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A River for All

In partnership with the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, we are calling for a cleanup  of our river that protects the health of all of our communities. Please join us in calling for a comprehensive cleanup that will protect our health and ensure that the Duwamish is A River For All!

The Duwamish is Seattle’s hometown river.

Named for the Native Americans who welcomed settlers to its banks, the river was later straightened and dredged to make way for shipping and industry. 98% of the river’s habitat was destroyed, and the century that followed left a legacy of toxic pollution that continues to poison its fish, wildlife, and exposed communities – including local residents; tribes; and fishing families – today.

In 2001, the Duwamish River was labeled a federal Superfund Site – one of the most toxic sites in the nation. Today, we have an opportunity to clean it up. But it won’t happen without your help. The EPA has proposed a “cleanup” plan that would leave 80% of the contaminated mud behind, posing ongoing risks to the environment and people’s health.

Take action today to help us gain the support of our city, our county, and the EPA for a true cleanup that protects our health.

Help Preston, Macklemore, residents, fishermen, tribal members, workers, and recreational users of Seattle’s Duwamish River to secure a #riverforall!

The Northwest is known for it’s natural beauty and many ways of enjoying the outdoors. I have lived here my whole life and remember the river as an industrial waste dump. The Duwamish River is an important and sacred area for the Duwamish people – I’m glad there is finally interest in cleaning it up. This cleanup is important to show that humans can correct the damage they have done to our natural environment.

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New Works for Indian Market at Blue Rain Gallery

New works will be shown during Santa Fe's 93rd Annual SWAIA Indian Market!

Mosquito Rising From the Flames, 2014

Opening next week at Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe, Preston will have 15 new works in a new exhibition in celebration of the 93rd annual SWAIA Indian Market.  He'll be attending the opening on Tuesday, August 19.

Here's a selection of the pieces that will be available from Preston at Blue Rain Gallery:

 

Hawk Beak, 2014

Chilkat Woman, 2014

 

Ghost Basket, 2014

Stopping the World, 2014

Ancestral Chief, 2014

Bear Man, 2014

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At work in the hot shop!

Hard at work on some new Oystercatcher Rattles.

After a busy Autumn season, it's great to get back to work in the hot shop.  A couple of weeks ago, Russell Johnson (one of our favorite photographers) stopped by on a blowing day to capture some of the excitement.  Here, Preston and his team are working on some new Oystercatcher Rattles.

All photos are by Russell Johnson.

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Preston Wins Mayor’s Art Award

Preston Singletary is one of the 2013 Seattle Mayor's Art Award winners!

Preston giving his acceptance speech at Seattle Center.

It is with great pride that we announce Preston Singletary as one of the 2013 Seattle Mayor's Art Award winners!

As an award winner, Preston was profiled by Sam Machkovech in CityArts Magazine:

“I just put some shows up in San Francis—no, Santa Fe, sorry,” says artist Preston Singletary, as he walks me up the stairs of his glassblowing studio in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood. The 50-year-old Seattle native, and direct descendant of the Alaskan Tlingit tribe, apologizes for the scant selection of art he has on display today, just one week before he's set to receive a Seattle Mayor's Arts Award.

Many of his latest works, typically giant glass sculptures with Tlingit formline patterns sandblasted on their surfaces, have been shipped to galleries and private buyers across the country. This year's unseasonably warm summer is also to blame. “I'm shut down now,” he admits. “I'll get back to work when it's nicer to be around the fires.”

He points to a plaster cast of a totem pole that stretches over seven feet in the air. The final version of this totem pole, his first made entirely of glass, weighs over 2,000 pounds, so it's not convenient to keep at the studio. (That finished product didn't go to San Francisco or Santa Fe, by the way; those 2,000 pounds currently reside at a private home in Chicago.) He explains that the patterns along its surface tell a story, from the grizzly bear face that represents the cub his great-grandmother kept as a childhood pet to the killer whale that comes from his family crest.

The son of a Boeing engineer and an artistic mother, Singletary had his heart set on music, but his punk-rock leanings sputtered in the early '80s. His change of heart came while working the night shift at the glassblowing studio that eventually became Benjamin Moore, Inc. Soon after, he began studying at the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, WA, working directly for school co-founder Dale Chihuly.

Singletary's artistic career began with simple, industrial glass designs, but the punk rocker quickly took an opportunity to rediscover his cultural roots—admittedly, sometimes through textbooks.

