Summer Cacophony

Soooo – I was sitting under my umbrella. Set up outside. Across the street from Victor Steinbrueck Park on Saturday and recalled a ditty I wrote several years ago. “I’ve been here before.” I said to myself. The drums had started beating, the juggler across the street was tossing a bowling ball, power saw and … well, i don’t know what the third thing was, perhaps a sword. Visitors were stopping at my table to ask if I could help them find their way…well…anywhere. A woman gasped in surprise as I explained that “We have quite a few coffee choices here. Where are you from?”  Sirens, saxophones, a children’s choir, runners with flapping capes and numbers on their chests so they must have known their purpose. In the midst of it all – a bride and her groom. “What is going on here today?” a visitor asked me.  “The sun’s out.” I said. “We’re warm.”

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Cacophony – Redux

Head down, nose to the grind stone, make and sell as much as you can, while you can. Ships in, sun shining, days warm, crowds crushing, children screeching, dogs in strollers, babies on leashes, thieves running, ocarinas whistling, duck tours quacking, fire engines wailing, buskers singing; playing saws; unidentified instruments; mumbled lyrics. Where’s the 1st Starbucks? How far is it to the Space Needle? How do I get to the aquarium? SECURITY! How much is this? What is this? How do you make this? Can you take our picture? Where do they throw the fish? The weather is so much nicer here than what we expected. Is that Mount St. Helen’s? Mount Rainier? Is that the ocean? Where is there an ATM; Bank; Drug Store; Real Store; Mall? Do you take cards? American Express? Where’s the guy that was here last week? Will you be here tomorrow; next week; next month? Is this market here every day? What do you do when it rains? You got a cigarette? Light? Do you have to set up and tear down every day? Where’s there a good place to eat? clam chowder; seafood? Where’s Cutter’s; Ivars; The Crabpot? Wanna buy some batteries cheap? Police horse clip clops; drops a load or a river.  Bride’s white satin swishes. Exuberance. Joy. Ice cold water 50 cents! Please Lord. I don’t wish him ill but perhaps the screaming water man could, well….  Child drops a cookie, no three second rule here. Mirror Man, Bronze Woman. Gold Man. Parrot. Tips for photos please. Hula hoops, ukes and digeridoos. Tips for listening please. They’re all handmade. My name is … I make these all myself. Real Change! They’re made out of deer antler. What’s with the pig? We make your name for you right here right now. My friend makes these. Do you make a living doing this? Where is the closest bathroom? Where’s Pike Place Market? You are here.

Kat Allen
Symbols in Art
Handcrafted Display Art Tiles of Inspiration and Awareness

From Our Hands to Yours on Valentine’s Day

As Valentines Day quickly approaches we all scramble to find just the right gift to give. We sometimes agonize over it wondering if we should or should not give a gift or flowers or a card. I always try to find something that is special and I always buy local so with that in mind I have put together a few suggestion of some amazing local artisans. The nice thing is you can get all of this at the Pike Place Market along with some beautiful flowers.  This is just a small sample of some of the most amazing gifts you can find from over 250 local artisans at the Pike Place Market .  You can also find suggestion on the Pike Place Market Pinterest page http://pinterest.com/pikeplacemarket/  .  The Pike Place Market has everything you need so come shop local.

From Our Hands to Yours

 

 

by: Kristeena Sabando ~ Sabando Design

Pike Place Producers

A guy’s view on shopping at the Market

As a market vendor I have 7 years in experience observing the way men shop in the market. Being a guy my own approach to buying parallels that of many other men.  In my own business we cultivate repeat business. If a gift works well for a guy, he will likely return to the store for further purchases. My wife and I make one of a kind pieces, so the retention of repeat customers is high.

Men generally shop with the swiftness of assassins. Of course, you will find indecisive specimen among us, but most of the time shopping keeps us from other activities, so it must happen quickly. We generally know what we are specifically looking for,  so it is mostly seek and buy. Shopping as a recreation is not really a guy thing.  Sometimes men are uncomfortable shopping in department stores or boutiques. Those types of stores are not necessarily environs where we feel at ease. The market is a uniquely laid back place where you can find a wide range of things in one place. It also allows people to meet the craftsperson or artist and make informed buys.

