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Having learned about some of the things that have inspired Chihuly’s creations, and something about how the pieces are made, we spent the next hour or so just wandering in a delightful garden made up of a mixture of natural plants and glass sculptures.

I think at this point, I’ll let you do as we did; quietly wander in the garden and enjoy..

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The walk through the garden ends at a large, glass function centre.

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And the ceiling of that function centre is adorned with more of Chihuly’s glass flowers. What a wonderful place to have a wedding… or indeed, a celebration of any kind.

Having come to the end of the Chihuly exhibition, you might well think our day enjoying the works of Dale Chihuly was over…. but not so. It was time to have dinner in the Chihuly Collection Restaurant… for there is more that interests Dale Chihuly than just glass.

But more of that anon.

Jennie and David

All photographs copyright © JT  and DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

www.jtdytravels.com

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

www.dymusings.com

More of our travel photos are on

www.flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

.

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Chihuly has become famous in many parts of the world for his chandeliers and large glass towers constructed of hundreds of twisting, hand blown glass forms. Some of the smaller chandeliers, which can fit inside a room, are on display at the Seattle exhibition.

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I’ll add a video link at the end that will demonstrate how these chandeliers, made up of hundreds of individually hand blown pieces, are put together.

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Many of the chandeliers start life as an idea that Chihuly paints onto paper.

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Some, like these two, were part of the design for a large series of installations that Chihuly and his team made to hang over the canals of Venice in 1996. It’s said it was a wonderful spectacle as the light changed during the day. And, of course, light bounced off the waters of the canals adding to the show. It would have been amazing to be in Venice at that time.

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The team have made many large installations to hang in cities across the world.

One of his largest pieces was a 42 ft high sculpture called “Lime Green Icicle Tower” which was part of a 2011 show at ‘Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts’. Incredibly, that sculpture (pictured) was made of 2,342 individual pieces of glass. It proved to be so popular with the people that, through a crowd funding scheme, the city of Boston bought the sculpture and it’s still there today!

(Photo from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts ‘ web site. I’ve given a link to a video of this exhibition in Boston…called ‘Through the Looking Glass.)

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Many of Chihuly’s paintings have become collectors items in themselves.

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I love the freedom of his drawings… and yet there is definite design.

I can only imagine how a glass sculpture made using this design would look like…

glowing with light instead of dense with thick paint.

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Perhaps my favourite Chihuly creations in the exhibition were a set of large bowls set on black mirror pedestals.  I’d never seen these before. How does he make them?

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Chihuly had observed that the colours of stain glass windows are more vivid and glow more brilliantly on a cloudy day rather than on a bright sunny day.  This was his inspiration for creating these ‘bowls’… he calls them ‘flower’ shapes. Each one has an inner layer of white opaque glass between two coloured layers… his ‘cloud’ effect.  He then chooses some of the three hundred colours of glass available to him to produce a spotty, splotchy effect which he calls ‘Macchia’, Italian for ‘spot’ .  But how?

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To achieve this stunning effect, molten glass of the inner colour is first rolled in small shards of white glass and re heated. That gives two layers. The third layer of coloured glass shards are added in the next reheating, rolling, blowing, bending, folding process before the ‘lip wraps’ are added in a different colour. The light through these pieces is magical.

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These pieces are a superb example of  Chihuly’s constant experimentation, innovation and ingenuity. I’ll add a comment I read in an article on Chihuly in the US ‘Academy of Achievement’ (link added below… with more information about his life and art works)).

“The history of glass sculpture is unimaginable without the work of Dale Chihuly. When he began his career, Studio Glass was a little known movement within the academic art world. When he first exhibited his work, some critics questioned whether his work was fine art at all, relegating it to the less prestigious domain of handicraft. Today, no one can deny the international impact of his work, and his stature as the world’s most influential artist in glass.” I couldn’t agree more. His work is definitely art and always developing.

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Of course at every museum and exhibition, you cannot exit without going through the shop! And so it was here. I was very tempted to buy these bowls from the ‘Persian Series’. Just too bad that the price was so prohibitive! A photo had to suffice. And I have all of our photos to look back on and relive a very special experience.

