Weekly Photography Challenge: Underneath the Bridge

When I read this week’s challenge theme (a week that is nearly over…) there was only one bridge  I was thinking of. I did take some photos while crossing a bridge over the Murray recently – only there was no card in the camera…we’ll have to go that way again sometime, and try again.

We have plans to visit Aberdeen, Washington again someday, and if we do, we will certainly visit the famous bridge again. It must have been a great private spot forty years ago, now not so much…it’s a place of pilgrimage instead. Someone had carved “KURT” in giant letters on the mud of the bank, and every accessible surface was embellished with graffiti –  messages to Kurt, and quotes of Nirvana lyrics, mostly. All that will have changed by now.

Bryan insisted on taking a photo of me standing under it. I’m the photographer in our family, which means I don’t get in many photos. This was August 2011, and about halfway through our month in the Pacific North West.

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Weekly Photography Challenge: Narrow

This week’s photography challenge is to portray “Narrow” – I guess that’s actually quite a broad suggestion…

I could have chosen many things, but it’s 5 (5!!!) years since we set off halfway around the world to visit the beautiful Pacific North West, where we spent far too little time exploring the narrow waters of Puget Sound and Juan de Fuca Strait, so for my own nostalgia I am sharing a few photos from that trip.

We are hoping to return next year – I’d love to stay much longer than a month and really soak up the place, but we’ll see!

Creativity: Stamping Around the PNW III

This week, the stamps I made as mementos of our trip around the Pacific North West are those from Olympia. poster painting

We arrived by train, and got off at Lacey, because the train doesn’t go all the way to Olympia. As there was no sign of the promised bus, we took a taxi, and that was an experience in itself, the driver being a …character.

Our highest priority once we’d booked in to our hotel was laundry – we were running out of clean clothes, since we hadn’t had access to a washing machine since Seattle. Our Olympia hotel had one, but it was broken; we thought there was one over the road, but it was only a dry cleaner; we went to the tourist information place (with our bag of washing) and asked the nice lady…she thought there used to be one near Safeway, but she wasn’t sure. Another woman, newly local and checking out things to see and do in her new town, came to our rescue, and drove us some distance to a tiny shopping centre (way past that Safeway, where a nail salon had superseded the coin laundry) and dropped us off at a laundrette, with alarmingly vague assurances that we could get a bus back to our Hotel…And so we negotiated the mysteries of the coin laundry, washed and dried our clothes, and made it safely back to town. I don’t know why I didn’t make a washing machine stamp. But I didn’t.

On day two, we walked from our hotel to Plum street, to another Japanese garden. It was very pretty, with lots of maples, and koi carp in the pond. It would have been a beautiful, quiet oasis, except that someone was whipper-snipping around the boundary! From there, we made our way to Pear St, which seemed to go forever, and Bryan was almost ready to call it quits, when I saw the State Lottery building, and knew the house we were looking for was just across the street.

It’s the house where Kurt Cobain lived, 20 years before, and where much of Nevermind was written. There are two apartments in the house, and one of them was available for rent. From there we went in search of coffee, and found Cafe Vita – so good that we went back again before leaving Olympia. Choc Mint Grahams, and excellent coffee. It is my dream to find a source of those Choc Mint Grahams closer to home!

On another day we visited the Capitol campus, with its cluster of neoclassical buildings and beautiful gardens overlooking the Capitol Lake.

From there we took the (free) bus to the Farmer’s market at the other end of town. The vast array of beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables made me wish we could stay much longer, and with a kitchen to cook and eat as much of it as I could. We made do with a few pieces of fruit.

I only carved two stamps for Olympia, but so many memories are evoked by those two images! Fruit and forest, Tumwater Falls and Australian wine in Safeway, the old movie theatre, fountains, mountains…can’t wait to get back there!

Next week, we visit Aberdeen and carve out a few more memories.

The image at the top is of a tiny watercolour I did during out trip – based on a photo of a torn poster of Kurt.