"Once I started to conjoin [glassblowing art] with my cultural background, I found a niche for myself," Singletary says. He points to his latest pre-production designs hiding in his studio's smallest room, all of which lean toward abstract modernism; he calls out inspirations such as Noguchi and Calder. When complete, the animal-inspired shapes will come to life with sandblasted formline patterns along their smooth curves. That oblong piece of glass is an exaggerated bear claw, another takes the form of a whale; a teardrop is going to be a geoduck, complete with bulges for shell and neck that will explode with color when the sandblasted edges are exposed to light.

Thirty years into a career that has frequently combined traditional iconography with beautiful abstraction, Singletary still feels strongly about his role as an artist and a storyteller, and the cultural struggles he's faced along the way. "Staunch, conservative Tlingit people say, 'This doesn't belong to Western world,'" he says, also noting that the Western world has, conversely, taken too long to recognize tribal art as a worthwhile part of the modern art movement. "But I feel like I'm sharing our wealth of art style and sculpture through what I do. It gives a different dimension to the art and culture."

 

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn shaking hands with Preston after his acceptance speech. 

 

His contributions to dozens of galleries and public spaces—and board memberships at Seattle Art Museum, Pilchuck Glass School and Bainbridge's Islandwood Environmental School—are a testament to Singletary's ability to bridge that artistic gap, and this Mayor’s Arts Award reinforces what he’s accomplished in his home base of Seattle. "It's an honor to have that recognition," he says. "There was a time when I didn't know how [such an award] would quantify into something, but I guess I'm a spokesman for my own culture now. Lively public art support in the Seattle area gets the [Tlingit] message out to people and gives people a different perspective on things."

Looking back at his lengthy career, Singletary hopes his biggest legacy is to inspire other indigenous artists to follow suit. "Glass is a transformational medium, going from a liquid to a solid," he says. "The culture that I'm connected to is transforming itself. As we reiterate who we are, and what we do, we're declaring, this is now what we do. Working in new materials. Evolving as a new culture, and we should be allowed to."

- See more at: http://cityartsonline.com/articles/mayors-arts-award-preston-singletary#sthash.oJlKDcwp.dpuf

The award ceremony took place at the Seattle Center North Fountain Lawn on Friday, August 30 at 4:00 pm.  The event was open to the public, and is a part of the kickoff event for the 43rd annual Bumbershoot Festival.

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The Start of a Busy Summer Schedule!

A rundown of our busy summer season!

Summer 2013 will be a very busy one for all of us at Preston Singletary Inc.!  

When Bears Could Talk, 2013 (Blue Rain Gallery)

We kicked off the summer with some new works at Blue Rain Gallery in their Group Glass Show, alongside Dante Marioni, Rik Allen, Shelley Muzylowski Allen, Nancy Callan, Sean O’Neill, Armelle Bouchet O’Neill, Benjamin Moore, Cassandria Blackmore, Sibylle Peretti, Jeremy Lepisto, and Elodie Holmes.  

Midway through June, Schantz Galleries unveiled some of Preston's new works for their summer season, and will release a catalog later in the summer.

Under the Still Water, 2013 (Schantz Galleries)

In July, Preston will travel to Chicago to install the first of three monumental Family Story Totems.  The totem will travel from the Czech Republic with members of the crew that cast it to install it in a very unique place - on the 62nd floor of a high-rise overlooking Lake Michigan!  The installation promises to be interesting, and there will be a film-crew recording it and the beginning stages of a new totem for a documentary about Preston that starts production this summer.

Thunderbird and Killer Whale, 2013 (Schantz Galleries)

Gray Goose, 2013 (Blue Rain Gallery)

August will be a VERY busy month:

  • Preston will have a solo exhibition at Blue Rain Gallery opening August 1 that will feature all new works.  
  • The following weekend, on August 9, Preston turns 50!  
  • The next weekend, SWAIA Indian Market in Santa Fe will kick off and Preston will add a few more pieces to his show at Blue Rain.  
  • He'll fly back to perform with Little Big Band at the Sky Church at EMP as a part of the Seattle Center Festál Indigenous Cultures Day on August 18.
  • August 23, Preston will celebrate his birthday with a private concert by one of his musical heroes, Bernie Worrell.
  • August 24, Little Big Band will open for the Bernie Worrell Orchestra at a public show at Columbia City's The Royal Room (tickets are still available!)

And that brings us to Labor Day Weekend, when we'll be celebrating a successful summer season, rest a little, and get ready for 3 more shows in the fall!

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