I’m currently in Seattle, visiting with dear friends for a few days. The slower, kinder change of pace is a welcome respite from the go-Go-GO of my usual routine in southern California. And the weather is even playing nice. It’s all good.
Yesterday, Karen and I went on a tour of Theo Chocolate in the Fremont area of Seattle. These people take their chocolate making seriously, and have put together an accessible and informative hour of education, liberally punctuated with tasting moments. They make some lovely hand-crafted chocolates that don’t quite make it to my neighborhood, so we purchased extra treats to savor after this week’s dinners as a compliment to the great conversations we get into in the evenings.
After the chocolate tour (and to justify the fabulous desserts we had for lunch at The Whale Wins), Karen and I decided to wander about in Fremont for a bit, in the hopes that some exercise would perhaps balance out the gastronomic debauchery of the day. Ha! Fat chance! I doubt we achieved anything close to balance, but our meanderings took us under Fremont’s bridge to visit the Fremont Troll.
What a fun piece of sculpture! While neither high art nor rendered with any great finesse, this guy has delightful character and was created with obvious care and humor. Karen told me he’s usually mobbed, and that getting a clear picture of him is rare. People leave their marks behind, most recently with a box of chalk. I thought his lipstick was downright funny, and it was sweet to see his big, thug knuckles tattooed with “L O V E.”
I love public art, especially the kind that encourages some involvement or interaction from its viewers. I do like a lot of challenging or academic art, but I also like art that has a sense of humor about itself. The cultural touchstone of the idea that trolls live under bridges has been part of story-time lore for generations. To see it manifested in concrete and rebar is not only fun, but a smart use of space that seems to otherwise be a perfect breeding ground for urban blight and shady happenings.
Not all art has to be A Serious Matter. Same goes for quilts. They can be high art or provocateurs of social debate. Or sometimes they are just a bundle of fun with no intent outside of making beauty and inspiring love. It’s all good.