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Sitka Center for Art and Ecology e-Newsletter

August 2009 - Vol 6, Issue 10


  • Notes from the Director
  • Invitation to Dinner at Sitka
  • SAI Sponsorship
  • Flowing Words
  • Photographing Temperate Rain Forest
  • Cedar Bark Weaving
  • Magic of Fall
  • Language of Landscape
  • Mushroom Madness

Notes from the Director

cascade headView from Cascade Head

The ocean was boisterous on the morning when Dawn and I set out to hike on Cascade Head. The fingers of sunlight extended gently through the trees and gradually illuminated the hillside where the path led through mossy forest and grassy meadow.

There is a point on that hike that always leaves me breathless. You cross a creek, turn a corner, walk a few yards through a tunnel of branches and then suddenly emerge into a grassy paradise with the ocean and the estuary spread out below. It's supremely tempting to stop at that point and just make that the destination for the day. But prior experience led us to push on for another quarter mile to the point where the cliff drops back down to the ocean and a single misstep would send one tumbling into the frothy surf some 300 feet below.

The vista from that spot on the trail is magnificent and on this morning the air was clear, crisp and inviting. We could see a seal playing in the surf at the base of the cliff, surfing the waves rolling into shore. Off to our left in the meadow that dips down to the estuary, the Elk were bedded down with only their heads visible in the grasses. They seemed to be gazing at the view, saying to themselves how good life really is when you have a meadow like this one on which to sit and consider the sound of the ocean. sitka image1

After 45 minutes of lofty conversation about Sitka's future, Dawn and I headed back down the trail, pausing briefly to consider an ecologically fascinating nurse log that was hosting two dozen eager Sitka Spruce saplings as well as a variety of mosses, ferns, mushrooms, grasses, and insects. Each seemed to be jockeying for position on that lovely decomposing log. It was such a rich metaphor to consider how this tree in its death continued to give life and I couldn't help but think about a gift we received this month from a long time friend who passed away in Februrary.

sitka image2 Mary Ellen Phillips had helped to set up the accounting structure that Sitka has used for the last 10 years in tracking donations, memberships, donor funds, and expenses. She was an accounting professor at OSU and she made sure Sitka was tracking its expenses correctly. The revelation of Mary Ellen's death came this month in the form of a phone call from her son Robert who was calling to let us know that she had left Sitka $10,000 in her will. It was heartening to know that Mary Ellen's connection to Sitka remained strong even in her later years when she was no longer able to visit. Looking at those eager saplings and thinking of Mary Ellen, I couldn't help but feel grateful to those who have given a part of their lives to make Sitka what it is today. And I hope that, like one of those exuberant little trees, we can grow up to be a Sitka that will make Mary Ellen proud. The waves continued to roar for the rest of the day.

Invitation to Dinner at Sitka

equinoxbbqHandsome chefs barbecuing Wild Alaskan Salmon.

Savor a Wild Alaskan Salmon dinner at Sitka with art-loving, fascinating people on a late summer evening. We are raffling off five pieces of art, a weekend stay at Sitka (you can't buy this anywhere else), and an eclectic mix of silent auction goodies for a perfectly delightful night.

Equinox Dinner and Raffle
Saturday, September 19, 2009
6 pm Appetizers and Refreshments
7 pm Freshly Prepared Dinner
8 pm Raffle Drawing and Silent Auction

We're limiting the guests to 50 with over half the tickets sold already. To purchase your dinner tickets and raffle tickets, please visit our website or call us at (541) 994-5485.

If last summer is any indication, this is bound to be a magical evening! It is the only time all year that we invite friends of Sitka to dinner at our place. Would you like to be our guest

SAI Sponsorship

SAI elsaThe Sitka Art Invitational planning is fully underway. We've selected the artists, set the venue, and now we are looking for partners to help us make it all happen. We invite businesses to sponsor the event, patrons to help cover the expenses, volunteers to staff it, and you to bring your friends and buy art!

This year we are pushing further on our theme of conversations with nature with artists that explore the natural world in their work. You can be a part of it all! Call us, email us, let us know what role you would like to play. ...more info 541-994-5485 info@sitkacenter.org

Flowing Words

rabkinWords seem to flow smoothly during writing workshops at Sitka. The combination of an incredibly inspiring natural environment and top-notch, encouraging instructors coax students to write their hearts out. Here are the last 4 writing workshops for the season.

Circling Home: Writing for Beloved Places
Sarah asks you to explore a spot on Earth that lays claim to your heart. How can you take readers there? What do you know of the place? How do you dream of the place? Allow this experience to take you deeper into a place you love.

Everyday Poetry
Make poetry a practice in your everyday life and translate simple, everyday moments into poems. Sarah will open the door to a myriad of possibilities.

Writing With The Tides
Write about the natural world. As you examine this sub-genre, you will write inside as well as outside in the crisp coastal salt air.
Visit Judy's website, for a sense of her style.

Writing the Understory
Kim is offering a 2nd "Writing the Understory" workshop this year. Dive into the understory of your life that, if given light, could grow.

Photographing Temperate Rain Forest

tepferHike through the temperate rain forest ecosystem of Cascade Head with camera in hand. Observe how the changing light reshapes objects and thus provides opportunities for compelling photographs.

Gary's work speaks for itself through dynamic images.


Cedar Bark Weaving

olsonCedarBark Weaving in the Tradition of North West Coast Native American Haida

We slipped a 2nd Cedar Bark Weaving workshop into our schedule this year! Nancy has an amazing array of work to show and has a passion for teaching this weaving method. Learn the entire process from gathering to completion.

Magic of Fall

thramsAutumn Flora Folio

Invite the magic of fall into your art by exploring the elusive creative space between care and wild abandon while using plant forms as a creative resource.
Through careful observation of live forest and garden specimens, study plants as a source of decorative motifs, patterns and color schemes, and as subjects for traditional and contemporary rendering techniques. This series of studies and experiments, all done in a common format, will assemble into a decorated folio full of autumn magic: your colorful document for future reference and inspiration.

Language of Landscape


Designing Powerful Landscapes

Dale is a long-time Sitka instructor focusing on landscape language. How do you use the language of landscape to interpret your environment? Develop photos and sketches of landscapes into paintings in the studio.
Let Dale's work wow you!


Mushroom Madness

weberCome hunt for mushrooms and learn detailed identification techniques. Nancy is an expert in this field and will teach you how to find specific mushrooms, identify them, and talk about them. If you love to eat mushrooms and have always wanted to unearth them in the wild, this is the workshop for you.




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Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, PO Box 65, Otis, OR 97368 PH: (541) 994–5485. FX: (541) 994-8024 Web: www.sitkacenter.org; Email: info@sitkacenter.org