Summer Where The Sidewalk Ends

And there I sit under a sunflower light

I sell our art at Pike Place Market all year long. For six months of the year I set my business up outside of the north arcade building. So far at the end that I usually have one foot on the sidewalk and the other on the red cobblestones of Pike Place.  I have a yellow sunflower umbrella. I sit. Watch. Interact with visitors. This year’s winning question – “where is the wall of gum?”. The Gum Wall?  You are at the north end of the market, I say.  Continue on through the market until you see Rachel the Pig. Look for the sign that says “Market Theater” and walk down the stairs. It’s gross. You’ll love it. Giggles from the visitors.

I also interact with the greater market family. People who walk back and forth through the market each day to pass the time. The homeless, the semi-homeless, the out of work, the seniors, the people who love being a part of the life and breath of the market or simply have nothing else better to do.  The market gives them a sense of community.

Isaac comes down on the bus from Everett once a week and sometimes brings me almonds.  He assures me that he also brings me good luck for sales.  An aged Hindu man passes by as he laps the market and attempts to teach me Hindi.  So far Namaste, How are you, I’m fine – are as far as we’ve gotten in 5 years.  One of the motorcycle regulars works at Etta’s and spends Tuesdays volunteering at the Food Bank in the market.  Nice girl.  Always takes the time to chat.  My business is set up right in front of the only two motorcycle parking spaces in the market so I’ve learned some “Harley” etiquette over the years.  Most of the riders now give me a heads up before starting their engines.

And then there is Momma Sue. 10 years ago Sue picked up the wooden chair I had forgotten as I packed up for the day.  Homeless at the time, she lugged that chair around with her for days until she caught up with me to give it back.  She has never asked me for anything. We have shared time and conversation with each other over the years.  She moved into an apartment of her own and I asked her what she really wanted to help make it feel like home. A toaster. I got her a red one to match the color she always wears.

There’s the woman who sits on the bench and asks everyone “Can I borrow two dollars for a drink?”. Security – please make her stop. I must say that her dollar amount is spot on but does she really plan on paying it back?

The busker who in the summer rarely wears a shirt or shoes. Long flowing hair to his waist, waves as he breezes by with a guitar over his shoulder.

And then the people in the park across the way. Never ending entertainment for me.

Don’t mess with a native woman.

And when I tire of people watching I kidnap poetry
and make it my own. My apologies to Shel Silverstein. It just fit.

Summer Where the Sidewalk Ends
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins.
And there the sun is warm and bright
And there I dream of what only children might
And there I sit under a sunflower light
To cool in the misty wind.

Let us leave the place where streets are black
And the huddled mass of ordinary bends.
Past the park where the native flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is carefree and slow
And watch where the red cobblestones go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

We shall walk with a walk that is carefree and slow
And watch where the red cobblestones go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Poem adapted from Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends”

Post by Kat Allen – Symbols in Art
Handcrafted art tiles reflecting World Religion and Culture

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Happy birthday to Pike Place Producers

You’ve laughed, cried, been surprised and stimulated, amazed, interested and even provoked. Above all we hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog over the last year.

As we approach the anniversary of our launch we can take a look back with pleasure and pride at the amazing and eclectic posts that have provided a unique insight into the life and times of the crafts community at Pike Place Market.

The blog was born out of some friendly meetings at the studio I share with Lynn Rosskamp of PingiHats where, fuelled by good snacks and beverages, our creative brains turned to how we can make more people aware of who we are and what we do.

We knew there was a wealth of great stories to tell about our businesses and lives as artists and crafts people, and about our place in one of Seattle’s oldest institutions and major tourist attractions.

And admittedly there was a measure of frustration driving us. Daily we encounter at our booths so many people who are completely unaware that the Market has a vibrant crafts community, that we all make what we sell, that we are professionals.

Over the course of those meetings we agreed it made sense to collaborate to get the word out, and to utilize the interest we shared in online and social media to make that happen. We set up a Facebook page, a Twitter feed and this blog, and Kat Allen of Symbols in Art wrote the first post of June 13, 2011.

Since then we’ve included artist profiles, pieces about our inspiration and work processes, and lots of information about how crafts community at the Market works. We’ve addressed etiquette and some pet peeves. There have been lots of photographs, some super cartoons, even a song playlist. I encourage you to browse the archives to check out all the posts.

