Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pioneer Square Murals: Have Lunch Over Seas

Pioneer Square Mural - Seattle Symbols - The Originale
We went to see the Billy King Mural and the Emerge: An Ode to Dedication Mural and also ran into a few other interesting murals that we show here. One is a large mural on wood that surrounds a lot near Occidental Square on the corner of Occidental Ave S and S Washington St. This mural has the signature “The Original” and features images of Seattle perhaps read as a condensed timeline. Starting from the beginning (most eastern section) and reading left to right we have Chief Seattle, the King Street Station built between 1904 and 1906, the Pioneer Square iron pergola built in 1909 and originally covering an underground restroom and on the far right of this section, a brick wall with greenery still in the process of being drawn. The mural continues around the corner and shows building ruins with Pioneer Square District written overhead. Skipping over a gate-fence, the scene is completed with a ferry out on a surreal Puget Sound. Is this the rise and fall of Pioneer Square, all in a mural?

Speaking of ferries, looking up from where this mural is one can see the side of a building in brick where “Washington State Ferries - Have Lunch Over Seas” is written.

Update 2012-05-30: a reader, Christina, clarified that the “ruins” represent underground Seattle (http://www.undergroundtour.com/). We thought the blue “blocks” above the word district in the mural looked vaguely familiar. They are the sidewalk sections of glass blocks that are the skylights for the level below, the original ground floor of Pioneer Square. We should have known that since we have been on that tour.

Update 2012-06-01: a reader, James, says that the mural was created by Jeff "Weirdo" Jacobson for the Alliance for Pioneer Square. He also created Emerge: An Ode to Dedication Mural - Pioneer Square. For more from Jacobsen, see Pinterest.

The Original – Chief Seattle and Northwest Coast Native Symbols
Pioneer Square Mural - Seattle Symbols - The OriginalePioneer Square Mural - Seattle Symbols - The Originale
A Man Traverses the Mural Center Section (left) and The Story is Still Being Written? (right)
Pioneer Square Mural - Seattle Symbols - The OriginalePioneer Square Mural - Seattle Symbols - The Originale
Around the Corner, Pioneer Square District and Fantasy Puget Sound ScenePioneer Square Mural - Seattle Symbols - The Originale

Man Painting Stripes (left) and Ferry Plies the Water of Puget Sound in a Surreal Light (right)
Pioneer Square Mural - Seattle Symbols - The OriginalePioneer Square Mural - Seattle Symbols - The Originale

Nearby, Lunch Over Seas?Washington State Ferries - Lunch Over Seas Advertisement

Soholm Blue Series and Helleborus

Soholm Blue Series Pottery and HelleborusSoholm Blue Series Pottery and Helleborus

In another post, Soholm Pottery and Arisarum proboscideum, we talked a little bit about the history of Soholm (Søhoelm) ) pottery. In this post we show two more Soholm pieces with Helleborus, a genus of herbaceous perennial flowering plants in the Ranunculaceae (Buttercup) family.

The pottery pieces are:
  • An Einar Johansen six-sided Stentoj vase (3345) from the Blue Series 1960's Soholm, Denmark. The embossed design on this piece is on three of the sides. 22 cm tall and 11cm wide at the widest.
  • An Einar Johansen Stentoj bottle (3329) from the Blue Series 1960's Soholm, Denmark. The bottle has six embossed panels, one with an original sticker. The bottle-vase is 26 cm tall and 12cm at the widest.

The blue series is one of the most popular by this maker with its glossy and textured blues and blacks contrasted with matt black areas - in this case the necks of the pieces.

According to our spotty records, the plant pictured is Helleborus ‘Blackthorn Strain’ planted in 2007. This hybrid strain has large flowers that are held above the foliage. Quattrocchi leaves (!) us guessing in terms of the etymology of the genus with this:

Greek helleborus, a plant name for a species of Helleborus, perhaps the Lent hellebore, Greek hellos, ellos, “a young deer” and bibroskein “to eat, to devour;”

Food for fawns? One of the common names, Lenten Rose, comes from the fact that some of the species of Helleborus bloom during the Christian season of Lent.

This Helleborus hybrid is a prolific bloomer and has survived down to (20 F one year) - in another words it is pretty hardy. It does have a mildly strong odor that we characterize as “skunky”. When working with the plant, cutting for example, we tend to notice it. Other times it is not that noticeable. Though, our neighbor asked about a strong smell coming from our front yard (we have four of these Helleborus hybrids arranged around a gravel circle) - so maybe we have gotten used to it?

