As my regular furnace work has declined I have shifted to online sales and local markets for additional revenue. Piecing together ones income through street fairs and makers markets is a bit of a grind. Pack your car, drive in set up, charm the civilians, pray for sales, pack it up, go home. It’s sort of a carnival lifestyle. You get to know the regular vendors, swap stories make friends. It’s not bad hustle, but ultimately it is a bit of a grind.
Now after a full day of vending I am often depleted, so I often treat myself to a warm meal and delicious beverage for self care. On this particular Sunday I found myself at Top of Tacoma a local eatery on the crest of McKinley hill. As my eyes adjusted to the dim interior I realized it was full of many of my favorite people from Tacoma. After a stiff drink and some catching up we got around to current glass pieces I am working on. Introducing Dicer 253 the newest edition to my Tacoma Tumbler series. I enchanted my friends with product pictures on my phone, and it wasn’t long before we were out side making deals in front of the VFW. There I was in the street slangin’ glass out my trunk on a Sunday afternoon. I made half as much money on the corner as I did at the market! What a life! That’s Tacoma! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Last weekend Tacoma really stepped up the love. The amount of quality interactions and experiences confirmed to me that I was living in the right city in the right time line. It was one of those particular nights where everything lined up just right. A beautiful spring evening, vibrant bar scene and an art opening at Tacoma Art Museum were just a few of the elements I had to look forward to.
Now I’m local, living in the Hilltop neighborhood not far from downtown. So I marched my butt on down to Pacific Avenue to check out the art show. As Tacoma is a big small city it was inevitable that I would run into a number of it’s amazing citizens along the way. First to roll up on me was Kharen Nakauye AKA DJ Special K racing up the hill to Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center. I then happened upon artist Holly Senn shopping at a local design store. We stopped for a brief chat before I continued on my way down town. At the corner of 11th I turned at the site of the late Luzon Building built in 1890, demolished in 2009. As I rounded the now empty lot I was struck by how lovely and inviting this seemingly manicured empty lot appeared. A series of bonsai like shrubs graced the landscape and were accompanied by unique sculpted openings at the base of each. It reminded me hobbit shire from J.R.R. Tolkins Lord of the Rings. The whole place had an intimate calm about it similar to that of a zen garden. To complete the magic of this forgotten space I was pleased to meet the guardians of this forgotten realm. Cute furry mammals playing and chasing one an other, going on about their daily routine.
After tearing myself away from the Zen Rodent Shire I navigated onward to Tacoma Art Museum. The main entrance was closed so I gained access through the rear of the building. Upon exiting the elevator I found myself in a crowded hallway behind the glass cases on the main floor. That’s when it hit me. Although I was invited by a donor this was a members only RSVP event… Time to blend in and act natural.
GATHER: 27 years of Hiltop Artists at Tacoma Art Museum is a showing of both current and alumni artists from the unique Hilltop Artists Glass program. Dale Chihuly, a Tacoma native started this program 27 years ago as a way to bring the glass craft the the under served population of Tacoma. As I have worked intimately in the Tacoma art scene for over 20 years, I am quite familiar with many of these artists and their works. This event truly captured the energy and importance of the Hilltop Artists program. What I didn’t expect from this exhibition was the generational factor. Glass artist Trenton Quiocho who is also the current shop manager at the Hilltop Artists Program curated GATHER. This was his first experience putting together a show of this size. His choices and selections addressed the community and reflected the art current art scene in Tacoma. However it really hit home for me during the address by our mayor Victoria Woodards thanking those who worked to bring this event together. She addressed the tired trope, “the youth are the future” as incorrect. The youth are our present and we need them as leaders and to follow the insight they provide .
