Hear the wind blow

Hear the wind blow

To find a windy day in South San Francisco might not be too tough. The real obstacle, if you want to see the Wind Harp, is finding parking. Surrounded by Genentech buildings during the weekdays this area is busy. For Wind Harp visitors Sunday might be the day to go.

Wind Harp, South San FranciscoErected in 1967 by Lucia and Aristides Demetrios the 92 foot metal sculpture stands on top of a hill. If it weren’t for the office buildings surrounding it, one would have a great view of the Bay. Three metal benches invite you to sit and listen to the fog horn like arie.

Wind Harp, South San FranciscoIf you interact with it by let’s say hitting a metal column in a fast pace with a small object, maybe a stone, the sound coming back might remind you of laser guns in Star Wars. This is, of course, information only, not encouragement for you to do this!

My love for large sculptures brings me to the most interesting places.

 

Have you ever played with a wind harp? 

Do you have a large sculpture that you love?

 

Buy art by locals

Buy art by locals

If you missed the Silicon Valley Open Studios this year, but you are still on the hunt to purchase local art, one place to consider is the Community Art show at PJCC. The Peninsula Jewish Community Center in Foster City currently shows art to purchase by 83 local artists until August 26th, 2018.

On a variety of mediums from metal to paper, jewelry, and sculptures you get a great overview of the local art scene.

For me, always a fan of the whimsical, two artists stood out. First, Winnie van der Rijn. Her The 37 ingredients in Wonder Bread- a contemporary still life is a sculpture art, having the ingredients of wonder bread in 37 small glass bottles. Also the necklace creation Second Sight repurposing old glasses caught my eyes.

I also liked the paper art by Marlene Subhashini. She has two pieces showing: Maple Leaf and Sailing Ship. Rolled up paper that form into a picture.

Of course you are encouraged to find your own winner of the show.

Mother with child, from the Grow Justice Mural at the PCJJ, Foster CityI enjoyed a light lunch at the cafe and ate outside at the Mark Hamlin Garden. The Grow Justice Mural at the garden facilitated by Jay Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen, has an eerie current relevance, one of the five panels is showing a mother with a child and the words ‘Human’, ‘Rights’, ‘Stop Profiling’, ‘Immigration Rights’ and ‘Freedom’ on tiles below. Grow Justice is a Jewish commandment to make the world a better place; a goal we should all strive for – no matter what we believe.

If you are Inspired to paint yourself, the PJCC offers classes for young and old.

Do you buy local art?

 

Appraise the color of summer

Appraise the color of summer

The title of the main current exhibit at the Saint Mary’s College of Art Museum in Moraga is The color of summer. These watercolors from the California Watercolor Association can be seen Wednesday – Sunday 10am-4pm, until August 26th, 2018.

 I will have the water by Michael Granger at the Saint Mary’s College of Art Museum in MoragaI was expecting a lot of beach images and was pleasantly surprised at the broad palette of summer. I will have the water by Michael Granger won us over – a depiction of colorful drinks in a refrigerator.

Into Being - The River by Diana Hobson and Susan Alexjander at the Saint Mary’s College of Art Museum in MoragaMy son found the multimedia installation Into Being – The River by Diana Hobson and Susan Alexjander quite relaxing. At the time of our visit, we were the sole visitors and could enjoy the relaxing telegenic water images without any distractions.

The third current exhibit is by Richard Gayton: Strangers on the train, a watercolor study of BART riders on his daily commute. Gayton is an excellent observer of moods and this is reflected in his drawings of BART riders.

Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art sculpture gardenSaint Mary’s College Museum of Art is a great day trip. Visitor parking can be found adjacent to the museum and admission is free, donations are accepted. I also recommend the little sculpture garden in the museum’s courtyard, a relaxing place.

What are your colors of summer?

 

Touch a shark

Touch a shark

I touched a shark and it was swell!Touch a shark and get a sticker to proudly proof it. The Seymour Marine Discovery Center in Santa Cruz is one of my favorite places in the Bay Area. Besides petting a shark – a real swell shark that is! – you are also invited by the great volunteers to get your finger wrapped up by sea creatures like anemones, spot a hermit crab or hold a sea star. The aquarium tanks hold shark babies and jellyfish. Jellyfish floating in a tankDid you know that jellyfish needed a round tank to generate the circular flow keeping them suspended in the tank?

If you talk about the wildlife of the Bay you also need to see the exhibit on the sea otter. There is otter fur to touch, which is the softest fur ever.

Shark Science Week is July 22 – 28. 2018 – to get a deeper understanding of sharks.