The Ranunculaceae family is mentioned in the interesting book Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification (1996) by Thomas J Elpel. In this book, Elpel teaches you how to use the patterns method of plant identification to identify families of plants. For the Buttercup family, he gives the hints of looking for multiple simple pistils at the center of the flower, often with hooked tips. The bright “petals” of Helleborus are actually the sepals. The actual petals are what some references call the honey leaves - an intermediate step on the spectrum between petals and stamens.

Soholm with Helleborus Flowers

Soholm 3329 Bottom (left) and Sticker (right)
Soholm Blue Series Pottery and HelleborusSoholm Blue Series Pottery and Helleborus

Soholm 3345 Bottom (left) and Helleborus Flower (right)
Soholm Blue Series Pottery and HelleborusHellebrous Flower

Helleborus Flower with Honey Leaves
Helleborus Flower with Honey Leaves

Botany in a Day Front Cover (left) and Back Cover (right)
Botany in a Day Front - Thomas ElpelBotany in a Day Front - Thomas Elpel

Helleborus Flower with Many Stamens
Hellebrous Flower

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wallingford Ladybug Intersection

Wallingford Ladybug Intersection - Painting
The Wallingford Ladybug is another example of intersection-painting created when a community comes together to create something interesting and pleasurable to look, and more importantly claim their public space. There is a photo essay with examples of intersection-painting at Coloring Inside the Lines. The ladybug is at the intersection of N 49th Street and Burke Ave N in Wallingford. It was created in 2004.

Intersection-painting is one activity that is part of placemaking. The organization City Repair is a group that educates and inspires communities and individuals to creatively transform the places where they live. They call the ladybug and Bubbles the Turtle an intersection repair with the purpose of creating a public place:
“Intersection Repair is the citizen-led conversion of an urban street intersection into public square. Streets are usually the only public space we have in our neighborhoods. But most all of them have been designed with a single purpose in mind: moving cars around. With an Intersection Repair, that public space is reclaimed for the whole community. The intersection of pathways becomes a place for people to come together. The space becomes a Place – a public square.”

Some additional resources on placemaking included Transform Space Into Place (video) and the Project for Public Spaces webs site: What is Placemaking? After looking at these resources you may not think of an intersection in quite the same way again; this is a good thing.

A Leaf in the Ladybug Intersection, with Person (left), and Without (right)
Wallingford Ladybug Intersection - Painting Wallingford Ladybug Intersection - Painting

The Ladybug Theme Repeated in Sewer Hole Covers
Wallingford Ladybug Intersection - PaintingWallingford Ladybug Intersection - Painting 

Bing Map of the Intersection

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Binomen Art - Cherimoya (Annona)

Cherimoya Fruit with Pulp Scooped Out
Binomen Art - Cherimoya (Annona)
Cherimoya or Annona cherimola is a fruit native to Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, and Bolivia. You can find the fruit in your typical higher-end grocery store, farmer’s market (if you live in an area that can grow them like parts of California), or online (e.g. cherimoya.com). There are many names for the cherimoya including chirimoya, custard apple, and sherbet fruit. The latter two names refer to the fruit’s creamy flesh. Description of the taste of cherimoya vary but include references to pineable, banana, strawberry, and papaya. (Our first impression was bubblegum.)
The genus name Annona has “been interpreted as derived from the Latin annona (based on annus, year), the year’s produce (grain or food); or on a native Brazilian or American Indian (Taino) name, annona or anona.” [Chapter 24, Top 100 Exotic Food Plants, Ernest Small]. (Annona is the type genus of the family Annonacea. ) The species epithet cherimola, according to 100 Exotic Food Plants, has some connection to local references to the description of the seeds:
The English name “cherimoya” is derived from the Spanish chirimoya, probably from the Quechua (Inca language, still spoken by Indian peoples of Peru and Bolivia) chirimyua or chirimoya, meaning “cold seeds.” Cherimola in the scientific name A. cherimola has the same basis. Aside from being the name for the fruit, the Inca word cherimoya has the meaning “cold breast.”
Speaking of “cold seeds”, the seeds of the cherimoya are inedible and toxic and so we thought for second oh, if you eat the seed, they leave you dead cold. Or, it is often suggested to freeze cherimoya and enjoy like sherbet - cold seeds for sure. But no, it is likely the meaning has to do with the fact that the plants are found in colder, higher altitude locations and the seeds germinate in these conditions.

