Inspiration and entertainment

The Pike Place Market draws millions of visitors a year to its arcades. I have the unique job of entertaining people in the district. From our shop in Lower Post Alley, just outside the historic boundary of the Market, we offer night tours of the area, Market Ghost Tours. We travel through the district and along First Avenue. Many people who are interested in our tours first think that we tour the daystalls, farm tables and craftsline after hours. They are not aware of the complexity of the area;  the 500 people that live in the Market, the mixed use of the district, or that the Market spans nine acres. After their tour they see it in a brand new light. The theater, the beauty and the odd history all come alive. They leave inspired and entertained.

In researching the stories that are a part of the tours I have picked up some strange facts and links. For example, in my current research and preparation for Halloween 2011, I have discovered that over 10 novels about Vampires include reference to the Pike Place Market. Check it out for yourself, go to google books and type in the search field, “Pike Place Market Vampires.”  I thought for this post I would share a few videos with you;

Late Autumn was filmed in Seattle in 2010 and the Pike Place Market figures heavily in the scenes. It is a beautiful film with haunting images and a sweet sadness to it. This is the trailer. It is currently showing at film festivals throughout the US and Canada.

Zombies paid a visit to Pike Place in 2007 .

Theater has always been a part of the Market. The arcades were designed with theatrical elements in mind. The interior was designed by a former actor, Arthur Goodwin. He was known to dance through the arcades in his finest black suit and hat. (lights, camera, action!)

From the tours, photos of the Market district.

Our tours have operated under a mission since I first started giving them in 2004. To preserve the oral tradition and people’s history of the Pike Place Market and, in doing so, connect visitors to the individuals that have impacted the Market’s growth. To support the economic and social fabric of the Pike Place Market and educate and entertain its customers. To instill in each visitor a unique and magical relationship to the land and development of the Market so that each person who hears the stories is compelled to be an integral part in the future of the Pike Place Market.

– Mercedes, Market Ghost Tours

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From Here to Eternity

“Meet the Producer” is more than just a sign at Pike Place Market. It’s an opportunity. A tangible benefit as a supporter of small business. In 9 years of selling at the market I have talked to many visitors, telling our story and listening in return. Sharing our art and through our art our lives with people who stop at our table.

Jeff and I have chosen, as our inspiration, symbols and imagery from the very earliest of civilizations focusing on spiritual art. Our first Celtic Cross (The Cross of Iona) was sand blasted out of stone. Cast and hand finished as age-worn alabaster, set with semi-precious gemstones of aventurine, jade and carnelian.

Intricately detailed bas relief art tiles are now the cornerstone of our collection. Visitors gently run their fingers across them. Engaging in the fine etch and smooth feel of the tile surface. Tracing the designs, some familiar some foreign, but now all accessible at our table.  “Feel free to pick them up and take a look. Descriptive labels are on the back of each one that will tell you what it means.” Some are interested in discovery. Others want to make certain that we “have it right”. Regardless, they can see the care and thoughtfulness that goes into each design and finished piece.

Christian, Judaic, Buddhist, Islamic and Hindu images. “You cover them all” a customer says. Well, we do those five. There are others.

Design ideas are jotted down in notebooks and sketched out on pads. Winter is our time to create new pieces. It’s summer now, although the weather still hasn’t settled itself to one season here in Seattle. We’re working non-stop in our studio and come into Pike Place Market as many days a week as possible to sell. “Do you have a store?” is a common question as I sit behind my table set up on the sidewalk. This is my shop, I say. “Are  you here all summer?” I am here all year round. I set up in the building during the winter and outside as often as I can throughout the summer. “How did you get into this?” That story, dear reader, is for another time. Just know this…we like this life better.

We welcome your visits to see us at Pike Place Market. Our business is there nearly every day except Wednesday throughout the summer. Friday through Sunday you will  find me under my sunflower umbrella at the very north end of the market. You can always find us at our online shopping site. Jeff and I make art tiles. For you, your loved ones, your sacred space. From our hands to yours. Art that will last forever.

Kat Allen
Symbols in Art

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