Sea Otter Awareness Week is September 22 – 30. 2018 – this is an annual event all around the Bay recognizing the importance of the sea otter for the nearshore ecosystem.

Inside Ms. BlueThe tour that is included in the entrance fee takes you outside the center. It starts off with the history of the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. An important stop is Ms. Blue, the 87 feet long blue whale skeleton that greets every visitor. You are invited to go into her belly, touch some baleen plate, that is used to filter out food and a glass jar of krill to understand how much food is needed for these giants. The tour might end behind the scene of the Joseph M. Long Laboratory. Here our group got to see two dolphins and a seal that are being studied.

In July and August the Seymour Marine Discovery Center is open every day 10 am – 5 pm. Adults admission is $9, senior, children and students are $7. For the free days you need to check the web site. They also participate in the Discover and Go program.

Have you ever touched a shark?

 

Watch the trains go around

Watch the trains go around

I remember the times my toddler would stare at everything moving. We enjoyed the trash trucks and the planes in the sky. Trains also fall in this category, big and small.

Model train at the South Bay Historical Railroad Society, Santa ClaraIf you happen to be at the Santa Clara train station either on a Tuesday afternoon, from 5 pm to 8 pm, or on a Saturday, 10 am to 3 pm, go check out the South Bay Historical Railroad Society. Admission is free, with a few opportunities to donate inside.

In the oldest passenger depot still in use volunteers established a museum for all things railroad related. But the real attraction are the model railways that fill most of the depot’s back room.

Young and old volunteers work together on the trains that ride across impressions of Northern California landscapes. I smiled at a mother telling her toddler to slow down. There are step stools for the smaller population to see the trains. I loved the whimsical displays that tell a story of its own.

Old train at the South Bay Historical Railroad Society, Santa ClaraAll the way in the back are aerial photographs of Santa Clara train station were you can imagine the transition this area went through.

There are a few free parking spaces up front.

Do you have a child that is fascinated by trains?

 

Gain insight into the Peninsula art scene

Gain insight into the Peninsula art scene

Second floor hallway of the artist studios at the Peninsula Museum of ArtI am always open for free art museums. Burlingame has the Peninsula Museum of Art. Turning right instead of taking the museum entrance you can also check out the artist studios. In some of the studios you can see creativity working, but I did not want to interrupt.  

The hallways are used as exhibit space. On two floors you can see everything from paintings to jewelry, over furnishing, millinery and sculptures. These hallways are already a glimpse in the artistic world of the Peninsula. First floor hallway of the artist studios at the Peninsula Museum of Art, Burlingame

The museum currently hosts “Art Between the Lines” an exhibit from the San Francisco Chapter of the California Art Club. Until July 8th, 2018, 65 artists show a wide range of mediums: oil, watercolor, acrylic, pastel and sculptures.

“Seeking Story” by Deborah Rumer at the Peninsula Museum of Art, BurlingameAnother exhibit shows “Seeking Story” by Deborah Rumer, until July 29, 2018. These pieces really touched me. Recycled books that through paint and found objects tell a new story. Each unique piece draws you in and in a snap of a moment your imagination creates a story around the artwork.

The museum is free but has a donation box. Also if you purchase something from the gift shop it helps the museum and the artist.

Do you know Peninsula art?

 

Help in the garden

Help in the garden

Fava beans from the Forge Garden, Santa ClaraGardening is always the top tip of every happiness blog. If you don’t have the opportunity to work in your own garden you can volunteer at the Forge Garden, which is part of the Santa Clara University. Volunteer hours are Wednesdays 1 pm – 4:30 pm or Fridays 9 am – 11 am, just drop in. You should be prepared to get your cloth dirty, wear sturdy shoes and bring water and sunscreen. The monthly Forge Fridays Cooking in the Garden is designed to bring the community together by harvesting, cooking and eating together. Check out their website on all upcoming events. Chicken coop at the Forge Garden, Santa Clara

They also let you wander around the grounds Monday – Friday 9 am to 5 pm. Check out what’s growing, say ‘hi’ to the chickens, admire the beehives and the aquaponic system. The farm stand is open on Fridays between 11:30 and 1:30.

If you like to learn more about gardening you can attend one of their workshops. Up front you can find a book and seed exchange.

What is on top of your happiness list?

 

Combine admiring the arts and gardens

Combine admiring the arts and gardens

Entrance to the Allied Arts GuildThe roses are in bloom at the Allied Arts Guild . This place has an overabundance of tranquility. The Allied Arts Guild is a little gem in Menlo Park. Not only are the stunning gardens a reason to come here, they also host a group of artists. There are unique shopping opportunities and a cafe.