As you might imagine, I’ve been a fan of Chihuly’s work for many years. My love for glass work goes back to when I first landed on Europe’s shores in 1968; I became a devotee of stain glass in churches and other buildings in every city and village I explored. Back then, before the hordes of tourists took over the European cities, I could take my time and learn. In Murano’s glass works in Venice I was able to spend time on my own… no tour group… just absorbing the way the glass was formed. In later years, when living in Melbourne, I spent some time learning the basics of glass craft from one of Australia’s best.  So to be able to spend time, quietly, unhurried, in an exhibition like this was a dream come true. Now, I hope I’ve been able to share some of that experience through the photos.

Next time we’ll wander in Chihuly’s delightful glass and flower garden.

“Academy of Achievement” Chihuly Biography link:

http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/chi0bio-1

Chihuly: ‘Through the Looking Glass’ (Boston Exhibition) You tube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNVo3Vp5VOQ

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Jennie and David

All photographs copyright © JT  and DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

www.jtdytravels.com

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

www.dymusings.com

More of our travel photos are on

www.flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

 

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To walk into the stunning  ‘Persian Room’, is definitely a true WOW experience!

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The ceiling is an extravagant flood of brilliant colour and flower forms inspired by Middle East glass works from the 12th to 14th Century.

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The colours flow down the walls into an entirely empty room… empty except for a bench set at the back that allows you to sit and look up and be enthralled by the ceiling.

This room prepares you,some what but not entirely, for the riot of brilliant colour and form that fills the next room.

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In this room, a large black mirrored ‘lake’ is filled with a kaleidoscope of multi coloured sculptures referred to by Chihuly as his nature inspired ‘Mille Fiori’ works; sinuos herons, tall reeds, grasses,  leaves and coloured balls. It’s exciting, breathtaking – an explosion’ of colour and light, form and texture. It’s a joyous showcase of various glass art forms and techniques  developed across the decades. I’ll leave you to enjoy!

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Fortunately, there were benches along the wall in this room. So much to take in!

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In the next room is another black mirror lake; this time adorned with Chihuly’s boats filled with coloured balls and baubles that have become famous all over the world.

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The twisting, curling forms recur in later works which we’ll look at next time.

In the meantime, I can recommend these videos demonstrating the way the flower forms, used on the ceiling of the ‘Persian Room’, and the ‘Mille Fiori’ forms, used on the lake scenes, are made.

Persian Room :            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1cOI51JC5o

Mille Fiori:                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a72cwvId-IA

More anon

Jennie and David

All photographs copyright © JT  and DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

www.jtdytravels.com

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

www.dymusings.com

More of our travel photos are on

www.flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

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After a morning up in the Space Needle, we only had to walk a few yards to our next destination… for right next door to the Space Needle is a permanent exhibition of the beautiful glass creations that have been designed, blown and crafted by perhaps one of the most famous ‘sons of Seattle’, Dale Chihuly, and his skilled team.

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This exhibition was the top of my ‘to do ‘list in Seattle. I’d seen some of Chihuly’s work in Australia, several years ago, at Canberra’s Floriade spring flower festival. The masses of tulips were beautiful, as were the rest of the spring blooms, but Chihuly’s glass was the stand out feature. And his exhibition at the art gallery was also a hit with everyone. Now, here in Seattle, I had the chance to see a wide variety of his work and learn much more about what has influenced and inspired his creative spirit. Photos can never give the full experience of seeing this glass work up close and personal, but I’ll try to pass on some of the magic. If you can, I’d recommend that you look at these images on a lap top or larger screen to get the full effect of the glow of the glass.

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The entry foyer is simply stunning; tall, elegant tubes of glass on a black mirror floor.

You half expect them to start to move and begin to waltz.

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A close up of some of the pieces glowing against the black base.

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In the first main room of the exhibition are some stunning freeform vases and bowls that incorporate a basket weave style of decoration.

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A close up of the blue vase.

Chihuly had studied weaving in his interior design course at college and had tried out ways of incorporating bits of glass into his tapestries. His weaving instructor saw his ideas and encouraged him to further experiment with melting and shaping glass.

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A close up of the orange basket weave vase… one of the many complex pieces inspired by the weaving of the native peoples, especially the Navaho and Pendelton blankets.

I’ll add a link below for a you tube presentation by Chihuly to show how these is made.

