48 Hours in Seattle

Art, Food, Sleep, Repeat

Destination: Seattle, Washington
Weather: 70 degrees and sunny
Souvenir: Sawdust Mountain, monograph by Eirik Johnson

Recently, I joined a group of art-loving friends on a SFMOMA-organized trip to Seattle. From back-to-back studio and gallery visits to mouth-watering food experiences, it was a busy two days that was as stimulating as it sounds. Here are some highlights.


john-grade-team-awesomeWorking with wood. Measuring, cutting, sanding, glueing, and reinforcing with pins. Dream job? 

First stop was John Grade’s woodshop studio where he and his team create large-scale site-specific sculptural installations, such as the hemlock-shaped sculpture Middle Fork at the Seattle Art Museum (pictured). On the day of our visit, the workshop was mostly filled with Bristlecone Pine and Alaska Yellow Cedar. My favorite sighting was a small group of artists meticulously carving, sanding and connecting pieces to create, what looked like, a floating base structure, reinforced with wood glue and micro-pins. In another area, a man was carving out little window-like openings from a solid piece of Bristlecone, a piece designated for the atrium of Portland State University. John Grade was not present as he is currently working on a pingo project in Alaska.

middle-fork-seattle-art-museumMiddle Fork at the Seattle Art Museum


jaume_plensa_wireheadsI loved these Jaume Plensa stainless steel head sculptures in the yard. “A face off in the garden!”

Meeting Barney was an absolute delight. From seeing his world-renowned modernist collection and hearing his amusing stories (like hiring a professional to clean a Jasper Johns with spit), to enjoying lunch surrounded by Old Master paintings (surreal) and sitting below Gaston Lachaise’s bronze Standing Woman (who looked like she was protecting me), the visit easily made my top ten list of best art and food experiences.


isaac-layman-studio-seattleIsaac discussing recent work.

Visiting the home studio of Isaac Layman, an artist with a passion for the ordinary. Earnest and genuine, it was easy to understand his deep curiosity for common objects, including his oven and kitchen sink.


meghann-riepenhoff-cyanotype-mediumFrom Littoral Drift Series

Based in Bainbridge Island, WA, Meghann‘s amazing process is explained here “She creates experimental living photographic prints involving a structured interaction between the canvas, the cyanotype medium and the chance operation of natural fluid bodies such as drifting tides along a shoreline.” Her work was about nature’s wonderful surprises; the flow water, the patterns of sunlight. Unpredictable beauty.

meghann-riepenhoff-Photographic-Center-NorthwestMeghann’s studio inside the Photographic Center Northwest.

LARK Dinner at the Lark came at the end of a long day. Happy to see coupe glasses of rosé waiting for us. Expect delicious locally-produced dishes. What to order: hamachi tartare, Wagyu hanger steak and their nectarine tarte tatin with bourbon caramel.

A welcoming entry

lark-rose-wineRows of rosé

group-at-lark-seattleDinner with friends and artist Meghann Riepenhoff (standing back right with lovely updo).

952 E Seneca St.
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 323-5275


A whimsical display of color and light through glass pieces.

A visit to Chihuly‘s boathouse studio certainly gave me a deeper appreciation for his glassblowing work. An unassuming building, his boathouse studio housed a hot shop room (a.k.a. glassblowing), library, dining room, aquarium, pool, and personal boathouse collection of his works as well as other artists including a stunning collection of Edward Curtis photographs.

This yellow chandelier was just one of many different colored ones hanging over a long dining table that sat about 80 guests. The shape, color and light of the fixtures were magical.

My favorite space. It’s a room I can retire in.


entry-james-turrell-skyspaceEntrance to James Turrell’s Skyspace, Light Reign

Located on the University of Washington campus, the Henry Art Gallery features many new works by emerging artists. We got a behind-the-scenes tour from director, Sylvia Wolfe, on the gallery’s photography collection and new artist database. Moreover, it was the perfect day to take a break inside James Turrell’s Skyspace.

james-turrell-skyspaceInside Skyspace | Aperture in the ceiling open to the sky.

ANCHOVIES & OLIVES Nestled among the lovely Capital Hill neighborhood, Ethan Stowell’s Anchovies & Olives has an inviting open-kitchen format that typically caters to the local dinner crowd. For our trip, we were lucky to snag a private lunch in the middle of the day. Fresh Proscuitto di Parma, warm fluffy torta fritta and small batch olives served on a slab of wood usually means I’m going to love the place. And I did. What to order: Proscuitto di Parma, clam with spaghetti, and rigatoni with house ragu.

Anchovies & Olives
1550 15th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 838-8080


eirik-johnsonEirik sharing stories of the mushroom camps.

Seattle-based photographer and mixed-media artist, Eirik’s work is an exercise in endurance. From his time recording the extremes of the Arctic summers and winters to joining Matsutake mushroom hunters in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, Eirik’s large-format images are captivating and thought provoking as well as beautiful. I’m currently fascinated by his daguerreotype series.


delaunay-finch-artAmazed that these works are 100 years apart: Robert Delaunay, Delaunay Les Fenêtres simultanées (Simulaneous Windows), 1912 and Spencer Finch, Paths through the Studio, 2012

Color & Pattern works from art collection of Paul Allen with a tour by Greg Bell, Director of Pivot’s gallery space. Collection includes selected paintings, drawings, sculpture and ceramics by Squeak Carnwath, Anish Kapoor, Jasper Johns, Robert Delaunay, and Damien Hirst.

damien-hirst-barium-carbonate-13C-2005-2008Damien Hirst, Barium Carbonate-13C, 2005-2008

BAR MELUSINE Our early supper at this neighborhood gem was amazing. Lots of natural light add to the decor of shades of seafoam green, wood, and brass. What to order: oysters, crab salad (pictured), halibut crudo, and salmon rillettes.


Bar Melusine
1060 E Union St.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 900-8808

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