 

 

Creativity: Stamping Around the PNW I

Four years ago on this date, we were in Portland, Oregon, on The Trip of a Lifetime. We spent a whole month in the Pacific North West, which is nowhere long enough…

Of course, I took along some art supplies – not too much, because you can only have so much luggage. And because I would be lugging it myself between cities. I prepared a little cloth wallet with some basic jewelry making pieces, plus some cheap erasers and a set of Japanese wood carving tools to make stamps. I also took some blank calling cards – nice white card, quite small sheets. Very light! I also had some double sided tape, tiny scissors and a pencil or two. I forgot to pack any stamp ink, however! IMG_5571 (Large)

My aim was to do (at least) two stamps for each place we stayed, looking for memorable but simple images to carve on my erasers. First stop was Seattle (not counting a few hours at LAX). On our first full day we took a ferry ride to Bainbridge island. I didn’t do any stamps, but I used the business card of the lovely bead shop as the front cover of the book. It has a simple accordion-fold spine, to which the cards are attached with double-sided tape.

IMG_5562 (Large)

Inside, the first page shows the famous Space Needle (of course). On the back of each card, I wrote an extract from my travel diary – a sentence or two relating to the image.

We did a lot of other things in Seattle, of course (Sculpture Park, Pike Place, the Aquarium…) but the highlight for me was the Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses exhibition at EMP. The image I chose was of a broken guitar, not only played (and smashed) by Kurt Cobain, but repainted several times, in keeping with the punk DIY ideal.

 

Next week – Portland Oregon. I hope I’ve found the missing stamps by then…In the process of looking for them, I found the wrapper of the delicious Theo dark chocolate bar I bought at EMP. I made it last so well that there is still – shhh_ one square left…and only 3 years out of date!IMG_5572 (Large)

 

Creativity: Escape XXI

Escape ISome more pages this week from my altered book “Escape”.

The page on the left has a photo of sunset over the waters of Juan de Fuca Strait, taken in Port Angeles in 2011 – The Trip Of A Lifetime, which I aim to repeat…(The trip, not the lifetime). For a change, the old text is obscured with circular scribbles, apart from the words “live forever”, and sunset-y colours are washed over top. A prose poem is then written over a torn piece of yellow sticker. Variety is the spice of life, and also of altered and scrap books.

The right hand page has a sheet of hand made paper pasted over the text, and then that is painted over in pink with a dash of yellow. In keeping with the Pacific North West theme, I drew and painted pine trees at the top and bottom – the green of the trees matches the paper scrap with a quote of Jack Black on Kurt Cobain (more PNW…). A creativity Quote completes the page, along with a foxy face and a sweet little sticker.

Escape II

 

I’m getting towards the end of “Escape”, so soon I’ll have to find a new subject for these posts…Stay tuned.

Friday Poem: Gift

woodpecker feather

I wrote this poem fifteen years ago to the day, and I’m adding photos from our big trip to the Pacific North West three years ago. Maybe I need to spend more time in that place, referred to by Winnie the Pooh, where Hums can find me…That’s really what this poem is about – finding that place.whale

Half a moon in a mackerel sky;
After crowded days
Full of shtik
Full of shtikl
(Can something be full
With such a little thing as shtikl?)
After the crowded days
The lonely half a moon
In the light washed sky
Is a tranquil gift
A lonely tranquil gift.

Mt Baker

I loved Woody woodpecker as a kid, and I really hoped I’d see one – but this feather is as close as I got (assuming it really is from a woodpecker) We did watch a female Flicker foraging amongst leaves, but she was the wrong kind of woodpecker. We took a whale tour out of Victoria BC, because I also wanted to see Orcas. After along search, a pod was located, finally surfacing right alongside our boat – very satisfying!

Mount Baker hovered in the background, seeming to float, lonely and tranquil, in the sky. No mountain in Australia is that tall (they are all too old) and there is no permanent snow, so the strato volcanoes of the PNW were an unforgettable highlight. I can’t wait to go back where they are…

Friday Poem: Song Chain

you could do anythingYears ago, in Montreal,
A lonesome Leonard Cohen
Walked up and down in a room,
Singing Hank  Williams.

After twenty or thirty years,
Alone in an apartment in Olympia,
Kurt Cobain, aged twenty,
Sang Leonard Cohen songs
All night.

Another twenty or thirty years have passed,
And somewhere in the world
Someone sits in a bedroom
Alone with a guitar,
Singing the songs
of Kurt Cobain.

And in another generation,
Perhaps, somewhere another someone
Will sit, or walk, alone in a room
And sing that someone’s songs.

Pear St house

The top picture is a tiny (7 by 10 cm) pen & water colour I did last week, and am really happy with. I won’t show you the failures! The bottom pic is of the house in Olympia in which Kurt Cobain lived, and at some point, sang Leonard Cohen songs to himself.
Looking through the photos from our trip, I felt so homesick(?), I just want to go back NOW…!