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Chihuly began to acquire Indian woven blankets many years ago. His love for the strong colour combinations used in these blankets influenced his own sense of colour. Chihuly began his Blanket Cylinders series in 1975, and later moved on to blowing the more free form bowls and vases seen in this room.

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Native weavers and basket makers are honoured on one wall.

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Some of Chihuly’s glass pieces are displayed together with native basket weaving.

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A close up of one of the vases.

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Chihuly’s constant experimenting with his team finally gave him the skills to fuse coloured glass shards and thread into his free form vessels. They are stunning!

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Often a group of delicate bowls is set up together.

It’s now time to move on to the next room… displaying the very different ‘Seaforms’ series, begun in the early 80’s. I’ll give a link below for a video that demonstrates the inspiration for, and craft of, making these pieces.

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The room devoted to Chihuly’s “Seaform Series” is dominated by a very large glass ‘tower’ that develops from deep blues to paler blues, soft greens and touches of sunlit yellows, browns and sandy golds. Embedded in this ‘wave’ structure are various golden creatures of the sea, blown in rippled glass, which swim effortlessly through the waters. 

Chihuly lives by the water in Seattle and his love for the sea shines through these pieces. In 1979, unfortunately, it was his love for the sea that changed his career for the second time… the first was a car accident that took the sight of one eye. This time, a body surfing accident ended Chihuly’s ability to hold the long glass blowing pipe. Years earlier, while visiting the glassblowers of Murano in Italy, he’d seen the benefits of team work in glass blowing. Now, team work became a vital part of his own art practice. He employed a team of skilled glass blowers to form the individual pieces for him whilst he concentrated on designing complex creations like this sculptural ‘Seaform’ piece. 

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I spent a lot of time really looking at each of these exquisite forms.

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Also in the “Seaform”room are some very unusual individual sea creature sculptures. I was fascinated by how each piece was formed and the variety of glass skills involved.

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The time spent looking carefully at each of these sculptures was very rewarding.

We’ll move onto the next room in this amazing exhibition next time.

In the meantime here are a couple of ‘you tube’ links for those who are interested.

They explain, so much better than I ever could, just how these glass forms are made.

The woven cylinders and bowls series:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFna7yKsh-s

The ‘Seaform’ series

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAS3biAvX3I

Jennie and David

All photographs copyright © JT  and DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

www.jtdytravels.com

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

www.dymusings.com

More of our travel photos are on

www.flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

.

 

 

 

 

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USA: Seattle #4 The Space Needle

The day began clear and hot, again! It would get even hotter as the day wore on. So we decided to take the monorail to the Space Needle instead of walking.

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The Space Needle is an unmissable part of the Seattle skyline. In 1961, the builders of the Space Needle were given a little over a year to complete the needle as the central feature of Seattle’s 1962 World Fair. Finished in 400 days, it was dubbed, “The 400 Day Wonder.”

Now here’s some statistics for those who like that sort of thing, as David does. When pouring the foundations of the Needle, it took 467 cement trucks less than 12 hours to fill the foundation hole (30 feet deep and 120 feet across). Those foundations weigh 5,850 tons of which 250 tons is reinforcing steel. The whole Needle structure weighs 3,700 tons and it is fastened to its foundation with 72 bolts, each 30 feet in length. It should not move!

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It was a pleasure to take the monorail and see the city streets from above.

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It’s not easy to describe the needle! It’s huge, breathtaking, beautifully designed, elegant and a whole lot more. And there’s plenty of time to think about it as you stand at its base in the queue, moving slowly, a couple of feet at a time, waiting for your turn to take the elevator to the observation deck. But it’s worth the wait!

If allowed, we could have walked up the 848 steps from the bottom of the basement to the top of the Observation Deck. But it was hot!  We wondered how the elevator would go on a windy day… fortunately it wasn’t windy that day. We learned, while we read the blurb and waited, that the Needle sways approximately 1 inch for every 10 mph of wind. It was built to withstand a wind velocity of 200 miles per hour. The tower would be closed long before that. In fact, if the wind gets to 35mph, the elevators automatically reduce their speed to 5 mph for safety reasons. And how fast do those elevators travel? 10mph or 800 feet per minute and takes 43 seconds to get to the top. Not being a lover of fast elevators, I was somewhat calmed to learn that although one cable is strong enough to hold the entire weight of the elevator and the 25 people inside, each elevator has seven cables. And if all seven cables brake? An automatic brake would lock. OK. Head of the queue. Ready to go.

