Denny Croston, backyard artisan, creates scrap-metal wonders

June 5, 2012

The artist collects railroad memorabilia and much of it is on display behind his house, including a restored 1921 Northern Pacific Railway caboose, traffic signs, light posts and a host of smaller items inside the railroad car itself. Photo by Ilona Idlis

Stepping inside Denny Croston’s world is as easy as walking onto his driveway.

The Issaquah artist’s home embodies all of the whimsy of his repurposed scrap metal sculptures. A visitor is immediately greeted by Poncho — a rusty gentleman with wrench arms and a “cute butt” — as well as army-helmet turtles and a horseshoe cactus before making it to the front porch. But the true wonderland is tucked behind the house.

Croston’s backyard is an eclectic medley of curiosities and creations. A huge red railroad car sits on the left, flanked by antique light posts and traffic signs. It took Croston two years to restore the 1921 Northern Pacific Railway caboose to its former glory and it’s the crown jewel of his railroad memorabilia collection.

Behind it, a shed teems with scrap-metal findings from junk yards and estate sales from all over Washington. A tree “yarn bombed” by local artist and friend Suzanne Tidwell casts shadows over the neatly trimmed hedges and fishpond on the right, while flowers made out of tractor parts peek through the greenery. Heaps of junk, rusting in the sunshine, punctuate the well-tended lawn.

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Community can meet artEAST artists June 15

June 5, 2012

ArtEAST invites the community to meet its artists from 6-8 p.m. June 15 at the artEAST Art Center, 95 Front St. N.

ArtEAST has just added a new group of member artists and their art works to its retail gallery. This public reception offers a chance for the community to meet them and see their work. These artists work in a variety of media and will be available to discuss their techniques. The evening will feature a demo of sumi painting technique by Karen Dedrickson. There will also be free, light refreshments.

ArtWalk returns June 1 to downtown Issaquah

May 29, 2012

Head outside for the next ArtWalk on June 1.

The spring and summertime ArtWalk transforms local businesses into art galleries for the evening and enhances the vibrant arts scene in downtown Issaquah.

Participants can enjoy art, music and community spirit in downtown Issaquah. Watch artists in action at the artEAST Artist Alley. Share personal poems at the Poetry Machine. Listen to live music by Preheat, Ogre, Train Wreck and The Greg Glassman Trio.

Organizers expect more than 30 artists to present works on Front Street, at the Issaquah Train Depot, 50 Rainier Blvd. N., and at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center, 75 N.E. Creek Way.

Participants can find event maps in front of the Issaquah Library, 10 W. Sunset Way, or at the Hailstone Feed Store, 232 Front St. N. Learn more about ArtWalk and the Downtown Issaquah Association, which organizes ArtWalk, at www.downtownissaquah.com. 

Heron is a ‘beautiful metaphor’ for artEAST creations

May 22, 2012

Pandy McVay's finished heron sculpture, ready for outdoor display. By Pandy McVay

The name “Issaquah” reportedly comes from a Native American term meaning “the sound of the birds.” So it’s appropriate that a local bird — the great blue heron — is the inspiration for a current art exhibition.

Artists of the nonprofit art center artEAST are hoping to spread the value of art and of Issaquah’s special nature with its new heron exhibit, “The Rookery Project.”

A rookery is a breeding ground for birds, and Issaquah’s local artists have focused on the heron for the inaugural exhibit. Those creating pieces for the project are given the same basic armature, or metal framework, upon which to build their herons.

While there are currently 11 completed herons, the center aims for a total of 30 artists and works by November. Pandy McVay, a fused-glass artist with the artEAST program for six years, was intrigued by the idea of the heron as an inspiration.

“I didn’t realize the rookery aspect of herons,” McVay said. “You always see them standing individually on the lake, and it was (not only their beauty, but) their sense of community that interested me as well.”

McVay named her heron Fanni, which comes from the great blue heron’s scientific name, ardea herodias fannini.

“There are five subspecies of the great blue heron, and the subspecies fannini is a regional bird, particular to the Pacific Northwest,” she explained.