In the photos here, we cut up one cherimoya and removed the seeds and put the pulp in two small bowls. This particular cherimoya yielded just under thirty seeds – barely enough to spell Annona. (A video on Cherimoya Hand Pollination from Papaya Tree Nursery indicates that over pollinating results in more seeds.)

How do you use the cherimoya? It can seem intimidating at first. It took us a few tries to figure out to best use it for our situation: on top of our morning muesli. Here are two methods we discovered. Method one: cut a ripe cherimoya in half, scoop out the pulp (remove the seeds) and use immediately. Store the other half in the refrigerator for the next use (one to a few days later). Put a paper towel over the exposed part. Method two: take two or more ripe cherimoya, separate all the pulp from the seeds, and put the pulp into a container and freeze. Whenever you need a little, take out and slice off some from the frozen block. (Ours literally pops out of the container after freezing, making it easy to slice off pieces.) Many references on working with cherimoya say to not put them in the refrigerator before they are ripe.

Two Cherimoya (left) and Stem Comes Right Out (right) – Perhaps Overripe?
Binomen Art - Cherimoya (Annona)Binomen Art - Cherimoya (Annona)

Cherimoya Sliced Open (left) and Cherimoya Half with Pulp Scooped Out (right)Binomen Art - Cherimoya (Annona)Binomen Art - Cherimoya (Annona)

Cherimoya, Separating Pulp From the Seeds (left) and Scales (right) Marking the union of ripened ovaries (carpels). The cherimoya is an aggregate fruit or syncarp.
Binomen Art - Cherimoya (Annona)Binomen Art - Cherimoya (Annona)

Cherimoya Face (Cherimoya with Strawberry Bits)
Binomen Art - Cherimoya (Annona)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Emerge: An Ode to Dedication Mural - Pioneer Square

Panorama of Mural
Emerge: An Ode to Dedication Mural - Pioneer Square
The 100 foot long and 17 foot tall mural Emerge: An ode to Dedication covers the east side of the currently abandoned Metropole building in Pioneer Square, located at the corner of Yesler Way and 2nd Avenue. The building was damaged by a fire in 2007. In 2010, the artist Jeff Jacobson created the mural on plywood covering the side of the building. His goal was to create something beautiful to look like and draw attention to the building. A Kickstarter site contains details of the mural project. According to Jacobson in a video where he describes the mural’s underwater scene, the salmon represent artists rising to and breaking through the surface of the water.

South End of Mural (left), Center of Mural (middle), and North End of Mural (right)
Emerge: An Ode to Dedication Mural - Pioneer SquareEmerge: An Ode to Dedication Mural - Pioneer SquareEmerge: An Ode to Dedication Mural - Pioneer Square

Detail of Emerge Mural
Emerge: An Ode to Dedication Mural - Pioneer SquareEmerge: An Ode to Dedication Mural - Pioneer Square

People Walking in the Underwater Dreamscape
Emerge: An Ode to Dedication Mural - Pioneer Square

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Billy King Pioneer Square Mural

Billy King Pioneer Square Mural

The “Billy King Pioneer Square Mural” is on the west side of a brick building on the corner of Yesler Way and Post Avenue. The mural, executed in 2002, is by Billy King, an artist who is intimately familiar with the neighborhood having spent 40 years living and working there according to his blog. When we look at the mural, two things come to mind: the Mambo Kings and Lynda Barry’s artwork for her book The Good Times are Killing Me. As we were taking pictures of the mural, a tourist walked by with a thick Texas(?) accent and said “If you all are taking a picture of something it must be something important to see.”
Billy King Pioneer Square MuralBilly King Pioneer Square Mural

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Street Turtle - Wallingford

Turtle Head (left) and Car Negotiating the Turtle (right)
A mural on the ground is a street painting? This one is at 41st Street and Interlake Avenue in sleepy Wallingford. The painting, called Bubbles the Turtle, was created in 2010 by neighbors. The turtle’s head is facing north. A spiral on its shell leads to a heart in the middle. The turtle’s shell is approximately where a traffic donut would be.Stylized bubbles and plants surround the turtle.
Looking Southwest (left) and Looking Northeast (right)

Looking North (left) and Looking South (right)

Bing Map of the Intersection