I left this event riding high and happy with my choices. Many of the young artists that were on display that evening will be part of a show at Fulcrum Gallery in May. This exhibition is titled Riff Raff and is part of the Glass Art Society international conference in Tacoma Washington. It is a show that I have personally curated to feature many of my favorite artists in the area. Artists outside of the usual cannon of glass. The true backbone of the glass community. -Oliver Doriss
Celebrate this Labor Day weekend Tacoma style! Saturday September 4th The Summer Blast hosted by Metro Parks is the PNW outdoor celebration you deserve! It all goes down at the new Dune Peninsula Park at the terminus of Ruston Way. There will be live music from 2:30-8:45 pm on the Cambia Legacy Lawn opening up with DJ ZETA followed by awesome cover bands through the afternoon. At dusk fireworks will be launched from a barge anchored in the sound. The show will be visible all along Ruston way. I will be participating in the vendor village along with tons of great artists from 12-8 pm hosted by Night Market with my unique brand of glass ware. gifts, oddities and collectables for your consumption. I plan on having a fresh run of my popular Skull Tumblers and a selection of these delicate Hexagonal aperitif cups I’ve just started making. And the really wild thing about this is the event is totally Free!
I have been invited to be part of the pride celebration this year put on by The Mix . This Saturday July 10th. Located at the corner of 7th and Saint Helens Ave there will be a Makers Market from 12 – 7 in addition to the wild festivities throughout the day. The Market features local crafts-persons and artists in addition to performers and DJ’s durring the Block Party.
Happy Pride! I took this opportunity to create some new Items for your enjoyment! I put my personal spin on a favorite local product known as the “Float” or Sea Ball. I have modified my signature silver cutting process used in my Decal Cups to create custom crests for these decorative floats. And because of pride I produced some in a rainbow hue, kind of a Pride ball if you will, complete with the prerequisite unicorn. Available this weekend or at my studio on Hilltop located in the back of Fulcrum Gallery.
This Sunday we’re doing it again, Never Heard’s 2nd multi location shopping shuffle! Come out and quarantine with the rest of your long forgotten friends! The weather will be just fine! After your delicious brunch stroll the ave shopping for gifts and fashions like only Tacoma can serve up!
Now I love the energy on 6th ave I always have a good time. I will be at Jazzbones from 12 – 7 pm with my eclectic brand of unique glassware. Baby Head Cups, Diamond Facet Wine Bulbs, the exquisite GlassEarth I’ll be presenting a new batch of Tacoma Tumblers along with some Venetian inspired aperitif cups. Always something new, come by and see!
The Flea is celebrating one year as your local plug for Tacoma art and style. To celebrate this milestone they are taking over the block with a multi location art fair of local artists and vendors. In addition to the humble store front on 6th Ave artists will be featured in Jazz Bones and Alley Cat and Scorpio Rising paired with your favorite local DJ’s to keep the vibe going into the night. I’ll be at Jazz Bones with my usual selection of oddities and arts along with some new products Ill be testing out on an unsuspecting audience. I’ve got a Baby Head tribute cup to the late MF DOOM for those that know also a new line of Decal Cups with familiar slogans of Tacoma. Mask up and come on out!
We are still coming together this year, just not as close. I love Tacoma for it’s fierce brand of local pride and civic unity. It is something I feel that is something communities strive for yet is not often realized. As Tacomans this bond manifests in our fashion, our events and our local shopping habits. This is why you are invited to this weekends festivities.
Join me and my friends this Saturday 12pm @ The Flea.
The Flea is a Tacoma gem, a diamond in the rough and a needle in a haystack all at the same time. Tucked in between The Alley Cat Lounge and Emerald leaves Dispensary on 6th Ave. This may be the smallest retail venue art gallery in the city by far. The inside has the square footage of a Volkswagen bus, just big enough for a dedicated patron, and the limited capacity is perfect for today’s social distancing requirements.
What truly makes this venue so unique is its accessibility for both for the artist and the citizens of Tacoma. It’s an eternal “Pop Up” of talent constantly showcasing local artists on a day to day basis, you never know what you might find. Whether presenting paintings, prints, sculpture or Tacoma fashions the steady rotation of artists and designers embody the spirit and identity of our city.
Now Hilltop has it all! Light rail, Internet and now “Sunrise Yoga” this Sunday. Start your day off right as we go through some unique socially distanced poses at the mult- iuse community hole located at the alley entrance of 11th & J St.