 

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A map gives a broad idea of what we would see from the observation tower; Puget Sound to the west; lakes and suburbs to the north; mountains to the east and the city CBD to the south. The deck was crowded with people when we arrived, so it was a case of find a spot at the edge, when you could get one, and stay there. I began looking to the north west.

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A wide angle view of Puget Sound stretching north west from Elliott Bay and the CBD.

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Puget Sound is a large inlet from the Pacific Ocean. North of the line is Canada.

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Closer view to the north west with Canadian mountains in the background.

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A crowded marina gives some idea of the love for sailing in the Seattle area.

Big cruise ships often dock at these wharves. None in town that day.

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Tanker being loaded from silos… not sure what product.

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520 feet below the north side of the Observation Deck is a playground area. We were almost at the top… 85 feet above us, on top of the Needle, is an aircraft warning beacon. Also up on top are 25 lightning rods (24 actual rods, plus the tower). 

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The orange maze in the playground attracted quite a few walkers.

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Looking directly north is Lake Union. We’ll explore this lake later by ship.

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Lake Union is another boating paradise. Ferries and tour boats berth here and sea planes and helicopters leave from here to fly passengers out to the islands and up to Victoria on Vancouver Island, Canada.

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We went over this Lake Union Bridge on our way to Everett and the Boeing Assembly Plant. It crosses a narrow part of the canal entrance to the much larger Lake Washington.

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Looking south south-east we could just make out Mount Rainier in the distance, 54 miles (87 km) from Seattle. It’s the highest mountain in the State of Washington..It’s summit is 14,417 ft (4,394 m) and its covered year round in glacial ice.  I was surprised to learn that Mt Rainier is considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes although it’s last eruption was in 1894. Perhaps it’s due for an eruption!

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Looking south over the CBD we could see the monorail leading back towards our hotel.

Yet another high rise building was going up in the foreground.

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A view south over the CBD and across Elliot Bay to the shipping docks.

Our 360 view of the city was complete. More and more people were crowding the deck, and, anyway, we had other things to do and see. So we left the Needle with some reluctance… but it was made easier knowing that we had return tickets for the evening.

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We returned at 7.45pm when the Needle glowed golden in the late afternoon light.

This was a very different experience. The ambience had changed.

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Many others had the same idea… to watch the sun set from the Needle.

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The sky turned from bright orange to pale gold and the city seemed to stop.

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The last of the light caught the top of Mt Rainier.

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The moon rose over the city in a soft pink sky.

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The colours of the sky began to darken. Everything seemed still.

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Lights came on in high rise buildings. Cars turned their headlights on.

 

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The city might have slowed down, but the dockyards never sleep.

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Lights lit up the buildings below the Needle as the light faded even more.

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And, finally, it was time to go after an experience we can recommend to all.

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By the time we’d waited for an elevator to take us back to ground level, the sky was pitch black. The Needle rose above us like a space ship as we, and hundreds of other visitors, left it to its task of warning aircraft in the area. Thankfully, after a full day out, the monorail was still running to take us back to our hotel and our beds.

Next time, we’ll show you what we did during the rest of the day, in between our visits to the Needle… a magic visit to Dale Chihuly’s Glass Exhibit and Gardens.

Jennie and David

All photographs copyright © JT  and DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

www.jtdytravels.com

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

www.dymusings.com

More of our travel photos are on

www.flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

 

 

 

 

 

 

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USA: Seattle #3 Pike Place Markets

After a long morning going to, and through, and back from the Boeing Assembly Plant, we were somewhat on the hungry side. So in search of lunch, we left our bus in 2nd Avenue, two streets above the famous Pike Place Market and began the down hill walk.

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Pike Place Market is not small! It’s a whole ‘community’ down the hill from the CBD, near the water but not on the water. When it was opened on 17 August 1907, it would have enjoyed being by Elliott Bay, but now a very busy motorway roars its way between the markets and the waterfront. Now, bridges and steep steps give access to the waterfront.

Last time we were in Seattle, we took the market ‘taste tour”; an excellent way to experience the market. This time we just wandered and enjoyed the ambience.

