The Duwamish Residency: Process and Artifacts

We are excited to announce that Sharon Arnold of LxHxW Gallery and Roq la Rue Gallery will be our guest curator of The Duwamish Residency: Process and Artifacts. This group show will encompass interpretations by Residency artists of the Duwamish River and Valley, including the Georgetown Steam Plant, at the 4culture Gallery in Pioneer Square. We hope you can join us at the opening on First Thursday, March 5 beginning at 6 pm.

Guest Tom Reese

We had the pleasure of photographer, Tom Reese‘s company for a few hours during the Duwamish Residency this year. He stopped by for our opening tour in Herring House Park led by naturalist, Jim Demetre, who did a fabulous job by the way. Tom has been photographing the Duwamish River for years and has a great depth of knowledge and a keen eye. Check out Project for Hope on his website.

During his visit with us to the Georgetown Steam Plant, Tom honored us by photographing our group. Here is a link to the images. (Please note that Jessica Dodge and David Kane are not pictured). We tip our hat to Tom. Thank you.

Political Correctness, Salish Legend, and Making Art

Day 4

August 8, 2014

The Salish people may have been the first in America to acknowledge that some people are “differently enabled”. According to the legend Her First Basket(as told by Vi Hilbert), a girl who in our times would be considered “disabled” becomes the first among her people to learn the art of basket weaving. She is able to hear the voice of the Cedar Tree, who teaches her how to weave its roots into a tightly coiled basket. But it takes four tries before the girl is able to make a basket that holds water without leaking.

Every year it seems the Duwamish River is trying to teach me how to make art. Confronted with an environment that assaults the senses—and not just the eyes—I struggle to create. I’ve tried the method of drawing the same scene four times. Am I getting it right by the fourth time? I haven’t heard any voices say so, but I notice that each drawing takes less time than the one before.

I think the girl making her first basket found that too.

After the fourth, successful time, the Cedar Tree told the girl to decorate her basket. “And wasn’t it smart of you to listen and to take it apart four times and never give up? So, for a design, just look around you. Take what you see and make it yours.”


Juliet Shen

Duwamish 2014 Day 2.

If you take from the River, give something back.

Today I was drawing in Herring’s House Park where there’s a pebbly beach with a big weathered log lying perpendicular to the shore, and the remnants of a brick wall, both good for setting your stuff on while you draw.

The first settlers at Herring’s House were the Duwamish Indians, who occupied seven long houses along the shore and built a huge potlatch house about 21,600 sq ft in area (not a typo!). After the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliot (ratified by the Senate in 1859) those tribe members who remained in the area lost title to their land and the next wave of settlers built sawmills, grain elevators and other buildings. Perhaps our brick wall dated from that era.

I propped my supplies on the big log and Sue Danielson set up on the brick wall. Between the log and the wall were some bushes, and there I found a bit of hemp netting stuck to a rock. I carefully pried it off the rock and put it in my box to try out later for a pressure print.

After finishing my first drawing, one of my brushes managed to roll off the log where I had laid it, onto the ground strewn with dry reeds, where it was so perfectly camouflaged that 5 minutes of intense scrutiny failed to differentiate it to my eyes. Philosophically I accepted that I had to give the River something for the netting I had removed from its hiding place.

Sue came back from a brief break she had taken in the shade of the trees back away from the shore. She spotted my brush among the reeds, so I thought, “Hmmm. This time I didn’t have to leave something for the River spirt after all.” I was mistaken. At the next drawing site I moved to, I discovered that one of my watercolor pencils was missing from my kit. Okay, the River and I were even again.

Later in the day I learned that while Sue had been among the trees practicing chi gong, she had put down her phone and sunglasses and then left them there. By the time she went back, they were gone. But before the day was over the person who had picked them up called her and arranged to come back to Herring’s House Park the next day and return them.

The River spirit wants a fair exchange, but It’s not greedy.

Juliet Shen