Pictured: A Sierra Juniper which has been in training as a bonsai since 1957. Photo courtesy of Pacific Bonsai Museum

Pictured: A Sierra Juniper which has been in training as a bonsai since 1957. Photo courtesy of Pacific Bonsai Museum

Federal Way’s Pacific Bonsai Museum collaborating with artists for Seattle Design Festival exhibition

“Shapeshifters: The Alchemy of Bonsai and Design” will be on display in Seattle Aug. 16-25.

Totokaelo, Pacific Bonsai Museum, and GRAY are launching a collaborative project during this year’s Seattle Design Festival.

Installed at Totokaelo’s Seattle store, they will present “Shapeshifters: The Alchemy of Bonsai and Design” will be presented and installed at Totokaelo’s Seattle store. The exhibition is curated by Aarin Packard, Curator of Washington’s Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way.

The “Shapeshifters” exhibition will be on view for the duration of the Seattle Design Festival (Aug. 16–25, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and is free and open to the public.

The exhibition invited four artists — John Hogan (Seattle), Diane Rudge (Vancouver, BC), Vince Skelly (Portland, Oregon), and Julian Watts (Alpine, Oregon) — to respond in their own medium to works from the Pacific Bonsai Museum’s permanent collection.

Hogan’s glass vessels are paired with a 150-year-old Sierra Juniper in training as a bonsai since 1957; Rudge’s hanging macramé is paired with a 60-year-old Formosan Juniper; Skelly’s wooden bench is paired with an abstract black nephrite jade viewing stone; and Watts’ large wooden sculpture is paired with a meandering, 40-year-old Sumac.

Each artist’s response creates a display that is also a dialogue — between the bonsai and object, and between the pairing and the viewer — asking the viewer to investigate each pairing’s visual interplay, similarities and dissimilarities, and (possibly) shared agendas, from which to draw their own conclusions and explore their own dialogue with nature.


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