Growing up with an older sister, I have spent countless hours being dragged along while my mother and sister shopped endlessly from store to store. The market provides many stalls and fixed businesses that appeal to the average guy. We have several vendors that produce excellent woodwork. Their work ranges from hand wrought stools, cutting boards, boxes, long boards to cribbage boards. My friend Joseph of Swanfield Horn & Stone Craft makes obsidian knives with hand carved handles. If you’re in the market for more modern blades we also have Seattle Cutlery in the market.  They sell specialty blades from kitchen to tactical knives.

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Joseph of Swanfield Horn & Stone Craft
obsidian knives with hand carved handles

Guys will always gravitate towards food offerings in the Pike Place Market.  For years Don & Joe’s Meats have been my preferred butchers. They also have great frozen bones for your dogs, just ask. Tourists are always fascinated by the goings on at Pike Place Fish. We also have three more fishmongers in the market. As a former commercial fisherman, I prefer my fish not going airborne. Beecher’s Cheese is a great place to eat, but it is also fun to watch their cheese production in action. There are also several wine shops in the market. The deli Pear has a great selection of domestic craft beers and imports. They also carry wine and great foods to accompany those beverages. Countless specialty foods can be found throughout the market.

For the shopping weary guy the market provides many choices in bars and restaurants for a beer or cocktail.  On warm days you can even find an outside spot to rest and have a drink.  Several pubs and restaurants provide al fresco seating for patrons. I have directed many husbands to various watering holes in the market, while their wives continue their shopping.

For many men traveling on business, the market provides a great place to purchase anything from a tourist t-shirt to fine art. We are walking distance from many downtown hotels. We are often the last place for businessmen to shop before heading for the airport. Our location and diversity make it very guy friendly. They are in and out like trained assassins.

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Pear Delicatessen
Local and Import Beer

 Ron Sabando, Sabando Design

Where are you from?

If you are shopping at my booth at the Pike Place Market and I ask, “Where are you from?” I am not just making small talk, I would really love to know!

I am not asking because I can hear that you have an accent, or speak very little English at all, I ask the same question of everyone who buys a handmade hat from me! The Market gets over six million visitors a year from all over the world, and I love to know where my creations travel after they pass from my hands to yours.

I grew up in the Puget Sound area, graduating high school on the Kitsap Peninsula. When I am setting up my booth in the morning on the Joe Desimone Bridge, I can look out the windows and see the ferry boats heading from Elliot Bay to Bainbridge Island. I had that entire island and mapped out by the time I was 10, I rode every rural route and explored every dirt road on my black Schwinn 3-speed bike. My mom would say “Go outside and play!” which meant hours of bushwhacking trails through bracken fern and nettles to find the perfect spot to build a fort, or turning over barnicle covered rocks at the beach and trying to capture the tiny crabs as they scrambled to escape from the sun. The whitecapped water was always too cold to swim for very long, though.

My childhood memories are infused with the natural beauty of this place, the evergreen forests, the cold rocky beaches and the bluest skies you’ve ever seen (it’s really true!). I’ve grown up and moved on and I live in the city now, I am raising my own child among the bricks and terra cotta of Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square. The lasting influence of my childhood world is still reflected in my work, though, and can be seen in my use of color and texture and in the natural, sustainable materials I source locally to create crocheted accessories with a distinctive Northwest design sensibility.

When I ask, “Where are you from?” and I nod approvingly at the thought of one of my wool berets being worn on a journey up the inside passage to Alaska, or heading out to the Boston College campus in the fall, I am hoping my customers feel they are taking something special with them when they leave, something different than the mass produced hats you can find at any department store – after all, every city in the country has a mall! At Pike Place Market can you find something truly unique, handmade with care. At the Market you can take home a designer original that you bought directly from the designer herself!

Croshay hats at Pike Place Market

My hats have gone home with visitors from Chicago, New York, DC, LA and San Francisco. They have travelled to London, Moscow, Tokyo, Melbourne and Rio! What I love to hear most, though, is that a hat is going home with a local, someone from Seattle or a smaller surrounding city, maybe Bremerton, Bellevue, Tacoma or Olympia.

Locals might not think of Pike Place Market first as a destination for art, handmade gifts or boutique fashion from local designers, they might only think of the Market as “the place where they throw the fish”. That is, until they find themselves here while showing visitors from out of town all the usual tourist spots. They look around the Joe Desimone Bridge in the North Arcade with its huge windows overlooking the Puget Sound, showcasing the work of hundreds of local artists and they realize, “Wow, I forgot how cool the Market is – we should come down more often!”

Laura Killoran, www.croshaydesign.com