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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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Posts from — June 2010

10 Lessons Learned at the Recycled Arts Festival

Rebar. Plastic bags. Gasoline cans. Art? This weekend, there were dozens of artists at the Recycled Arts Festival in Vancouver who have transformed the rusted, the plastic and the bound-for-the-landfill into collector’s items. Esther Short Park was lined with more than 80 vendors displaying remarkable reuse talents. Thank you Clark County Environmental Services for a great event! A few lessons stood out:

1. I don’t have to feel guilty about those (now rusty) garden tools I left in the rain.

Rusty tools can create great yard art

More information available at Howling Heights Metal Designs

2. Plastic bags can become a thing of beauty.

If you can crochet, you can create beautiful bags and rugs from plastic bags

Lots of products available through Molly J Walter

3. Those splintery chopsticks from my favorite Chinese restaurant can have a new life.

Who knew that chopsticks were so versatile?

There are lots of choices to purchase at Kwytza Chopstick Art .

4. The bowling balls I have been collecting are just begging to be beautified.

Way more interesting than Victorian gazing garden balls

Visit Ta-Dah Handmade about artwork and classes.

5. My collection of out-of-style sweaters could become in-style, felted hats.

These sweaters look great as hats!

Visit Sweater Heads for a great selection.

6. You can teach an old, red gasoline can new tricks as a dog.

Low maintenance pet - perfect for empty nesters

More information available at Howling Heights Metal Designs

7. A cigar box wants to make music.

These cigar box instruments can even be amplified

Alan Matta at Hammered Frets has the details on his instruments at

8. Wine bottles recycled into jewelry can be way more interesting than gemstones.

Beautiful glass beads made from wine and beer bottles

Learn about hand-torched, glass bead jewelry at Late Night Lampworks

9. Vases, light fixtures and other glassware can become stunning, luminescent statues for the garden.

These glass art pieces will never stop blooming in your garden

For details about these sculptures, email or visit their Facebook page Tiffany on a Stick.

10. Every nut and bolt deserves another chance.

Nuts and bolts start new lives

More work available at Fairy Forge.

Got stuff? Avoid the landfill. Get out there and start re-creating!

June 27, 2010   3 Comments

The 10 Minute Conversation: Deena Pierott

Deena Pierott is the Founder and CEO of Mosaic Blueprint, which she started in 2007 to help companies find great talent worldwide. She is the Founder of Urban Entrepreneurs Network, which focuses on women and minority businesses in SW Washington. A true whirlwind, she is also the Founder of International Black Women’s Collaborative, an online platform with more than 1,000 women from all over the globe. Deena is a governor-appointed Commissioner on the Washington State Commission of African-American Affairs and a Board member of Community Choices in Vancouver.

We spoke in the new Fireside Café at 63rd and Andresen in Vancouver.

Deena Pierott

Deena, what brought you to SW Washington?

When my husband and I were married, we were in LA and we wanted a place that was slower paced for our son. I remembered how nice this area was when my parents had bought a home right outside of Salem so my husband came up and stayed for two weeks and loved it and said “I think we should move.” We first moved to Lake Oswego and lived there for about five years and then came over to Vancouver. I was drawn to SW Washington. Even though it’s just a river away from Portland, it’s really different. There is more of a sense of community here.

What is the best kept secret about SW Washington?

Besides being such as wonderful and encouraging community – the scenery here. There is a scenic drive near La Center where they have a winery and parks. There is one old barn with a creek that seems like it is out of a Norman Rockwell painting. And it is only a couple of hours to Seattle, you can go to Portland for entertainment, you can go to the mountains, you can go to the beach. It’s a wonderful location.

What is your favorite place to relax or play in SW Washington?

If I have the time, I like to just grab a lawn chair and go out to Klineline Park and just read.

If you didn’t live here, where would you live?

New York City.

What is coming up that you are excited about?

I’m working on a possible diversity event to be held in New York City – Women in Leadership: The Hidden Communication Barriers.

What would surprise people to know about you?

I think people see me as an overachiever a lot and someone who is leading several causes, companies, etc. I think they would be surprised at my compassion and empathy. I do have a very soft side. I don’t think people understand how community driven or collaborative I am even behind the scenes. I will try to bring everyone in on something so that everyone can share a piece of the pie. It reminds me of a quote: “Integrity — When you do the right thing even though no one is watching.”

