Road Trip: Seattle

I had a conference to attend in Seattle last week, and since my daughters were able to come along this time, we made a bit of a vacation out of the trip.

Some pics:

A view of Puget Sound from our hotel room. LOTS of construction throughout Seattle! Hence the cranes.

A view of Puget Sound from our hotel room

No 13th floor in our hotel.

No 13th Floor

I don’t know why I love reflections so much, but I do.  Here is a cool “windowscape” I shot from our hotel room.


And another, same building, but later in the day.


And sunset reflected in the glass of a building.


And a few minutes later . . .


And a few minutes after that . . .


Until finally . . .


Of course, no trip to Seattle is complete without a monorail ride to the Space Needle. Both monorail and Space Needle were constructed for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

From “1962 Seattle World’s Fair: A city in orbit,” The Seattle Times, Feb. 18, 2012; updated Mar. 3, 2012 (

The Space Needle is located in the Seattle Center, a 74-acre park that served as the grounds for the World’s Fair. Once we arrived there, we decided to forego a trip up inside the Space Needle in favor of two other things we decided were higher priorities.

First, my younger daughter had her “portrait” drawn by a really great caricature artist named Max (“like Mad Max”). We waited a long time in line, but it was worth it.  The caricature is my daughter’s favorite souvenir of our trip, and she kept it closely by her side throughout the journey back home, awkwardly carrying it (framed in a matte about 18″ x 24″) through the airports, while also dealing with her bags, and stowing it on the plane in the narrow space between her window seat and the cabin wall.

After getting the caricature drawn, we went into a fabulous museum located at the foot of the Space Needle: Chihuly Garden and Glass, containing glass sculptures by the famed Dale Chihuly.

What an incredible experience!

Inside, the museum was a fairyland of glass and color and light and darkness.








You probably noticed the reflections in the pictures above. Chihuly is famous for hanging his glass chandeliers above water. For a wonderful intro to his work if you’re not familiar with Chihuly, see Chihuly Over Venice, a 90-minute documentary about his 1996 installation of chandelier sculptures over the canals of Venice (you can view a sample/trailer here, at Chihuly’s website). Once you see the glass reflected in the dark water, you’ll understand as I did why his work in museums always seems to be placed above a polished, black reflective surface. The mirror image is as important to the viewer’s experience as the sculpture itself.

The photo below is a panorama I shot of two canoes laden with glass bounty—seemingly gliding through still waters at night.


Sometimes the larger sculptures are impressive but kind of meh from a distance—revealing their intricate beauty only upon closer examination of the details.





Outside the museum was a garden to rival Monét’s home in Giverny—except with lots and lots of glass.





With a couple of very tall, sculptural-glass “plants.”


One of which rivals—but will never match 🙂 —the height of the Space Needle.


Dale Chihuly was born in Tacoma and is now based in the Seattle area, so maybe it’s no surprise that the bath in our hotel room was graced with this photograph bearing Chihuly’s handwritten caption: “Cobalt Blue & Green Chandelier over Black Rock, Nuutajävi Finland Part I, June 1995.”


All in all, a very good trip (sigh of contentment).

So now we’re back. And I have all my usual post-conference stuff to do (not to mention a mountain of laundry 🙂 ). But I wanted to get this post up before jumping back into Milwaukee life.

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
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4 Responses to Road Trip: Seattle

  1. Emily J. says:

    Beautiful art! It sounds like you had fun. Good idea to make conference travel into a vacation.


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