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ArtEAST assembles 150 Feet of Art for auction

April 24, 2012

Among the 12-by-12 originals in artEAST’s 150 Feet of Art are Mary Masterson’s the watercolor ‘The Bird of Paradise,’ by Katalin Fazekas. Contributed

Issaquah’s nonprofit art gallery, artEAST, presents its sixth annual 150 Feet of Art Auction and Fundraiser, launching April 27 and culminating May 12.

As in the past, artEAST literally has 150 feet of art for sale starting April 27, said Karen Abel, artEAST executive director. The kick-off event is free and open to the public.

The gallery has put together 150 12-by-12 artworks, none costing more than $350, even if actually valued at more than that amount.

“There are some great bargains to be had,” Susan Walker, event chairwoman, said.

But there is one big difference between this show and previous auctions. For the first time, the show has a lead juror in Seattle artist Stephanie Hargrave.

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ArtEAST invites heron art to roost

April 10, 2012

ArtEAST presents the Rookery Project April 16-23 at the artEAST Art Center, 95 Front St. N.

About 30 local artists pay tribute to the Lake Sammamish heron in the 2012 Rookery Project, with each beginning with the same metal framework.

The resulting colorful and creative flock of birds will roost at selected public locations around Issaquah and the Eastside throughout summer. Learn more at www.arteast.org.

Toast Downtown Issaquah Wine Walk as series ends for season

April 3, 2012

Visitors on Front Street who enjoyed wine tastings, snacks and live music in February during the Downtown Issaquah Association’s Wine Walk have one more chance on April 6. By Greg Farrar

Oenophiles can sip and stroll through town as the Downtown Issaquah Wine Walk series concludes for the season April 6.

Organized by the DownTown Issaquah Association, merchants host musicians, and offer sips from Washington vintners and hors d’oeuvres, during the monthly event. The inaugural Downtown Issaquah Wine Walk occurred in February.

“We got a lot of people down here that had either never been to downtown Issaquah or hadn’t been down here in a long time,” association Executive Director Karen Donovan said. “I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from people saying how much they enjoyed it. They enjoyed the music and the appetizers and the wine, of course.”

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College News

March 27, 2012

Student earns master’s degree from Saybrook University

Pam Heeke, of Issaquah, received her Master of Arts degree in organizational systems: leadership and organization development on Jan. 22 from LIOS Graduate College of Saybrook University.

Heeke owns Philomena, a coaching and consulting company based in Renton.

Heeke will teach at the artEAST Summer Workshops at the Hailstone Feed Store. Her classes include a Modern Day Muses one-day introductory workshop July 15 and Introduction to SoulCollage on Aug. 13.

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Marianwood and artEAST exhibit showcases groups’ talents

February 21, 2012

Providence Marianwood and artEAST are teaming up for another art show.

By Catherine Kail-Tucker

The shows are a good way for both local institutions to promote themselves, said Liz Ashley, an artist and member of artEAST, Issaquah’s community arts center, as well as a board member at Issaquah’s Providence Marianwood skilled nursing home.

Joint ventures of Marianwood and artEAST, art showings were launched at the nonprofit nursing facility about two years ago, Ashley said. The latest runs through the end of March and features three disparate area artists.

“They are all different, but I think they compliment each other very well,” said Ashley, who curates the shows for Marianwood.

The featured artists are Michelle Sidnie Ryan, Margaret “Joyce” Van Duine and Catherine Kail-Tucker. The trio hosted an artists’ reception at Marianwood on Feb. 18.

Ryan is a self-taught Northwest artist inspired by nearly everything she sees in everyday life, according to information provided by Marianwood. Kail-Tucker works with old-style etching techniques, according to Ashley, while Van Duine paints on glass.

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Delayed artEAST exhibit puts images to ‘Love Songs’

January 24, 2012

Virtually every month for six years, Issaquah’s artEAST Center has put together a different themed exhibit with entries from members and invited artists.

Just in time for St. Valentine’s Day, the coming monthly exhibit is “Love Songs!” with works from 17 artists reflecting the lyrics and moods of various classics love ballads, said Sally Penley, a calligrapher and painter who makes her home in Olympia.

Penley also is a member of artEAST and the curator for “Love Songs!” She noted that, importantly in her mind, “Love Songs!” is a juried show, which generally means works were reviewed before being accepted into the show.

For the coming exhibit, Penley and others created a “playlist” from which artists could draw their inspiration.

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