June 24, 2010   1 Comment

What Originated in China and is Appreciated BIG time in Vancouver?


Last year, the Fourth of July program at Fort Vancouver was cancelled due to lack of funds. This year, Vancouver’s celebration is back and event-packed, aided by the sponsorship of Bank of America, numerous other supporters and, just announced today, a $10,000 Bring Back the 4th prize (one of only 10 awarded in the US) from Liberty Mutual.

While Independence Day at Fort Vancouver culminates with the booming fireworks show at 10:05 pm, the day is filled with diverse entertainment on four stages (including rock music, heritage fashion, fiddlers, hula dancing, military arms, a press conference with Abraham Lincoln [should be interesting!], puppets and Sing 4th contest) walking tours, food, arts and crafts, a parade and games. Gates open at 8 a.m. The entertainment starts at noon.

Staff members at the Fort Vancouver National Site are working round the clock to ensure that this is a memorable day. But they can use your help. You can get involved with this big day by volunteering. Details are on the Fort Vancouver Web site.

THIS is the year to head back to the Fort for the Fourth. There is a reasonable admission charge for anyone 13 years and older ($7 at the gate, $5 online here and a dinner buffet ($50 per person) in the prime fireworks viewing area at Pearson Field, where the fireworks will be launched this year. (They will not be launched from a river barge so you will want to be on the Fort grounds to view them.) C-Tran Shuttle tickets are available here.

Bring the kids. Bring a blanket. Practice your “ooooo’s” and “ahhhhh’s.” Vancouver’s Fourth of July celebration is back in town.

June 17, 2010   2 Comments

Pacific County: An Abundance of Museums and Historical Sites

With no fewer than 10 museums and interpretive centers, the rich history of Pacific County is on display. Three museums of the Raymond-South Bend area are detailed in ZEST in Cranberry Coast Part I. On the other side of Willapa Bay, even more sites deserve more than just a casual visit.

Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in downtown Ilwaco is a true community effort. What do you do with a massive telephone utility building? After the Ilwaco utility gave the building to the City, the Ilwaco Heritage Museum was created. The space was renovated in 1991 and renamed the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum three years ago.

Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum

In 2008, Betsy Dillard, who had moved to the area from Missouri, came out of a five-year retirement to become Executive Director. Previously, director of the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, she brought years of experience to her job. “Museums are my kind of touchstone,” she says.

Big institutions ask, what makes a museum relevant? she says. “It didn’t have to be done here,” she says. “It is relevant because it started from a community base.” The building is used constantly by community groups including “the hookers” (rug makers), quilters, an art group, the American Legion and a bridge club which has been playing at the museum for 25 years. An exhibit of vintage bridge tablecloths chosen from a local private collection of 169 cloths will by on display until mid-July. The 20,000 square foot museum includes special space for rotating exhibits. Upcoming exhibits will include World War I posters and quilts.

The permanent collection, which numbers 15,000+ objects, includes a village by the sea, the 1880s Nahcotta train Pullman Palace car from the Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company (“The Railroad that Ran by the Tide”), a 26-foot lifesaving surfboat and an Exploration Gallery focusing on the 18 days spent by the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery in present-day Pacific County. The mezzanine houses a research library and model Shumway Railway. Admission fee. Free on Thursdays. There are lots of details at the museum Web site.

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is located high above the mouth of the Columbia and Cape Disappointment State Park. William Clark’s journal sums it up: “Ocian in View.”

Looking Out to Sea from the Interpretive Center

The views from the center are spectacular. Friendly interpretive staff like Aaron Webster are well-versed in the history of the area and the exhibits. A few items were part of the actual expedition including a whiskey flask, hatchet head and wooden box carved by Sacajawea.

Interpreting the Corps of Discovery

The award-winning film “Of Dreams and Discovery” is on view along with permanent and rotating exhibits. Two historic lighthouses—Cape Disappointment and North Head— can be explored. An added feature – the Discovery Trail, 15 miles of biking and walking paths from Ilwaco to Long Beach. Below the Interpretive Center, the waves crash at Waikiki Beach and the Confluence Project site at Cape Disappointment features Maya Lin’s basalt fish cleaning station. The Center is open daily. Admission fee. Details here.

Below the Interpretive Center and Lighthouse

More museums coming up including Fort Columbia State Park, World Kite Museum, the Cranberry Museum, Knappton Cove Heritage Center and Appelo Archives Center.

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June 8, 2010   1 Comment