we are people : Julie Scriver : 2012-03-26

The Gaggle

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March 26, 2012

Design Cities...on the west coast

Posted by Julie Scriver

I did it! I took a whole week away from the office. No agenda, no meetings, no laptop or other devices. Just me and my lovely sister strolling the streets of Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, looking at interesting wares, exploring nooks and crannies that intrigued us.

The revels began with family birthday celebrations and the first of a tide of delcious meals. Next up was a stunning performance by Lines Ballet. Many breathy under-breath utterances of OMG over the course of the show: incredible technique and fluidity. Ah for the days of lithe strength!

And then we took the Fit. Not a fit, but the Fit: a siren-red cracker jack little car that sped us past the border (not at all as bad as reported) and the mountains down to Portland. I so enjoyed the relaxed hipster tone of the west coast. These west coast places know how to make you comfortable. No ostentation, just a whole lot of enthusiasm for "the creative". I've never cared much for that term, but both Portland and Seattle have it in spades!

Portland is all about design. As a general observation, the populace delights in creativity, colour, and texture, and is open to all manner of art, music, and craft. Powell's bookstore is four floors and an entire city block: both an inspiration and a bit of a slapdown seeing all the wonderful book design work.

A day at Canon Beach in the cold wind and bright sun, squinting at those crazy massive hillocks of rock and seaweed that erupted of the shore there millenia ago, and searching the horizon for Japan.

Seattle was a treat for my architectural bent. We stayed on Capitol Hill and revelled in the craftsman style and art deco influences. Gorgeous buildings, lovingly maintained or restored, and bathed in the golden afternoon light of early spring. Makes the heart sore to see such beauty.

That's two weeks ago now, and the accumulation of things from my week away is slowly being shovelled through. The restorative benefit of the time away is still with me. On to the real spring, now that we've had the tease. And for those of us in the trade, directly on to fall!


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