Folks with long memories will remember Cathy Conner's bakery in the Pike Place Market called Au Gavroche, un gavroche being a Parisian street urchin. When the urchin grew up, when times changed, Conner changed careers. She moved to Paris, she studied in Florence, and she became an accomplished painter. Not a "fine art" painter like Rembrandt (well, that, too) but a decorative painter, a creative discipline that requires more hard-nosed discipline than wild & woolly unstable creativity.
The decorative arts are the province of artisans with a solid background in paints and materials, in the history of design as much as the history of art. Technique, patience, an eye for color. And starting next week, Seattle will be the focus of international attention as the Salon of Decorative Arts, an international event founded in Belgium 19 years ago, will be held this year at Union Station. It's the first time the Salon has been held on the west coast of the USA. Previous salons have been held in Japan, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, England.
The 19th annual Salon will bring several dozen leading practitioners --artists and master craftsmen--from around the globe to Seattle for four days of free, open-to-the-public exhibits and demonstrations. The Salon's theme is "Seattle and the New West: Classic and Contemporary Industrial Elegance."
Live painting demonstrations, lectures and videos will introduce the ancient art of "trompe l'oeil" murals and decorative techniques like woodgraining, marbling, and other ornamentation, And before they leave town, many of the visiting craftsmen will participate in the creation of a painted mural that will be donated to the City of Seattle.
Conner is the impetus and host behind the Seattle event. King County exec Dow Constantine is welcoming the delegates. The events at Union Station are open to the public. Worth going to see.