I think Seattle mound houses, also known as spite mounds, and what led to their creation, are one of the coolest, most surreal things I’ve ever stumbled upon. Seattle as we know it today was built up by the timber industry and prostitution (the earnings from which went to establish the first public schools here!). A fire in 1989 completely changed – and literally reshaped – the city. Twenty-five city blocks were destroyed in the fire – the entire business district, half of downtown. railroad stations, and wharves.
Seattle is hilly as all hell, and back in the early 1900s, horses pulling buggies and humans walking through town were having absolutely none it. It was annoying to maneuver through the city with those inclines. What does one do when just about everything around them is destroyed? Use that destruction to completely change the city’s landscape forever.
For around 30 years, more than 50 million cubic yards, or about 7,000 Olympic swimming pools, of earth were moved from the city to the waterfront. Self-capsizing scows were used to transport the earth to the sea.
Regrading the city essentially required full demolition of all buildings, including houses. At the time, it was referred to as “the largest and boldest municipal regrade project in history.” And the approach to destroying many of the houses was equally dramatic.
Many of the houses that were to be removed from the hill did not have to be torn down. They were simply undermined by a stream of water, and when they tumbled into the hole they were set on fire.
V. V. Tarbill, 1930
Most folks were jazzed because it meant when they rebuilt, their property values would skyrocket.
However, as the story goes, some residents were not so pleased with this plan.
ENTER: THE MOUND HOUSE
Some folks were understandably not all that keen on having their houses or land destroyed by the city. They refused to vacate, so the regrade literally happened up to the edge of their properties, creating a surreal landscape of enormous singular mounds as the earth around them was removed. Another name for the houses were “spite mounds,” because even in the early 1900s people were cracking hilarious jokes.
There are still remnants of these holdouts around the city to this day. (Mostly along Melrose if you’re familiar with Seattle)
Hi friends! I’ve lately been trying to work more on the “strong internet presence as an artist” thing since standing out in the world of art and crafting is a tough game. I love engaging with and supporting fellow makers of things – coming from different backgrounds and training and styles, making dope art, crafting things I couldn’t have imagined – and being able to share my work and make a name for myself.
I’ve been doing some research and figured I could share some of the things I learned with any fellow makers of things who, like me, might not be experts on the subject.
Establish what it is that makes you stand out in your field and own it! Your “brand” should encompass something unique about your art, or about you, so that folks learn to recognize your style.
Define yourself with a key phrase, and stick with it. It should be concise and unambiguous. Key phrases help connect with your audience in a way that a logo alone can’t.
Establish your aesthetic! Logos can be cool, but mostly importantly stick with a consistent look in terms of fonts, For example, the old UPS label wasn’t fancy at all, but through simplicity and repeated use, it became widely recognizable. Norman Rockwell simply used his own signature as his “logo.”
Each piece of communication has to be effective. Consistently use your key statement and logo/aesthetic on everything you create. For sending emails, throw your personal phrase or logo below your signature line. Make them prominent on postcards or flyers, and, of course, your website and business cards.
Here are a couple of folks who I think embody the journey from casually having a hobby to making a prominent name for themselves. Their online presence and consistency in both aesthetic and production of content definitely helped them build the presence they now have.
Alysha Littlejohn is a super dope craftsman and the founder and Littlejohn’s Yarn. She built out a strong YouTube presence in order to share crochet patterns, decor ideas, reviews, and generally cool crotchet-y mastery accessible to audiences across all skill levels. She emphasized that part of her success was “consistency and research.” Here’s some of what she had to say about her journey from casually crocheting for friends to ultimately having a wildly popular presence in the yarn world. Get it, Miss Alysha!
I’ve crocheted for years until maybe recently, like five years ago, five or six years ago, I began selling my own crochet items, and that progressed into blogging, pattern writing, and more, just from that.
I’m like, people care about what I have to say, so therefore, I have to make sure I put forth good information, because I don’t want to lead anybody astray.
I realized you just have to be consistent, putting something out every single week.
You just can’t put out content one day and five months later put out something else. And also, you need to learn how to promote what you put out. People are not just going to find you. You have to make sure you can find your audience.
Robyn Blair Davidson, has done a knockout job of building an identity in the art world with her candy-ful, bright pop art pieces. She made one for herself, because she thought it was funny. Then some for her family. Then some more for her friends. Then even more for folks seeking her work out via her online presence. Get it, Miss Robyn!
“Friends and family were constantly asking if I’d make [a piece] for them out of their favorite candies. Everything took off from there very organically. I started getting custom orders, at first by word-of-mouth and social media, and turned it into a full-time business.”
Anywho, gave me some interesting things to think about and work on. Hope it was helpful for you as well!
It snowed in Seattle (a rare event!) so I strapped on some skis to make it one whole block down the street. The Boy was a fantastic commentator. Also, the skis I own are branded as the Luv Machines, so in their honor, I present this song.
Gnawa music (Ar. ڭْناوة or كْناوة) is a body of Moroccan and sub-Saharan African Islamic religious songs and rhythms. Its well-preserved heritage combines ritual poetry with traditional music and dancing. The music is performed at lila, communal nights of celebration dedicated to prayer and healing guided by the Gnawa maalem, or master musician, and their group of musicians and dancers. Though many of the influences that formed this music can be traced to sub-Saharan West-Africa, its traditional practice is concentrated in Morocco. Gnawa music has spread to many other countries in Africa and Europe, such as France.