For your gift shopping needs, I would suggest checking out the artisan shop. It’s a mixture of jewelry, handmade gift items, and high quality donated treasures. Proceeds go to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.

Lunch and coffee is served at the Wisteria Cafe. A great place to meet with friends or relax with a drink.

The barn at Allied Arts Guild, Menlo ParkAnd do make it to the back of the property. The wood shop doesn’t sell furniture, but they will restore your best pieces. The smell of dust, wood and polisher will transport you to a rustical heaven.   

To virtual explore the Allied Arts Guild check out their website for an interactive map.

Have you been to the Allied Arts Guild?

 

Match some patterns at the Quilt and Textile Museum

Match some patterns at the Quilt and Textile Museum

A museum of quilts sounds, at first glance, not too exciting. In fact it sounded a bit dusty to me. But I was more than once surprised at the diversity of the items on display at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

Vien Le Wood, printed hair samplesThe current exhibits can be viewed until April 15th, 2018. The first exhibit opens with a short video about hair. (See, unexpected.)

In the video we see women getting patterns screen printed with dye onto their hair. Examples of printed hair are also on display.

Chuck Stolarek takes us on a mind journey, seeing astonishing objects fabricated into a time consuming medium. I particularly liked the ‘shirtains’. Shirtains by Chuck Stolarek

Paul J. Smith, a Director Emeritus of the Museum of Arts and Design in NY, is showcasing his collection for the first time. Here you see textiles from around the world. The arrangements are interesting, and you learn about cultural aspects of patterns and textiles.

Without a Net by Susan Else at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and TextilesMy favorite exhibit was Susan Else’s “Without A Net”. A colorful installation about the circus using textiles, sound and motion. The circus theme is used as a vehicle to twist your mind. An elephant on a unicycle on a rope starts off the show. A view behind the scene after dark has a tiger throwing darts at someone. The horses riding on the people in the merry-go-round are a perfect ending of the upside down.

The open studio for the two artists in residence, Michelle Wilson and Anne Beck, ‘The Rhinoceros project’ has ended March 24th and as an unfortunate coincidence, Sudan, one of the last three white rhinos has died on March 20th, 2018. I enjoyed helping stitch the art for the Rhinoceros Project and meeting Michelle.

If this all tickled your creative mind and you are up for an hands-on approach, you might find some inspiration in the gift shop.

The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday (W-F 11am – 4pm, Sat & Sun 11am – 3pm). General admission is $8, seniors and students $6.50 and children under 12 are free.

Have you been to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles?

 

Related Article:

BBC: Northern White Rhino: Last male Sudan dies in Kenia

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-43468066

Support your local bookstore

Support your local bookstore

Bookstores are still a treat for me. There is something special about being able to browse, touch and smell the books. It’s rare that I can resist and not buy anything.

Kepler's Books & Magazines, Menlo Park, store windowA bookstore with a remarkable history can be found in Menlo Park. Kepler’s Books and Magazines, founded in 1955, was the epicenter of counterculture in the ‘60s and ‘70s. For founder Roy Kepler, the exchange and flow of ideas was part of his business. A lot of students and faculty from the nearby Stanford University were patrons and appreciated the idea exchanging approach. In-store concerts from the Grateful Death to Joan Baez made the store popular. But when Kepler embraced paperbacks as an economical vehicle to bring ideas to the masses, it was genius.

 

You can still feel the progressive energy. On my recent visit I overheard an elderly woman who found a book, reading the title: “We Were Eight Years In Power – An American Tragedy. “ And asked her friend ‘Do you think they mean Reagan?’ and then realizes: “Oh, they mean Obama.” Kepler's Books & Magazines, Menlo Park

A staff person asked me if she can help me find anything. I declined ‘I’m just taking it all in’ I replied with a smile.

A few more browses down the aisle, I overheard a man dictating his findings about soccer books including all commas and question marks into his phone.

 

To compete with online stores, Kepler’s concept of a bookstore expanded and has many interesting events to offer, from speaker series to author lectures. The Kepler’s 2020 Project continues to provide an outstanding bookstore and has developed a community meeting space, with events. Let’s hope they prevail.  

 

Is there an independent bookstore near you?

 

Additional Reading:

SFGate: Kepler’s turns another page

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Kepler-s-turns-another-page-After-50-years-the-2671216.php#photo-2144248

Washington Post: How to save an indie bookstore

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/arts-post/post/how-to-save-an-indie-bookstore-day-1/2012/07/27/gJQAwMN0DX_blog.html?utm_term=.debf6f000da1