Tag Archives: iconic beaches of Washington state

Made in Tokeland

Made in Tokeland 2

Greetings all~

Since my last blog entry I have been to Los Angeles to display my work in a show that included a roster of highly talented craftspeople, including jewelry makers, fashion designers, mixed media artists and vinyal deejays. I enjoyed the casual, friendly vibe at the show, made some sales and promising  contacts…and had a great time at the after show party.

creative warrior display 5 Yes those are disco ball reflections!

When I returned home, my good friend and neighbor Jeff Uitto stopped by.  Jeffro makes furniture and sculpture from salvaged wood found on local beaches and rivers. I have known him since he was a young kid growing up in Tokeland and  living with his grandmother Jan, a wonderfully feisty lady who rode a pink Harley with ape hangers. Creative to the bone, Jeff forages beaches for redwood, cedar, and maple, seeing the possibilities in grain and shape, later milling the largest pieces into slabs. He can become ecstatic over a “gnarly root ball.” His yard is filled with stacks of drying wood, some pieces he has had for years, waiting for just the right project. His shop is called Knock on Wood.

eagle2 crossing currentsRiverteeth01


Since we’d last seen each other, Jeff and I had both done shows in major cities. As we compared notes, in the best Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney tradition we said  “Let’s put on a show.” We would invite some of our artist friends who live in the area and put the word out via postcards and Facebook. It would be an opportunity to show and sell recent work in a relaxed  non cyber setting. A real place in real time.

The historic Tokeland Hotel and Restaurant, Washington state’s oldest resort hotel agreed to host the event in their rustic lobby and even offered a special rate for guests that weekend.

hotel www.tokelandhotel.com

We invited some of our favorite artists to show with us: photographer Marcy Merrill, miniature furniture maker Mark Murphy, and  photo journalist/writer  Erika Langley. Here are some examples of their work:

Mark Murphy  is a master craftsman/maker of miniature furniture, specializing in 18th/19th century pieces with a special focus on arts and crafts movement and Japanese designs. His work can be seen in museums in the mid-west and private collections world wide. A graduate of the Philadelphia College of the Arts, Mark resides in Astoria, Oregon.

mark desksetchair mark 4chairMark japanese 

(all pieces are one inch in scale)

Marcy Merrill is a photographer who specializes in alternative photo processes, including wet plate collodion photography and pinhole photography. In addition. to offering state of the art digital imagery, she also has a pink- tiled dark room in her North Cove, Washington studio. Besides being our close friend and neighbor, ( and my son Raleigh’s godmother) Marcy is the go-to person for excellent studio work. Many of the artist photos on this page (and my website) were shot by Marcy. Here are two wet plate collodion photographs.



bass&hornsection2          1471347_548450161909806_1183171484_n

Marcy will be world premiering pintoid photographs from a recent journey across Canada and the US. “Pintoids” are pinhole cameras made from Altoids containers.


To learn about the wet plate collodion process and see more images, go to Marcy’s website:http://www.merrillphoto.com/index.php?id=50

Erika Langley is an internationally recognized photographer. A native of Arlington Virginia, she attended the Rhode Island School of Design, has worked for newspapers in Virginia and was the recipient of three Virginia Press Awards before moving to Seattle, Washington in 1992. Her book The Lusty Lady, documents the years she spent dancing and photographing behind the scenes at Seattle’s notorious Lusty Lady. Currently Erika divides her time between Seattle and Northcove , Washington, photographing and blogging about the rapid erosion of nearby Washaway Beach.

MLK day by Jenna Steffenson MLK day by Jenna Steffenson

To visit her blog go to: http://www.washawaybeach.com/gallery/index.html

Here is a teaser from Amazon.com about her book, The Lusty Lady:

When Erica Langley approached the female management of Seattle’s Lusty Lady she was told that to photograph the peep show dancers she would have to become one. Through photos and texts that are both candid and affectionate, humanizing and humorous, readers see behind the impenetrable armor of naked dancers, documented by one of their own. Complete with extensive interviews which allow the people to speak for themselves, Langley’s work juxtaposes stage personas with real people, showing the love, humor and boredom behind the scenes, and the humanity behind the stigma and shame.

lusty lady Erika will be signing copies of her collectable book…

There may be one or two other surprise artists and musicians at our event, for updates check our event page on Facebook, Made in Tokeland. (or just show up!)

Before closing this, I want to include some photos of a collaboration between Jeffro and myself. The piece is a cedar burl bowl with etched copper embellishments. It is pretty large, about 28 inches across. It will be part of the exhibit…

cedar copper bowl cedar copper bowl 4


I hope this has piqued your interest in our special part of the world. and the varied art of those who live here. It is our intent to offer a return to the handmade, authentic and one of a kind.

You are cordially invited to attend Made in Tokeland on December 14th-better yet, why not spend the weekend?
Wishing everyone a holiday season to treasure!


Good Morning October!