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Photo courtesy of Google Maps

I said Seattle was hilly! We walked down Stewart Street to get to the market, but Pike and Pine Streets are just as steep. On our right as we came down the hill, we walked by Stewart House, built in 1902, so predating the markets. It’s now a home for low-income seniors, one of the community projects run by the Pike Market Community Foundation. I was fascinated to learn more about the Foundation’s work as we wandered through markets.

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There are several entrances to the long market ‘halls’. This is the main one. In front are the ‘tables’ where local farmers can sell their produce. Inside are the permanent stall holders. Back in the early days, the only cover was for the customers. The farmers sold their produce from their wagons on the street. At its peak, nearly 600 farmers sold their produce here. It was then, and is still, the main fresh produce market in Seattle.

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At the main entrance and under the iconic clock, there’s a life size ‘piggy bank’ called Rachel which collects money for the Pike Market Foundation. Rachel is beloved by the locals and tourists alike. Rubbing her nose… and popping in a donation, is said to bring good luck! And the donations bring practical services to the poorer people of the area. Some of the money is used for ‘Market Fresh Coupons’ which allow people to choose fresh fruit and vegetables directly from the farm stands at Pike Place Market. The coupons are used just like cash. Farmers and producers are compensated for all Market Fresh Coupons redeemed, so it is a real win-win for poorer people and farmers alike.

Near the main market entrance is a place that’s affectionately called the ‘Gum Wall’. People who attended the Market Theatre, in years gone by, were asked to leave their gum outside… better on the wall than on the pavement, I would say!

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P1140850 © JT of jtdytravels

A large area of the market floor is tiled with ‘named tiles’, some dating back as far as 1985. During restoration work, nearly 55,000 tiles were laid to honour donors who helped to pay for the much needed work. They show the pride locals have in their market.

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P1140851 © JT of jtdytravels

The tiles make a very special flooring for the millions of feet that walk these aisles each year. This is just a small part of a market hall that runs almost three city blocks.

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P1130396 © JT of jtdytravels

One of our favourite areas in the hall is the flower market. Such colour and perfume!

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P1130398 © JT of jtdytravels

Mixed bunches are always popular… these in early July full of summer blooms.

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P1130399 © JT of jtdytravels

I also loved the fungi stalls… so many different varieties. These are morchellas, true morels. I’ve never tried these honeycomb like morsels. So how do you use them, I asked. The response was ‘keep it simple’.

Wash and slice the fresh mushroom longways into quarters. Soak in large bowl of salt water for a couple of hours.. but not for too long or they’ll go mushy. Soaking kills and removes any little ‘critters’ lurking in those honeycomb ridges and holes. Drain and dry.

Now for the fun part. Use a zip lock bag for mess free work (or use a bowl) to coat the morels in a mix of wheat flour and rice flour. (Apparently, the addition of rice flour helps to make them crispier.)

In a frypan, melt butter (preferably… a better taste than margarine). Don’t overheat.

Gently saute mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste. Eat and ENJOY. I’ll try it.

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P1130401 © JT of jtdytravels

Other mushrooms that were unusual to me were the Maitaki (Grifola frondosa.) These are polypore mushroom that grow in clusters of gray-brown caps at the base of trees, particularly oaks. The clusters, that can become as large as 100cm, grow from an underground tuber like structure about the size of a potato. They may grow in the same place for many years. Maitaki mushrooms are very often used in Japanese cooking.

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P1130402 © JT of jtdytravels

I do know about Shitake mushrooms and will probably never use them in my cooking. Although I know that many people use them, some people, like my sister, are allergic to them. I will never forget a night at a hotel at Sydney airport where we were spending the night prior to an early morning flight to Europe. We ordered our dinner and were really enjoying it, when, to my horror,I noticed my sister’s cheek around her eye begin to swell…and swell… and swell. We had no idea of the cause. We sent for a doctor who called the kitchen to ask about the ingredients in our meal. Shitake mushrooms! An injection and a good night’s sleep and the swelling went down. Thankfully, we were able to board our plane and enjoyed our holiday!  So… no Shitake mushrooms in our food.

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P1130428 © DY of jtdytravels

We had arrived in Seattle at cherry time! On offer were the delicious golden, sweet Rainier cherries grown so well in Washington State. They are the result of a cross between Bing and Van varieties and first came onto the market in 1960. Seattle is famous for them.

