Questions and Answers

Who, what, where, when and why?? These questions come naturally to visitors at the market. At my table in particular, the Who? comes up often as we have art tiles deeply etched with complex and beautiful Arabic calligraphy. “Who does this work?”  While we work on the art together, “my husband does all of the calligraphy. It is all hand copied, as is the tradition, and he has been doing it for 20 years” is my answer. “Do you know what they say?” is a natural second question. “Yes, I do. We put a label on the back with that information.” I love speaking my not-so-perfect Arabic aloud as it always seems to delight the person asking the question. Each one of our art tiles has an explanation on the back. It is the added value that we offer ourselves and to our customers. The added personal interest to our process.

Islamic Art Tiles
Bismillah (shown at the bottom of picture)
The first and foremost characteristic of Islamic art is the universal usage of Arabic script. A beautiful artistic expression of faith in Islam is the scripted Bismillah :
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Most Merciful

“What is this design?” Whether it is an Arabic sura, a Sanskrit mantra or the Greek word ICHTHUS, a Lamb or an IHS on a Christian piece – the What? question is another that I am always happy to answer. The first “What?” though, is quite often directed to the art itself. “What are they?” They – are art. To put on your wall. On a stand. To simply enjoy. Our designs are inspired by the ancients. Spiritual. Deeply personal. Each line and space between the lines, thoughtfully considered. But in the end – just art.

The Fish Symbol (Ichthus) This symbol represents the oldest Christian symbol of Christ.  The Greek word for FISH-pronounced ICHTHUS - is formed by using the first letter or each of the words in Greek - Iesous, Christos, Theou, Hyos, Soter - 
which stand for Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior
The Fish Symbol (Ichthus)
This symbol represents the oldest Christian symbol of Christ. The Greek word for FISH-pronounced ICHTHUS – is formed by using the first letter or each of the words in Greek – Iesous, Christos, Theou, Hyos, Soter – 
which stand for Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior
The Gayatri Mantra 
(Rigveda 3.62.10)
 The Gayatri Mantra invoking the Deva Savitr is considered 
the highest and most important of all Hindu mantras. 

Translation by Swami Vivekananda reads:
“We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe, may He enlighten our minds.”
The Gayatri Mantra 
(Rigveda 3.62.10)

The Gayatri Mantra invoking the Deva Savitr is considered 
the highest and most important of all Hindu mantras. 

Translation by Swami Vivekananda reads:
“We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe, may He enlighten our minds.”

“Where?” In Maple Valley. Just over an hour south east of Seattle. Within 25 minutes of leaving the market I am on my tree lined country road homeward bound. Our studio is part of our home and while private we do also meet up at the local QFC or Starbucks with our “close to home” customers. Nothing like sitting down for a cup of coffee, transacting a sale, then doing my errands. Making the best of our chosen life style.

“When?” Is often asked as “when did you start doing this?” About 20 years ago.

“Why?” as in “How did you come to do this art?” There is a long story that could be inserted here. Let’s just say that “We lived the corporate life. Now this one. We like this one better”

So…What have you discovered?

Who? My husband Jeff and I. What? Handcraft decorative, display art tiles of inspiration and awareness. Where? In Maple Valley. When? We started nearly 20 years ago. (While we do have a website that you may access at any time,  we are at the market 4-5 days a week). Why? Because we love what we do.

Kat Allen
Symbols in Art


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.”


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

Old World Style at Pike Place Market

There was a time in the not too distant past when all clothing was handmade. Cloth was handwoven, knit or crocheted from handspun thread and yarn, then stitched into garments entirely by hand. Artisans with these valuable skills were esteemed and held positions of economic and political power for centuries until the industrial revolution brought technology allowing for mass production. This lead to a decline in these ancient arts, which today are considered leisure crafts and hobbies by many. At the Pike Place Market textile artists are working to keep the age-old traditions of the professional artisan alive.

PPPSheila_2Weaving is the oldest of the textile crafts; samples of cloth woven from flax have been found in Egypt dating back to 5000 BC. Today’s handweavers have a broader variety of fibers available to create their cloth, but the basic concepts of production on the loom have not changed much since those ancient times.

Pike Place Market master crafter Sheila Mead has been weaving for 45 years. She studied Textiles at the University of Michigan and has been a Market vendor since 1989. Her scarves and shawls are created using cotton and silk chenille yarns in color palettes inspired by art, architecture and nature from a lifetime of traveling. Sheila tells a story with each piece, of a painting by Gustav Klimt or Emily Carr, a view of the sea, a terraced garden or a rolling landscape


Each is a unique work of wearable art created on a handloom that takes up most of her living room, Sheila says, “It’s not just a job, it’s my life!”


Visit Sheila’s website to see more examples of her beautiful work.

Early examples of knitted fabrics date back to the 1100’s, when only one single type of stitch was used, knitted on several needles “in the round” to a create tube of finished fabric. Knitting is now the second most popular needlecraft hobby in America, and today’s knitters create intricate lace, textured cable stitches and colorwork pattern techniques which are the result of generations of shared knowledge from artisans around the world.

PPPAnn_2Ann Dunlap Brown has been knitting since she was a teenager, when her innate sense of color drew her to the craft which she studied in college,earning her Masters Degree in Textiles at Iowa State before pursuing her career as an independent fiber artist. “I love the challenge of coming up with something new and different” she says. Ann’s distinctive designs are inspired by the materials she uses, combining luxury yarns, ribbons and lace in unexpected combinations of color and texture.


Her unique accessories must be seen in person to be fully appreciated. Ann’s work can be found on display at the Joe Desimone Bridge Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

People have worn hats throughout history. A functional accessory intended to provide warmth and protection from the elements, and in the past hats were also worn to indicate rank or social status. The Milliner is a professional artisan who elevates hatmaking to an art form which allows the wearer to express his or her individual style and fashion sense while enhancing natural features.

PPPGoldie_1Goldie Goldenberg has been making hats since 1992. The daughter of a professional seamstress, Goldie learned to sew when she was seven years old. She chose to focus on creating headwear when she realized that because they require so much less fabric than other garments, hats allowed her to afford using higher quality fabrics like velvets, rare silks and fine woolens. Goldie designs hats for both men and women, traveling the country to source fabrics and trim, she finds most of her inspiration in the characters she meets. Visiting New Orleans yearly, her designs reflect the colorful and dynamic culture of her favorite city. goldie

Goldie says, “It’s my job to make you look good!” and shares many wonderful photos of her customers wearing her designs on her FaceBook page

Blog Post by:
Laura Killoran
Croshay Design
Follow Laura on Twitter @croshay

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  .  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

Fashion at the market

As a new writer for this blog I will introduce myself to you.  I am Kim and I sell my fashion line, Im Strang, on the craftline at Pike Place market.  I am a knitter, using manual vintage knitting machines mostly, and sell a mixture of socks and accessories to a full line of sweaters, tops and dresses.


You may have seen my seamed back socks waving in the air on my quite obvious, many questions asked about, sock mannaquin legs.  That’s how people remember my booth.  Upside down legs.  They prompt more bad jokes and Christmas story references than I ever thought possible but hey, they are eye catching and draw attention to my table!


There are a good few of us selling accessories and garments at the market.  The eco friendly, upcycling designers reconstruct old cashmere sweaters and t-shirts into totally new garments.  The fiber minded of us weaving, spinning, knitting and crocheting.  Each of our four feet booths offer handmade, high end fashion for many different tastes and styles.  It’s boutique shopping straight from the artist.  Just look for the legs and come say hi.

– Kim Strang

Im Strang