It’s been awhile since my last blog post..September has come and gone and with it, the summer season. When you live in a beach town there are definite signs of the season ending beyond the obvious (shorter days, cooler temps)  My neighbors for example- most are summer people, who spend the blissful season here in vintage cottages and deluxe RVs. For about a week or so in August a flurry of activity goes on: cleaning rain gutters, pressure washing porches, scrubbing moss off the roof with bleach, mowing lawns and killing gorse…. All this while I am lying on a beach towel in the back yard reading Yes I Can by Sammy Davis Jr.  I am soaking up sunshine for my internal solar battery. This is an essential part of winterizing for those who live here year round. We wait to clean out gutters, maybe the patio never gets pressure washed, but we are tanned!

We know IT (IT meaning the rainy season) is coming and we face it with a strange sense of surrender and relief. Yes there will be rain and more rain (more on that later) but there will also be peace, solitude, a beach with no footprints….the drama of storms (more on that later) the coziness of evenings spent feeding a fire….

For me, the days are especially great now that the kids have started back to school. Raleigh is a 7th grader, and Sophia is a freshman in high school this year. Both are running on the cross country team and both play in the school band. We spent a lot of time together over the summer and I treasure it. But I am also treasuring these long days alone at home, back in the studio, returning to projects that have been in my mind for too long. Keeping a balance is never easy, but right now there seems to be a good balance between surface level living (keeping food in the house, chopping firewood, picking up the kids from practice everyday) and below surface level~the deepest place of creative dreams and manifesting them.

We’ve already had a walloping three days of rain and wind blow through here. Nearby Astoria, Oregon reported ten inches of rain for September and 75 MPH wind gusts were clocked here over the weekend. Let the games begin!

What follows are some photos taken today in honor of October. It felt great to get out on the beach in between rain and hail showers…

046        025 salmon fishermen

023    020 new cuff I just finished

047     051

Fifteen minutes later a hail storm. Seen from inside my studio….light is from a fishing boat

053  after the squall…sunshine feels extra good!

Hope your fall season is a time of positive transition~I will keep you posted!

From the Salt Spray Forest

kalaloch campsite at Kalaloch

Yesterday the kids and I returned from a three day camping trip in the Olympic National Park. It is located on the Olympic peninsula, in Washington state. What follows are some journal entries and photos from our trip…


“a momentary silence, a breath between waves colliding with large rocks on the beach…Thunder of surf, a splash of foam and water races up the rocky sand..”

rocks4 rocks

“I am sitting on a large tan- colored rock formation at the water’s edge of Beach 3. The large boulders are pitted with small round holes made ages ago by piddock clams. Not exactly sure what time the high tide is today, I keep a watch on the shoreline to make sure my point of access is not blocked by by incoming tidal surge. It’s July, the sun is shinning, a wisp of a cloud hovers over Tatoosh Island. A perfect fan of salt spray hits the rock below me. The sand is shinning wet and grey in its wake. I study the surf break, curving, foaming in semi circular sweeps on the sand….”

saltspray forest

“Behind me, the Salt Spray Forest clings to the sides and tops of the cliffs. Evergreen trees, stunted by wind and salt air slant towards land. Bent and scarred, groomed by the imperious gardener that is Mother Nature. These are not the happy trees of a Bob Ross painting, but shaped and given beauty by the struggles of surviving in a harsh environment.”


Sophia and Raleigh in the rain forest

“Earlier in the day we drove to the Hoh rainforest. We hiked a short trail called The Hall of Mosses. On a rare sunny day in the rain forest, sunlight illuminated the vine maple leaves, shinning like green stars above our heads. Moss of all varieties clung to nurse logs and tree trunks, padded the forest ground and dangled from tree tops. We read that some moss can survive on nothing but air and light..that sounds like something out of a Tennessee Williams story-maybe another variation on the kindness of strangers?”


shelf fungus        hall of mosses

phone    slug

“Smile- or Mom says we are going on an eleven mile hike!”


Ruby Beach is one of the most scenic beaches in Washington state. We arrived there in early morning to explore the tide pools …

tidepool2  snails

hag stone anenome

Meanwhile, back at the campsite…

“Camping with a 12 year old and a 14 year old is great fun, sometimes frustrating, (like when they refuse to go on another hike!) and for the most part highly enjoyable. They left their ipods, Nintendo and manga without protest to come with their mother to the land of no cell service. A place where making JiffyPop corn over a camp stove, roasting hotdogs in an open fire, is how you entertain yourself.. Playing cards in the firelight and  inventing new culinary delights like S’mores made with Poptarts is a real thrill”….


(disclaimer-they do not eat like this at home!)

We visited four beaches between Lake Quinault and Ruby beach. They are known as Beach One, Two, Three and Four. Each beach, though only about two or three miles from the next, has it’s own special qualities. Each one is accessed by a trail winding down cliff side to the beach. At Beach One, there is a Spruce Burl Trail Loop that can only be described as magical…

burl1 goddessburl burl2 burl3

spruceinfodetail click on photo to read about the causes of burls

A few more photos from our favorite places…

kalakids metidepool

Sophia and Raleigh at Kalaloch,,,,,Me at the tide pools of Beach Four

kids2 kidsam

Raleigh: “In our quest for moonstones, leave no stone unturned!”




Late Afternoon at Beach Four…returning home with a fresh outlook and ideas for the bench. See you next time!