Keys of Inspiration

Earthworks - Giant artworks you may not notice

An Earthworks Tour of Seattleland

01 - KOI Pod | Giant artworks you may not notice

August 1st, 1981


We visit 3 locations around the Seattle Area.

Maya Lin, the architecture student that won a blind competition to design the Vietnam Memorial. She was 19 and her drawings were somewhat crude. Thankfully for all of us, the jury saw past the simple drawings and chose her amazing idea. I haven't visited the Vietnam Memorial, but I've been told and have read that is incredibly emotional. I can relate to that from her Martln Luther King Memorial in San Francisco. I was emotional almost immediately.

Ms. Lin also came to the University of Washington's art gallery called 'The Henry' in 2006. I was mesmerized by her passionate creativity and use of an interior space. Also, she cut up map books into 3D landscaping plans, she was the first to do that as far as I'm aware. Here is an article about it in The Seattle Times (I'm using the photos without permission but with credit).

"Serpent Mound"

It sort of slipped my mind that earthworks were great, until I went to a Pow Wow at The Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in Seattle, WA. If you haven't been to a Pow Wow, please do, they're worth the time. Note, please call their beautiful clothing regalia and not costumes. I accidentally said costume and they were very sweet about it, but I could tell it bothered her. I understand why, these Pow Wows are sacred and have meaning, they're not dressing up.

While there, I was looking up places on their site and where we were, there was a point on the map that mentioned a serpent mound. I can't remember the exact wording, but there was a sign at the entrance to the main gallery too. All indications that there is an earthwork there, are now gone.

It surrounds a pond, it's kind of hard to tell in my photos. Here is a link to my old post about it. It was just starting to blend at that time, but now it's really overgrown. It is a gorgeous concept and wraps around the pond. I hope they bring it back and if they need help, please hit me up, I'd be glad to volunteer. Here is the old PDF that I found from the waybackmachine (look on Page 13).

More movies here.

"Untitled Earthwork"

Let's go on our next stop on the earthwork tour. I got the earthwork bug which led me to wanting to see if there were more in the area. I came across the next one which was surprising. It's on the side of a hill with tremendous views. I couple of weeks ago, we went and checked to make sure  it's still there, since so much expansion and gentrification is going on that area. I can't find the old pics, but here are the new pics, it's from Robert Morris and from the 70's. Here is an article about it. And here is a history link.

I tried to take as many pics as I could so you could experience it. The biggest change is the valley has been built up since I last saw it, but the gorgeous views of the mountain and the stillness haven't changed.

"Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks Park"

Our 3rd trail marker is in Kent and has improved immensely in the last 5 years. It's called Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks Park by Herbert Bayer. This one I had heard about through a class and the teacher loved it. We ran over there pretty soon after we heard about it and were thrilled with art, not so much with the vibe. There were crackheads and drug deals going on everywhere. Now, there are families and people just enjoying the space with pets, could have been the timing? The space is undulating with pockets of interaction on different levels. Meaning, there are ramps, bridges, tunnels, stairs, a pond that connects to a creek, a water treatment area that you can climb on, a built-in theater and a concrete restroom that from above, you can view the whole park. While we were there a woman was laying out on one of the berms and a gentleman was playing his recorder. It's an interactive art piece.

Opening & Closing Music Credits:

"Fretless" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0