In the last year our blog has received over 10,000 views. Our busiest day was September 14, 2011 when my post about the thorny issue of pricing was widely shared. Also very popular was Kat’s post about Market lunch spots on March 8 this year, and the Where Are You From post by Laura Killoran of Croshay Design. And the recent tearjerker about How the Market Brings People Together by Kristeena and Ron Sabando of Sabando Design was widely read and shared.

We do a new post weekly and there is much, much more to say, so stick around, follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook page. Thanks!

Emma Roscoe, Red Delicious Bags

How the Market Brings People Together

Alyssa and her mom Karla

Every day we get the opportunity to set up and sell in the Pike Place Market. The market is such a unique place, where we get access to so many people coming and going. Some of our customers live in Seattle and others are just passing through.  People come to Seattle for  business, family, medical treatment and some just on a whim. One thing most have in common is that they have to come to the worlds famous Pike Place Market.

We have sold jewelry for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and we have met some amazing people over the years.  But I never thought that making and selling our jewelry could have overwhelming impact on anyone’s life but I was wrong.

What is in a ring? A pretty gem stone some shiny silver put together in a way we think is unique.  But one day a beautiful lady walked up to our table and picked up a ring and tried it on. We had a pleasant conversation and she walked off with her daughter.  A little while later her husband came back and bought the ring for his wife telling us that she never buys any jewelry for herself and fell in love with the ring. He had thanked us for being nice to his wife because she was in town for cancer treatment . She looked frail but had such a light about her as she went about browsing.

The next day we got an email from her husband thanking us again for the beautiful ring and our interaction with his wife and family. We were touched by the email and thankful that we could make someone happy.  A few months passed and we received another email early in the AM from her daughter, letting us know that her mother had passed away. Before she died she gave the ring to her daughter to wear as a memento.  She thanked us again for the ring and our conversation.  Every time I think about this family I cry and think about the profound impact a ring and a simple kind conversation can have on people.

We are fortunate to meet so many people with happy and sad stories. They all have an impact on our life as we have an impact on there’s.

We think about that day all the time and I had asked Alyssa if I could tell you this story. She told me that today is the one year anniversary of her mom Karla’s funeral and she would like me to share our story with you. This is a beautiful family and we are fortunate to call them friends now!

By Kristeena and Ron Sabando: Sabando Design

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Items donated by Pike Place Market craftspeople for the Camp Ten Trees auction

Today I’m headed over to Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood to make a very important delivery. No, it’s not 100 lip smoothies for wedding favors or 50 bars of soap for film festival swag bags (though I have made both of those deliveries); it’s two Pike Place Market tote bags overflowing with items donated by market craftspeople for the Camp Ten Trees annual auction.

Camp Ten Trees is a nonprofit organization offering summer camp sessions in the Pacific Northwest, featuring a week for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and allied (LGBTQA) youth, and a week for children and youth of LGBTQ and/or non-traditional families.

I came to learn about Camp Ten Trees through a customer of mine who is involved with the organization. A few years back he asked if I would donate something to their auction, which I happily did. I mentioned it to Lynn Rosskamp of Pingi Hats this year and she offered to contribute a hat. Then word started to spread. I asked my market friends on Facebook if anyone would be interested in making a contribution. Last weekend items poured in. I received handcrafted purses, pottery, artwork, jewelry, a beautiful wooden cutting board, clocks, a nightlight, piggy banks, and a private tour of the market. When vendors heard I was collecting items for this auction they took product off of their market tables to give.

As a community, the producers at Pike Place contribute to the lives of others in many ways. We support our own in times of change, whether it’s a joyous occasion like a birth or a wedding, or a difficult time of loss. We give to each other’s children’s school fundraisers. We have taken up collections for craftspeople and farmers who have lost their ability to work due to illness, fire, or flood. We support the Pike Place Market Foundation in their many efforts to better the lives of people in the larger market community. We reached out to the victims of an unfortunate accident that occurred in the market at Christmastime a couple of years back. We have taken part in KIRO 7’s Toys for Tots Mobile Tweetup.

It’s like ripples in a pond; each one of us is only one small business, but we believe that each gesture we make, no matter how small, can help make the world a better place, one handcrafted item at a time.

Posted by Becky Boutch, Seattle Rainwater Soap Co.

From Our Hands to Our Community