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October 29, 2012 at 2:39 PM
Sketched Oct. 14, 2012
That quick excursion around Tacoma I was telling you about last week sure turned out to be educational. Another highlight of the unplanned drive towards Point Defiance Park was coming across the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. Have you been there?
The grounds include two restored buildings from the original Fort Nisqually, the first European settlement in the state, established in 1833 by the Hudson Bay Company in what is now the city of DuPont.
The staff and volunteers dressed in period clothing add a theatrical element to the museum that I would have loved to sketch. But not having that much time, I was just happy to fill the facing page of my Stillman and Birn sketchbook. I used a Pilog G-Tec pen, which has become one of my favorite tools for fast sketching on the go lately.
October 22, 2012 at 2:23 PM
Sketched Oct. 14, 2012
Earlier this month I set foot in downtown Tacoma for the first time since moving to Seattle six years ago. I know, about time, huh? (Faithful readers of this blog may remember that I came to Tacoma to sketch the Kalakala ferry, but I spent most of my time kayaking then, not to mention plunging into the water.)
This time the main reason of my visit was to sign copies of The Art Urban Sketching at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association trade show, but I also had time for a little exploring with my family.
A highlight of our Sunday morning excursion was stumbling upon the Chinese Garden and Reconciliation Park on our way to the much bigger and perhaps better known Point Defiance Park.
This Chinese garden isn’t only a peaceful enclave with great views of Commencement Bay; it’s a place created to preserve the memory of the dreadful expulsion of hundreds of Chinese people from Tacoma in 1885.
Signs throughout the park explain how economic woes and high unemployment in the 1870s fueled the anti-Chinese sentiment that eventually led to the expulsion. “Frustrated workers made Chinese immigrants scapegoats because of their race, culture, and willingness to work for lower wages.”
As I read through the signs, I was horrified to learn about these events. Many Chinese, read a sign titled “Planning of the Expulsion,” were forced out of the city before November 1st of 1885, the deadline established by local authorities. And more than 200 who decided to stay were rounded up by armed men and loaded onto trains bound for Portland.
I was also impressed by the effort that went into creating the beautiful park and its majestic Chinese Pavilion in the mid 1990s. It proves that, even more than one hundred years later, it’s never too late to try to heal old wounds.
For more information about the park and its mission, check the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation website at tacomachinesepark.org.
February 3, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Sketched Jan. 30, 2012
It may be just a shell of what it once was, the most iconic ferry ever to crisscross Elliott Bay, but the 1930s-era Kalakala hasn’t lost all of its character. Not yet.
This week I endured a two-hour paddle — and a humiliating plunge into Commencement Bay — to get an up-close look at the historic ferry, which has been moored in an industrial waterway in Tacoma since 2004. Despite the decay and rust, the streamlined vessel — the only ferry of its kind — retains its elegant Art Deco styling and much of its personality. I think it could make a great exhibit space along the future viaduct-free Seattle waterfront.
Mark Greengo, a kayaker who generously took a day off work to lead me to the Kalakala, has another idea. If the boat, whose condition is being monitored by the Coast Guard, can’t be restored, perhaps it could be sunk and made into an underwater park for divers.
Owner Steve Rodrigues, who’s been living in a nearby mobile home for the past five months making improvements and discouraging vandals, is committed to returning the Kalakala to Seattle as a symbol of the city’s history. “It’s a truly magnificent vessel that should never have gotten to this point,” said Rodrigues.
The 60-year-old civil engineer (shown right) is still looking for a buyer willing to preserve the Kalakala. A reported sale for $1 last December didn’t go through. Rodrigues said it was under the condition that the buyer promised to save the ferry from the scrap yard, and that promise “never happened.”
It was a relief to know that my main sketchbook was in Greengo’s kayak when I lost control of mine. We were on the way back to our launching spot at 5012 Marine View Drive, just about 100 feet from the shoreline, when my kayak tipped over and I took my first plunge ever into the Puget Sound. A smaller sketchbook that I kept with me, however, suffered some water damage because I failed to seal the plastic bag where I carried it. Above you can see the drawings that were in that sketchbook, a 6″ x 8″ Stillman and Birn wirebound with heavy weight paper.
As for myself, well, I was a bit shocked. But I barely got wet thanks to the dry-suit Greengo had brought for me. Being a kayak instructor, he also knew exactly what to do to help me back onto my boat in very little time. Back on land, I did a sketch of him that I will be posting next week. The guy deserves his own blog entry, don’t you think?
What has drawn your attention around Seattle lately? Send me your suggestions of interesting places and people to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!
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