Cherries are also the heart and soul of the ‘Chukar Cherries’ stall that has been selling yummy chocolate covered cherries and other delights at Pike Markets for 20 years. You can try before you buy! They are totally addictive. And yes, they ship them home.

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P1130397 © JT of jtdytravels

Apart from fresh fruit and vegetables, quality meat and deli goods are on sale. It always makes me wish I had a kitchen in town to take some of these offerings home to try.

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P1130430 © DY of jtdytravels

King Crab legs have always been a favourite of mine.  We didn’t buy these, but chose to try one of the home made sausage cafes. Good… but I still prefer crab!

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P1150263 ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

One thing Seattle City does well, apart from its market, is the way it composts food waste. No longer are scraps wrapped in plastic or paper and put in the bin. Each home has a bin for food and garden waste that’s collected by the city and turned into compost.

Food left over here in the markets is not always thrown away. The community has a food bank to help the poor and an ‘economy area’ where day old food can be sold cheaply. And to the left of the main central hall is the La Salle Building which contains two fine dining restaurants. But that’s not all that’s in there. The building also contains the Pike Market Senior Centre which serves nearly 50,000 meals a year to low income seniors.

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Photo courtesy of Google Maps

There are several other areas of the market below the main hall selling crafts and collectables and some clothes. Other areas are not under the main roof but in buildings in Pike Place and in side streets. On the right in this photos is the Corner Market… yes its on a corner… where all sorts of things are sold.

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P1140853 © JT of jtdytravels

In one shop in this area we found a tea shop with some appropriately styled tea pots!

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Further along in Pike Place is the first ever Starbucks Coffee shop. When it opened in 1971, Starbucks sold only coffee beans. Then in 1987, the store was taken over by Howard Schultz.Then, the store began to sell espressos. Now Starbucks stores seem to be everywhere… except  in Australia, although there are some where American tourists gather. But in general, Australians were not enamoured of Starbucks coffee and many of the shops that opened here soon closed down. We prefer the Italian style of baristas.

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Photo courtesy of Google Mapss

Where the markets finally come to an end, it’s good to rest and enjoy views over the bay from Victor Steinbrueck Park. There are plenty of places nearby that sell good lunch food and it’s pleasant to enjoy the sunshine… that is, of course, if it is not raining!

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P1140849  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

Seattle is not called the Emerald City for nothing.

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Photo courtesy of Google Maps

It was not raining when we were there… the city was sweltering through a heat wave, the worst they’d had for many decades. We were pleased to find some shaded alleys to wander along as we made our way in a zig zag fashion back up the hill to what is, for some odd reason called Seattle’s ‘downtown area’!  It’s not! It’s definitely the UP HILL area!

It was good to get back to the hotel after a really good day at both the Boeing Assembly Plant and at Pike Place Markets. T’was time to rest up for another big day ahead.

Jennie and David

All photographs copyright © JT  and DY  of  jtdytravels

unless marked as from Google

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High on our ‘to do’ list while in the Seattle area was to visit the Boeing Assembly plant at Everett, north of Seattle. David’s son, Peter, had been based there for a year.

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To get there, we could have taken a bus or a train. But since the easiest way to get in to see the assembly plant is to go with a group, we opted for that. It was a pleasant trip… or at least it should have been. Our lady guide did her best to tell us the story of Willem Boeing and his passion for flying. However, her commentary was all but totally sabotaged by a man and his 8 year old son who sat apart and talked loudly the whole way about anything other than Boeing. Not only were they rude, and Mum didn’t seem to care either, but they spoiled the morning for the rest of us. Neither polite requests from the driver, nor lots of ‘shooshings’ from the passengers, made the least bit of difference. Thankfully, I’ve been able to piece the story together from various sites on the internet!

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So why was David’s son Peter at the Boeing plant? He was overseeing the building of the first Boeing 787 Dreamliners to be built for JetStar in Australia.We had not been able to get to Seattle whilst Peter was there, so now was our opportunity. It was a great experience.

We saw two of these long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliners sitting on the tarmac all ready for delivery.  Jet Star now uses Dreamliners on international routes.

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Boeing’s factory in Everett is HUGE!!!! It’s recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest building in the world by volume, at 472 million cubic feet. It covers a massive 98.3 acres of land. It’s so massive that when it was first built, accumulated warm air and moisture, actually formed clouds inside near the ceiling. But not any more.

