our work who can understand and
appreciate the intrinsic beauty, which we have
labored so hard to bring forth.

We can't help but think of these lovely necklaces as great gifts,
either for Mom to add to her own pearl collection, for brides or grads,
or as birthday or anniversary presents.  Perfect!
There are several listed in the online shop, which you can visit
by clicking here, here and here, or view all of the artists'
online items from the top of their listings page.

Tea Bowl #6, Wood-fired.  Steve Sauer

To inaugurate our new online shop section set aside
especially for tea bowls and cups, we offer
yet another example of perfect imperfection!
Local ceramic artist Steve Sauer is clearly at the top of
his form, as demonstrated by this beautiful tea bowl.
Fired in the Santatsugama Kiln at Seabeck, Washington
during their 50th group firing, it is a study in serenity and
passion, in ice-blue cool and fiery heat, in strength
and delicacy.

Some words from Steve:

I have chosen the concept of “wabi and sabi” for the subtle beauty
of the natural surface. The simplistic beauty produced by fly ash,
and flame, time, and temperature in the anagama is the most
appropriate for my sculptural vessels.  It can be achieved no other way  . . .
At this time I see myself dedicating the rest of my life to wood fire.
Not only in the making of my own pieces, but in the promotion,
education, and maintenance of the tradition of the anagama kiln,
the oldest style of kiln in the history of Japanese pottery.
It has stood the test of time and for me is the most inspirational,
for its ware is unmatched in its subtle beauty, organic and
true-to-life processes. The community that the kiln gathers is
ever-changing and soulfully engaged with one another
to produce the works of its fire and artistic impulse. 

Silk Shibori Scarf.  Amy Nguyen
Soft, sculptural, a true work of wearable art,
this silk shibori scarf needs to be touched to be
fully appreciated!  Amy's workmanship and vision is
on full display and extraordinary (as always) in
her techniques of piecing, quilting and stitching
her textiles into wonderful patterns.

And as a bonus, we love this piece's cool colors!

Silk Cowl Neck Tunic.  Carol Lee Shanks
It's no secret that we greatly admire this artist's wonderful garments,
and are very excited to add her Cowl Neck Tunic to our
collection.  It is created from crushed habutai silk and is
available in a variety of colors, including plum, olive, and black.
Carol is featured in a new show next month; we'll post details
about that very soon, so do check back for that information.

Folding Director's Chair.  Arrben
And last but not least, the return of a popular old friend:
We have recently acquired another set of these very cool
mid-century modern foldable chrome director's chairs, created
by the Italian furniture company Arrben.
The seats and backs of these highly sought-after chairs
are tan/light rust leather and available as a set of four.
View them in our online shop here.

And now that it's almost February, stay tuned for our next Gallery Picks Newsletter - due any day!  (Yes, we promise, we'll try to post it before the absolute end of the month next time...)

Don't forget, never hesitate to contact us with questions, or to be added to our e-card list.

Happy New Year from us all!