In a Gnawa song, one phrase or a few lines are repeated over and over, so the song may last a long time. In fact, a song may last several hours non-stop. However, what seems to the uninitiated to be one long song is actually a series of chants describing the various spirits (in Arabic mlouk (sing. melk)), so what seems to be a 20-minute piece may be a whole series of pieces – a suite for Sidi Moussa, Sidi Hamou, Sidi Mimoun or others. Because they are suited for adepts in a state of trance, they go on and on, and have the effect of provoking a trance from different angles.
Do you know how beautiful you are? I think not, my dear.
For as you talk of God, I see great parades with wildly colorful bands Streaming from your mind and heart, Carrying wonderful and secret messages To every corner of this world. I see saints bowing in the mountains
Hundreds of miles away To the wonder of sounds That break into light From your most common words.
Speak to me of your mother, Your cousins and your friends. Tell me of squirrels and birds you know.
Awaken your legion of nightingales— Let them soar wild and free in the sky. And begin to sing to God. Let’s all begin to sing to God! Do you know how beautiful you are?
I think not, my dear, Yet Hafiz Could set you upon a Stage And worship you forever!
Friends, Romans, countrymen, I have missed you! I hope you’re doing well in this bizarro moment in history. Gonna add some new art soon, but for now I present to you this amazing comic that describes how I view life more concisely than I ever could. Love you and hope you and yours are holding up as healthily and sanely as can be.
I’ve been teargassed, egged, sonic cannoned, flash grenaded, and helped pull folks to safety to treat wounds caused by police instigation in protests here in Seattle while working as a first aider recently and am very tired and haggard. But humans are just so lovely and deserve respect and kindness.
I had a choreographed gymnastics routine to this song complete with back walkovers when it came out in 2003. Every lady got at least a little bit of ancestral witch in her. Plz don’t forget. Collect those dope rocks or shells or dead plants or whatever gives you strength, my friends. ❤ R
Coreografaba(??) una rutina a esta cancion cuando era nina. Cada mujar/chica tiene por lo menos poca bruja en su persona. Colecciona las piedres especiales o los caracoles especiales o las plantes muertes especiales – lo que te da la esfuerza, mis amigxs. (Perdon..mi espanol no es perfecto :D)
Hello my long lost internet friends! Turns out I am not great at balancing working full time and trying to maintain a blog and make pretty Things at the same time. But I gots a new series of Things I’ve been working on and will be posting soon. How have you been? I hope you’re having a lovely day, friend. It’s nice to see you again.
I’ll be hanging out and peddling my wares at the first ever (!!) Wallingford Holiday Market in Seattle, and YOU SHOULD COME HANG OUT WITH ME. Please? I’d be thrilled to meet you. November 30 from 10 am – 3 pm.
I’ll have some cards, prints, originals, journals, tote bags, and other things with my art on them. I’d like to think people that you care about would be thrilled to receive them as gifts, because I made all of them with lots of love and would be very happy to know that other people get joy from them.
I’ll post some photos of these alleged wares later, but if you can’t be there in person, feel free to shoot me a message and I’ll ship em your way.
Recent art show was very lovely! Managed to smash two of my frames right out the gate during set up, but so it goes right? Never the soft adventure of undoom? All the other artists near me were so incredibly warm and helpful!
I’ve been bad at posting. Been working on lots of new things and getting ready to be in a couple holiday markets! More details to follow. But more importantly: how are you? I hope your brain has been full of lovely ideas and joy lately, my currently-reading-this friend.
Hello friends! I’ve been terrible at posting lately! How are you? How has your week been? I hope you’re doing well. I’ve been busy trying to plan out what to show and how to show it at an upcoming show in Seattle. Here’s my space having been turned into a staging ground for how to arrange things.
A beautiful diary from the perspective of a zucchini plant being grown on the International Space Station. He is lonely, but full of love, and I can only imagine the astronaut writing on his behalf might feel similar.
I sprouted, thrust into this world without anyone consulting me. I am not one of the beautiful; I am not one that by any other name instills flutters in the human heart. I am the kind that makes little boys gag at the dinner table thus being sent to bed without their dessert. I am utilitarian, hearty vegetative matter that can thrive under harsh conditions. I am zucchini – and I am in space.
His growth brings joy in space:
My gardener fusses with my leaves. I am not sure if I like that. I now have four and I do not quite understand why he behaves this way. He sticks his nose up against them. Does he take me for some sort of a handkerchief? Apparently he takes pleasure in my earthy green smell. There is nothing like the smell of living green in this forest of engineered machinery. I see the resultant smile. Maybe this is one of my roles as a crewmember on this expedition.
On Valentine’s day, when the astronaut is speaking with his partner on Earth:
He said to her, “I can not offer you much; I can only give you a space zucchini.” The image of my orange blossom was beamed across the void between spacecraft and Earth. Her heart melted. I felt as much a rose as any rose could ever be. He picked my flower and opened a large book, an atlas. Placing my bloom on the map of Texas, over Houston town, he closed the book and clamped it shut with a piece of Kapton tape. He said come July, when our mission is over, he will present this to her in person. I thought that something must be wrong for both of them had tears. In space, tears do not run down your cheeks but remain as a glob in the corner of your eye.
Normally I grow vegetables outside every year, but I was traveling too much this summer to care for them properly. But these little fancy lettuces in my aerogarden are killing it and make me happy every time I see them.