When we arrived at the reception centre, we had to leave everything we had with us on board our bus. No cameras, no mobile phones were permitted, no purse; nothing at all.

After inspection at the security gate, and a strict briefing, we were taken by special Boeing Tour bus across the tarmacs to get to various parts of the building. At each stop, we had to walk through underground tunnels, kilometres long, to get to the areas where each of the different Boeing planes are put together. The assembly line is fascinating; mind blowing.

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The murals on front of the huge buildings are celebrating 100 years of Boeing planes. They celebrate a century in which “humans went from walking on Earth to walking on the moon. They went from riding horses to flying jet airplanes. With each decade, aviation technology crossed another frontier, and, with each crossing, the world changed.

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And at the very end of the building is the mural of the newest plane, the Dreamliner.

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So who was William Boeing who once flew an early plane like this and went on to build the Boeing Airplane empire? It seems that he was a man who had a passion for adventure and who took chances at the right moments.

William was born on October 1st, 1881 in Detroit, Michigan. His father, Wilhelm Boeing, had made a fortune as a timber baron after migrating to America. He died when William was 8 years old so he never knew of his son’s dreams and goals of flight.

In 1904, William Boeing began his studies at Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School but he left there a year before finishing. In that same year, the Wright Brothers made their historic flight… and Boeing moved to Gray’s Harbor, Washington where he established his own timber business, making a fortune. Seven years later, he moved to Seattle.

Boeing surrounded himself with other wealthy and adventurous friends. He is reported to have said, “science and hard work can lick what appear to be insurmountable difficulties. I’ve tried to make the men around me feel, as I do, that we are embarked as pioneers upon a new science and industry in which our problems are so new and unusual that it behooves no one to dismiss any novel idea with the statement that it can’t be done.”

One of his friends was Conrad Westervelt. Both men enjoyed sailing and boating in the Puget Sound, Seattle. But Boeing was never satisfied with the boats available on the market, so he bought a shipyard and started to build boats to his own designs. Soon, he became interested in the world’s newest invention, the airplane.

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I wonder what he would have made of today’s Boeing Dreamliner! His own first flight was on July 4th, 1914, in a friend’s Curtiss hydroplane. It was not a good experience. The plane was loud, unstable and very uncomfortable. He was sure he could build a better one! 

But first he had to learn to fly. After a brief introduction to flying, he bought a plane, took it back to Seattle and then crashed it, luckily living through the accident. Parts would take weeks to come even by the fastest route, so Boeing and his friend Westervelt, pulled the wrecked plane apart and began to learn about construction and design.

Happy with his new design, Boeing gave the skilled workers in his ship yard the task of building his new plane. He flew the plane on its first flight on June 15th, 1916.

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Boeing quickly realised the importance of the airplane for both civilian and military purposes. He formed a new company; the Pacific Aero Products Company. Not long afterwards he renamed it the Boeing Airplane Company. And the rest, as they say, is history… or at least it can be read on one of Boeing’s web sites (links below).

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What a difference from that early wooden structure to the massive Boeing plant today!

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It what a proud day it was for all those involved in that Boeing Assembly plant when Dreamliner No 1 showed its style in the skies!.

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The ceiling of the visitors’ centre is festooned with the flags of all of the countries serviced by Boeing’s planes today, many of them with orders in for the new Dreamliner.

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Also hanging from the ceiling of the visitors’ centre, is a replica of a very famous plane, Boeing Model 1. Indeed it has been an amazing 100 year journey.

We highly recommend a visit to Boeing if you ever get to Seattle.

And now for links to web sites with more information and a documentary video:

For more information on the biography of William Boeing:

http://www.boeing.com/history/pioneers/william-e-boeing.page

For a Chronology of the Boeing Company story:

http://www.boeing.com/resources/boeingdotcom/history/pdf/Boeing_Chronology.pdf

For an excellent 40 minute documentary that goes inside the Boeing Everett plant to see the assembly of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner (even more than we saw), click on:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVYaLwlgYgk 

 

More of our explorations in Seattle anon

Jennie and David

All photographs copyright © JT  and DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

www.jtdytravels.com

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

www.dymusings.com

More of our travel photos are on

www.flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

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